James Webb submits Thomas Robertsen to earn vacant middleweight title
“I’m good at this,” newly-crowned champ James Webb said, as he admired his handy work in the big screen following Cage Warriors 102’s main event. “Look at that, it’s perfect.”
It might not seem like the most modest of assessments, but it was well-earned. “Perfect” was, after all, a fitting descriptor for the submission that forced Thomas Robertsen (7-2) to tap and earned Webb (6-1) the promotion’s vacant middleweight title.
Making the title win even sweeter, Webb accomplished it in front of his home fans at indigo at The O2 London, England.
Now five fights removed from his first and sole career loss, Webb has finished all six of the opponents he’s met inside a cage – all but one of them via chokes. Robertsen, in turn, had a two-fight winning streak snapped and had his two career losses come via submission.
Both fighters moved early, sizing each other up. Robertsen threw timid low kicks, setting up stronger ones to the body and eventually a good one on the head, while Webb, despite taking over the center of the cage, remained timid in his attacks. When Webb advanced, Robertsen immediately responded with a seemingly heavy hand.
With about half a round to go, Webb advanced for the takedown and got it, landing on side mount. Robertsen did his best to keep moving and escape the position and eventually managed to, throwing a big knee on his way up. Webb ate it, though, and the two traded shots on the feet. Robertsen seemed to throw the most powerful shots there, but nothing landed definitively and the round ended with the two battling for control against the fence.
Robertsen unleashed a series of kicks as the second round started, to Webb’s legs, body and head. Webb reacted with good punches and eventually shot for a takedown that Robertsen staved off. On the feet, Robertsen advanced with a nice flurry, but nothing seem to land with power, and Webb threw straight punches in response. After a striking exchange, Webb once more went for the takedown, but Robertsen stuffed it and managed to reverse Webb against the cage.
Robertsen didn’t try for a takedown, though, instead mining Webb’s legs with short knees. Webb reversed once more, but a takedown attempt backfired and he was the one under Robertsen, who landed some short punches to his face before getting side control. From there, he kept throwing punches to Webb’s face. Despite the unfavorable position, Webb was eventually able to conduct the scrap to the fence, which he used to leverage himself and quickly transition from a heel hook to a dangerous-looking kneebar. For a while, it seemed like Robertsen was in real trouble, but he resisted and, by the end of the round, had managed to break free.
The two were against the fence almost immediately after the third round started, with a few reversals. After either man failed to produce any effective action or improve position, though, the referee broke them up. Webb was eventually able to get the takedown, but found a lot of resistance in Robertsen, who did his best to keep Webb from advancing position. Slowly but surely, however, Webb was able to make his way to the arm triangle that forced the tap at the 3:22 mark of Round 1.
Jai Herbert struggles early, but TKOs Steve O’Keeffe
After being taken down and escaping full mount twice, Herbert wasted no time once the two were back on their feet, using his knees to finish the job that his hands had started and forcing the stoppage at the 4:07 mark of Round 1.
Herbert (8-1) is now 3-0 in the Cage Warriors cage, after a 3-1 run at BAMMA. All but one of his professional MMA wins were finishes. O’Keeffe (9-4), in turn, had a three-fight winning streak snapped in what was his sixth promotional appearance.
It took only one minute for O’Keeffe to get the fight where he wanted, landing a takedown with a bodylock. Herbert tried to keep O’Keeffe’s leg secured in the half guard, but O’Keeffe managed to pass the guard and land on full mount halfway through the round. Herbert had to work a bit, but managed to restore guard before O’Keeffe advanced once more for the takedown.
O’Keeffe didn’t get it, but did get Herbert’s back against the fence, before once more managing to transition to full mount. Herbert managed to get the fight back to the feet, though, and quickly we could see why he wanted it there. After pushing O’Keeffe toward the cage with a series of hands, Herbert landed one big knee that had him in trouble against the fence and unleashed a series of knees that prompted the referee to step in.
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