He didn’t get a belt to show for it, but at least Dominique Steele can say he’s beaten a Cage Warriors titleholder.
Despite a rough second round against 170-pound champion Karl Amoussou (24-8-2) in tonight’s Cage Warriors 89 headliner, Steele’s (14-10) solid display in the remainder of the catchweight bout was enough to grant him nods from all three judges.
The bout, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Belgium, was originally supposed to be Amoussou’s first title defense. But after Steele failed to make weight, it lost two rounds and its championship status.
The 29-27, 29-28 and 29-27 scorecards meant the end of a seven-fight winning streak for Amoussou. Steele is now on a two-fight winning streak, having recently ended a UFC run that saw him go 1-4.
The constest started off with mostly tentative striking. But as the first round wore on, the fighters’ brief exchanges packed more power. As the final minute of the frame approached, Steele left Amoussou jelly-legged with a hard left. With the two on the ground, Steele was the one exerting control from the guard for the majority of the time – despite a dangerous submission attempt by the champ.
While it was Steele who managed to advance first with a flurry in Round 2, it was Amoussou who managed to first land a heavy hand and then a leg trip. By the time they hit the ground, Amoussou had secured full mount. With most of his efforts going toward maintaining position, though, Amoussou landed only short, mostly non-damaging blows to the body and head of Steele at first.
Steele, however, never gave in, managing to restore half guard after almost giving up his back. Amoussou started landing stronger elbows to the head by the end of the round, but Steele was able to get back to his feet. The two threw sparse blows, including some flashy spinning backfists and kicks, but none of it caused damage.
As the striking exchanges began in Round 3, it was Steele who got the better of it. After a body kick that threw Amoussou off balance, Steele was once again able to drop his opponent with a heavy hand – and throw in a follow-up shot on the ground. On the mat, the control was once more Steele’s – who worked from his opponent’s guard. Amoussou stayed active at all times but was ultimately stuck between Steele and the cage and unable to escape. As the final seconds approached, Steele rained down punches from the top.
Controversial stoppage grants Dandois home TKO win
After securing a takedown in the first round, Dandois (8-3) was able to get Hughes (3-2) in a hold, where she proceeded to land shots to her opponent’s forehead. While Hughes was certainly in a tough spot there, it didn’t seem like she was taking any fight-ending damage when the referee decided to intervene.
Belgium’s own Dandois was declared the winner via TKO and got a chance to celebrate in front of her home crowd. But she went on to congratulate Hughes for taking the bout in hostile territory and even volunteered for a rematch given the possibly premature stoppage.
“I have to say, for me, they stopped it quite early,” Dandois said. “But I had it strongly. It was hard for her to escape. I didn’t see her escape. So I understand. But if she ever wants a rematch, ‘Rocksteady,’ I’m here, no problem.”
The bout started off with some sloppy striking, but Dandois was soon able to get to her comfort area. A beautifully executed takedown had Hughes on the ground, where Dandois worked quickly to transition to the crucifix and land the blows that prompted the stoppage.
Dandois, who had former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in her corner, is now back on track after a UFC one-off that saw her dropping a unanimous decision to Alexis Davis. Hughes is riding back-to-back losses.
Cerilli cruises past van Noord to win heavyweight title
After taking the fight on two weeks’ notice, van Noord didn’t get to do much before judo-based Cerilli landed a takedown. Once on the ground, Cerilli stayed heavy on top, making it all but impossible for van Noord to escape.
Soon, Cerilli started raining heavy blows from the top, as van Noord ducked for cover. While van Noor managed to briefly turn in an attempt to improve position, a pair of follow-up blows that Cerilli managed to land from his back prompted the ref to step in.
Cerilli is now riding three consecutive wins and is expected to defend his title against the promotion’s 205-pound champion, Karl Moore, at Cage Warriors 92. Moore was Cerilli’s original opponent for tonight’s bout but had to withdraw due to injury.
Cage Warriors 89 results include:
- Champ Karl Amoussou def. Dominique Steele via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
- Cindy Dandois def. Kerry Hughes via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:53
- Mauro Cerilli def. Nills van Noord via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:24 (won the vacant heavyweight title)
- Tommy Depret def. John Maguire via TKO – Round 3, 3:10
- Jack Shore def. Ayton De Paepe via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:04