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Contenders 22 report: Ben Woolliss wins title in style on a wild night of first round finishes

PUBLISHED: 12:59 18 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:32 18 February 2018

Ben Woolliss, right, detonates a huge right hand on the jaw of Modestas Andrijauskas. Picture: BRETT KING

Ben Woolliss, right, detonates a huge right hand on the jaw of Modestas Andrijauskas. Picture: BRETT KING

Archant

On a wild night of first round finishes, Ben Woolliss claimed the 66kg pro K1 title with a ruthless stoppage in the main event of Contenders 22 at the fittingly-named Epic Studios in Norwich last night.

Ben Wooliss, right, and Modestas Andrijauskas during their K1 title fight at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGBen Wooliss, right, and Modestas Andrijauskas during their K1 title fight at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

Powerful striker Woolliss is nicknamed ‘The Problem’, and aptly his vicious left hook caused champion Modestas Andrijauskas problems that he could not solve, as he was dropped heavily by it in the very first round.

Rising unsteadily to his feet, Team Nogueira’s Andrijauskas bravely battled on, but Woolliss swept over him like a storm, decking him again and then, with the champion slumped on the cage shipping heavy punishment, referee AJ Jeffrey stepped in to end the carnage.

New Contenders 66kg pro K1 champion Ben Woolliss celebrates with Contenders promoter Steve Newman, right. Picture: BRETT KINGNew Contenders 66kg pro K1 champion Ben Woolliss celebrates with Contenders promoter Steve Newman, right. Picture: BRETT KING

Woolliss is now a champion in two promotions – also holding the Lion Fight featherweight strap – and looks to be a real rising force on the fistic scene.

In the co-main, Norway’s Luke Santarelli used crisp striking and timely takedowns in a superb technical fight to win the vacant amateur featherweight MMA belt via a unanimous decision over Ollie Sarwa.

Luke Santarelli, right, attacks Ollie Sarwa with a superman punch in their title fight at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGLuke Santarelli, right, attacks Ollie Sarwa with a superman punch in their title fight at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

Sarwa, one of the brightest young prospects in the country, will certainly have learned from this scrap, and both fighters emerge with reputations enhanced.

In the other title fight on the card, Ipswich’s Jack Purdy deployed destructive push kicks and swarming combinations to dominate and damage foe Alex Boura on the way to a first defence of his 62kg K1 title on a wide points decision.

Ollie Sarwa catches a Luke Santarelli kick and looks to return fire at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGOllie Sarwa catches a Luke Santarelli kick and looks to return fire at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

The Mamba Martial Arts product, schooled under respected head coach Dennis Turner, continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Elsewhere, there were a staggering six first round stoppage wins, with two highlight reel knockouts bringing audible gasps from the knowledgeable fight fans in attendance.

Luke Santarelli enjoys having his new amateur featherweight MMA title wrapped round his waist at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGLuke Santarelli enjoys having his new amateur featherweight MMA title wrapped round his waist at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

First, Andris Kazoks eviscerated Adam Matthews with a nuclear right hand just seconds into their boxing bout, and then, on the main card, Aadeep Rana rose from an early knockdown to separate Bachir Fakhouri from his senses with a crushing counter shot in their K1 clash.

Submission of the night went to Kyle Holland, of Skegness Kickboxing, who trapped Will Paddison in a lightning quick first round armbar, while Duran Hassan and local favourite Jake Catterall went to war in the fight of the night.

Ipswich's Jack Purdy, right, lands a teep to the chest of Alex Boura in their title clash at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGIpswich's Jack Purdy, right, lands a teep to the chest of Alex Boura in their title clash at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

Hassan, fighting out of famed Muay Thai gym Assassins, used his technical Thai style to claim a unanimous points win over the relentless Catterall, of Fighting Fit Martial Arts, who was backed as ever by a vocal home support.

It was a good night too for the Bury St Edmunds-based Unit 1 Gym and Blue Wave MMA Academy, who came home with three wins from three fights.

Ipswich's Jack Purdy has his hand raised by referee AJ Jeffrey after successfully defending his K1 title against Alex Boura at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KINGIpswich's Jack Purdy has his hand raised by referee AJ Jeffrey after successfully defending his K1 title against Alex Boura at Contenders 22. Picture: BRETT KING

Jimmy Fell and Jake Nicholls, tutored by noted BJJ black belt Windy Miller, both scored hugely impressive first round stoppages, while Unit 1’s super-talented Cameron Cunningham dominated foe Luan Rrahmanaj en route to a wide points win, earning praise from head coach Rich Gent.

Bantamweight Nicholls, now 3-0 in MMA action, has everything needed to be a star in the fight game and demonstrated his showmanship once again in this clash with Martin Gavin, pausing to dramatically wipe his face after mounting his foe, before unleashing a fight-ending barrage of punches.

Contenders 22 results

- Jimmy Fell beat Reece Walmsley via first round TKO (MMA).

- James O’Brien beat Stephen Bundy via unanimous decision (K1).

- Kyle Holland beat Will Paddison via first round armbar submission (MMA).

- Cameron Cunningham beat Luan Rrahmanaj via UD (K1).

- Jake Nicholls beat Martin Gavin via first round TKO (MMA).

- Chey Veal and Robert Redford fought to a SD draw (MMA).

- Igor Alves beat Olsen Hayley via first round TKO (MMA).

- Duran Hassan beat Jake Catterall via UD (K1).

- Andris Kazoks beat Adam Matthews via first round KO (boxing).

- Jack Purdy retained his 62kg K1 title with UD over Alex Boura (K1).

- Aadeep Rana beat Bachir Fakhouri via first round KO (K1).

- Luke Santarelli won vacant amateur featherweight strap via UD against Ollie Sarwa (MMA).

- Ben Wolliss won pro 66kg K1 title with first round TKO of champion Modestas Andrijauskas (K1).

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