GLASGOW’S Robert Whiteford edged a tight split decision victory over bitter rival Kane Mousah to cap off an excellent ACB 87 at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. It was the former Judo star’s ground game that did enough to earn him the victory and a potential future shot at ACB gold.
The two clashed at the weigh-in and had been trading vicious barbs in the build-up. In truth the fight was a slow encounter with Whiteford securing takedown’s in both the first and second which cancelled out Mousah’s striking and clear route to victory.
Whiteford had Mousah down early and began to smother “The Danger”, who fought his way back to his feet, but was soon on his back again, as “The Hammer” used his judo background to get him back to the canvas. Mousah fought out of the predicament, securing a takedown himself, however it was clear in the clinch that Whiteford held the advantage.
The 35-year-old Scot wasted no time in the second to get Mousah down again. Mousah scrambled, but gave away his back, handing Whiteford a shot at a submission. He survived that attempt but couldn’t escape the clutches of Whiteford, who was doing his best impression of a rucksack as the round ended.
Mousah was able to keep the fight standing in the third and landed some nasty kicks to give Whiteford something to think about. Whiteford realising he was in a losing battle on the feet once again took Mousah down, but the Manchester man was away from his grasp quickly and went after the win that never came as the fight ended.
In the co-main event, Piotr Strus got the better of the experienced Fernando Gonzalez at middleweight. Gonzalez offered very little, in fact close to nothing at times during the course of the three round fight, however one judge generously awarded a scorecard in his favour, as the Pole took a split decision win.
Pietro Menga almost ended matters with the first punch of the fight, however he slipped to a unanimous decision defeat of the hands of Japanese bantamweight Takeya Mizugaki. Menga flattened Mizugaki with a huge left hand, before unloading his arsenal on his stricken opponent. Menga tried to finish the fight off with a rear-naked choke, but Mizugaki got out and was soon in top position himself, where he remained for the majority of the fight.
Russian middleweight Ibrahim Chuzhigaev continued his recent unbeaten run with a unanimous decision victory over American Mike Rhodes, who had no answer for the Russian’s grappling. Experienced veteran Robert Emerson pulled one back for the USA however, as he got the better of Shamil Shakhbulatov by a split in their bantamweight battle.
Leicester’s UFC veteran lightweight Andre Winner overcame a rocky start, where he was dropped early in the opening round by Adam Aliev and almost finished, to come back and submit Aliev in the second. Aliev, who certainly enjoyed a spin attack, was tripped in a clinch and Winner ultimately lived up to his surname, as he transitioned well to take Aliev’s back and sink in a rear-naked choke for the win.
The performance of the night belonged to Wisconsin’s Alex Gilpin, as he dominated his featherweight rival Adlan Mamaev before rendering him unconscious in the third round with a Ninja choke. Gilpin couldn’t miss with a laser-like right hand and had no trouble securing takedown’s in what was a dominant win, despite Mamaev’s best efforts.
Sheffield’s Sam Boult slipped to a defeat at the hands of Russian welterweight Stanislav Vlasenko, who did enough on the ground to get past the durable Yorkshireman, whilst Derby’s Stephen Martin pulled off an upset, as he choked out Newark man Regis Sugden with a sensational Arm-Triangle choke in the the third of their exciting lightweight meeting.
Dominique Wooding perhaps left it too late to secure a win over Liverpool’s Dean Garnett, who was badly cut open and took an absolute shelling in the final moments did just about enough to nick a split decision win. In reality the bantamweight brawl could have gone either way.
South Shields’ Adam Proctor won the battle of top welterweight prospects over Ashley Reece with a measured performance. Reece came back well in the third but it was too little, too late, as the impressive Proctor left Nottingham with a unanimous decision.
Brazil’s Carlos Abreu staved off a late challenge by Birmingham bantam Chris Miah to leave with a split decision, whilst it was a disappointing debut defeat for Leicester middleweight George McManus, who was stopped in the second round of his clash with Bradford’s Kevin Mullen by some accurate strikes, which gave the referee no choice but to end matters.
Finally, to open up the card Russian flyweight Murad Magomedov took a unanimous decision victory over Paulinho Capoeira Oliveira.