Capoeira is one of those martial arts that rarely feels like it has a truly functional place in modern combat sports. But, when it works, it provides one of the most remarkable meeting points of style and function. This last Saturday, on the Cage Warriors 136 undercard, featherweight prospect Manny Akpan showed a great example of just how cool the Brazilian dance-fight style can be in a catchweight fight against Connor Hitchens.
Akpan started the bout with a couple fun side kicks and hook kicks out of a side-on stance, and even managed to reverse a clinch into a fantastic bodylock throw. Unfortunately for him, that quickly resulted in getting swept. He and Hitchens spent much of the first frame, from that point on, trading grappling control positions—neither man able to open up with much offense without letting their opponent sweep or escape. Following a trio of failed spinning backfists late in the round, however, Akpan found himself mounted, eating shots apparently overwhelmed at the bell.
Momentum firmly on Hitchens’ side, he hit a power double early in the second and looked to have this fight firmly in control. Right up until the referee stood him up from guard with just 30 seconds left in the round. Just enough time for Akpan to pull off something remarkable.
Elsewhere on the card, unbeaten middleweight prospect Christian Leroy Duncan moved his record to 6-0, capturing the CWFC middleweight title in the process, with a flying knee knockout of champion Djati Melan.
The 26-year-old Range Academy student put on one hell of a show to capture CWFC gold. Don’t be surprised if his next step is one into the UFC Octagon in the not too distant future.