With a drastically reduced MMA schedule over the next few months expected, Bloody Elbow’s European MMA writer, Scott Lagdon, is diving down into the archives to highlight some of the wildest, weirdest and most fun fights from the continent that MMA fans may have missed out on. Whether it’s looking at the early careers of fighters who would go on to become international stars, or some hidden fight of the year candidates BE will have fans covered!
With a wealth of long-running promotions across Europe regularly putting on highly entertaining contests over the years, there’s tons to choose from. So, let us know if there’s anything that deserves a little extra attention.
Fight (with records at the time): Mauro Cerilli (11-2) v Karl Moore (8-1) - Vacant Heavyweight Title
Event: Cage Warriors 92: Super Saturday
Date: March 24th 2018
It was one of the most anticipated cards of the year in Europe as Cage Warriors put on two main cards on the night. Three title belts were on the line over the event and the second of those fights saw two men hoping to capture the coveted heavyweight strap, which hadn’t been held since D.J. Linderman was champion several years before. Mauro Cerilli was coming off a successful promotional debut where he’d finished Nills van Noord in the first round, thus extending his winning streak to four. Karl Moore was the Cage Warriors light heavyweight champion but was stepping up a division to see if he could replicate Conor McGregor, in hope of being the second Irish two-weight champion in the organisation’s history.
Moore closed Cerilli down right at the start of the round and threw a left hand. The Italian returned with his own leg kick before Moore launched a two punch combination. A right hand was fired off by Cerilli but didn’t connect with his opponent. However, it allowed him to close the distance and back Moore up against the cage. Immediately after, Cerilli landed a solid right hook and followed up with two knees in the clinch. The end came when Cerilli connected with a huge right hand which sent Moore crashing to the canvas and caused the contest to be waved off. It was the biggest win of Cerilli’s career at that time and it meant even more to him after suffering heart break during the lead up to the fight.
“I was hugely motivated going into that title fight because my grandmother had just passed away,” recalled Cerilli. “Our gameplan was to fake that we were going to grapple and we planned on landing a big overhand. It really did work out just like we’d intended. Karl thought I wanted to wrestle but I knocked him out very quickly. That win changed my career as it was the beginning of competing at the highest level of the sport for me.”
Cerilli would never go on to defend his Cage Warriors heavyweight crown because he left the promotion to join ONE Championship. In his debut with the Asian-based company, he faced heavyweight title holder, Brandon Vera, but was unsuccessful in trying to claim another belt. He lost by knockout in just over a minute. Since then, he rebounded a few months later to defeat Alain Ngalani with a first round TKO but lost in his most recent outing to UFC veteran, Arjan Singh Bhullar, by unanimous decision.
The fight against Cerilli also turned out to be Moore’s last fight with Cage Warriors as he made the move across to Bellator. It took him around a year and a half to debut for the promotion due to injury. When he finally did, Moore overcame fellow former Cage Warriors champion, Lee Chadwick, by a close split decision back at his more natural weight of 205lbs.