Last weekend saw the Cage Warriors Academy calendar kick off with an action-packed night of fights in The Netherlands.
CW’s Brad Wharton was cageside for the third edition of CW: Lowlands, to check out the next generation of European MMA tallent.
‘White Flash’ Emerges Victorious
Well known for its football team and as the city where electrical giant Phillips was founded, Eindhoven may be about to carve out a new reputation as the fight-hub of Holland.
CW Academy: Lowlands might only be three shows old, but built upon the solid foundations of Versus MMA, is quickly establishing itself as the place to be for up-and-coming talent looking to test themselves in the region.
That was evident in the evening’s main event, as Netherlands-based, Latvian-born prospect Silvis ‘White Flash’ Jansons remained perfect in the face of a stern test from Frenchman Nicolas ‘Rocky’ Fliliponi.
It was a back and forth affair that went down to the wire; every time Janson’s poured it on in search of a finish, Filiponi was able to dig deep and swing the momentum back in his favour.
With little to separate the two men, ultimately it came down to a battle of wills; Janson’s hand was raised on the night, but Filiponi also turned in a performance to be proud of.
Oqbani Crowned CWA: Lowlands Featherweight Champ
In a highly anticipated amateur title bout, Ayoub Oqbani and Zakaria M’Rabet went the full five rounds in search of championship gold.
From the opening bell it was clear we were in for a chess match rather than an all out brawl, with each man looking to capitalise on the other’s mistakes and neither wanting to take undue risks.
After fifteen minutes of captivating action, Moroccan-born Oqbani had his hand raised, and will go down in history as the first ever CWA: Lowlands Amateur Featherweight Champion.
In the evening’s co-main event, Dutchman Tony Van Dijk picked up two submissions in one night!
After spending long periods of the first round attempting to lock off a choke on The MMA Factory’s Cidiri Cisse, Van Dijk tried one last big squeeze in the dying seconds of the first round, with the Frenchman forced to tap.
As sections of the crowd celebrated though, it became apparent that Cisse had submitted a second after the bell, so the bout would continue.
Van Dijk’s corner were able to get the blood flowing back through their man’s arms though, sending him out with renewed confidence in the second round to pick up a guillotine choke submission for the victory.
In the evening’s other pro fight, Belgian-based finishing machine Shamil Irisbiev was comfortably ahead on the judges scorecards when opponent Quincy Makatita failed to answer the bell for the third round.
Irisbiev had come agonisingly close to finishing his opponent with a number of close submission attempts across the first ten minutes, and the bout had become one-way traffic by the time the very game Makatita retired at the end of the second frame.
In a highlight amateur bout, Paco Valdano Vleerlaag took on the ultra-popular Belgian Berre Van Duffel in middleweight action.
Both men set out their stalls early, with Van Duffel seeking to engage in a striking battle while Vleerlaag looked for any opportunity to take the bout to the ground.
It proved to be another nail-biting back-and-forth affair, with added drama when Van Duffel was docked a point for an accidental illegal knee.
It would prove crucial to the outcome; with Vleerlaag cleared to continue by the Dr and the bout going down to the wire, the powerhouse grappler picked up a split-decision victory and remains undefeated at 4-0.
The Cage Warriors Academy train continues to roll through early 2023, with multiple events scheduled for the coming months.
CWA: Lowlands 4 takes place on Saturday, March 18th in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
CWA: Wales returns to the Ebbw Vale Centre on Saturday March 25th.
CWA: South East will go down on April 8th from Colchester’s Charter Hall.
Stay tuned to CW socials for further CW Academy updates!