Cage Warriors 105 report: Aimable and McKenna stake claims for title shots, but Carter pipped by Barnett in main event thriller
Two of the region's finest fighters both made their case for world title shots with sensational victories at Cage Warriors 105 in Colchester.
Featherweight Steve Aimable and straw-weight Cory McKenna, products of Colchester's powerhouse BKK Fighters Gym, put on a show in front of a packed and noisy Charter Hall.
Aimable claimed a points triumph in what was probably the fight of the night against Scotland's streaking and dangerous Aidan Stephen.
Stephen came in 6-1 and on a five-fight win streak, but the relentless Aimable used lightning fast punches - especially the right hand - and a crucial last round takedown to stop Stephen's roll and extend his own winning streak to four.
He immeadiately called for a shot at the winner of the Dean Trueman/Mads Burnell 145lbs title fight at Night of Champions on June 29, and it's hard to argue he shouldn't be in the mix.
With a new baby literally just days away, life is looking pretty good for Aimable, who's now 14-5.
Meanwhile, superstar in the making McKenna continued her ascent with a dominant first round win over Giulia Chinello. She was taken down quickly and almost mounted, but quickly turned the tide and put Chinello in trouble.
With top position secured, McKenna wailed like a banshee as she bounced elbows off her foe's head, before forcing ref Marc Goddard to step in and halt hostilities with a barrage of punches from full mount.
Now 4-1, McKenna, who grew up and started her training in Colchester but is now based in Wales, surely has to be set for a straw-weight title shot next, and said as much in her post-fight interview, to a roar from the crowd. She is almost certainly destined for the UFC in the not too distant future.
In the main event, hometown boy Sean Carter was just edged out by Liverpool's Tim Barnett in what was another potential fight of the night thriller, which could serve as an eliminator for the lightweight belt.
As usual, Carter showed unbelievable heart, toughness and a dangerous right hand, but Barnett's more accurate striking, particularly in a rousing end to the fight, was enough to see him claim the win and move to 7-2-1.
And in the co-main event, Donovan Desmae likely took KO of the night honours with a missile of a right hand to stop Alexander Jacobsen in his tracks and fold him to the mat. The follow-up shots forced a timely stoppage.
Elsewhere on the main card, Mick Stanton improved to 5-3 with a hard-fought points win over Alex Montagnani in their absorbing middleweight dispute, and promptly called for a crack at Colchester's world champion James Webb, who defends his belt for the first time at Cage Warriors 106 next month.
In the main fight of the pro prelims, Craig Edwards tapped to a triangle choke in the second round of his lightweight clash with Steven Hooper.
After a rocky first round in which he survived numerous rear naked chokes, Edwards came out aggressively in the second and took Hooper down but, as he was looking to advance his position, he got caught in the choke which would end the fight and boost Hooper's record to 4-3.
Edwards, who slips to 2-4, has all the talent in the world, but has yet to find the formula to put it together consistently in the cage. He's too good not to break through though, and his next move will be key.
On the amateur card which started the evening, George Tanasa defended his Cage Warriors Academy South East featherweight title in an absorbing back and forth battle with Clacton's Will Timmis.
BKK Fighters super prospect Tanasa, now 6-1, was never able to completely impose his will on Primal Academy's Timmis, who put Tanasa in some tough positions in round two.
And when Tanasa was docked a point in the third round for a cage grab, the fight really was up in the air - but 'Son of Dracula', sensing it was now or never, stormed back, took Timmis down and forced the stoppage, sending the crowd wild.
Meanwhile, Norwich's Chey Veal dominated the first round of his clash with Tommy Gibbs, taking his man down and landing heavy shots, but with the fight even going into the third, he succumbed to a standing guillotine choke.
Flyweight Veal, who's been improving rapidly of late, drops to 4-4-1 with the defeat.
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Finally, BKK Fighters welterweight Ethan Barry was in the ascendency of his fight with Conon Barbaru, but got dropped heavily towards the end of the second round and referee Rich Mitchell stepped in to save him with seconds left in the stanza.
His gym mate and fellow welterweight Joseph Parker fared better, taking a points win over Oli Hooley in a close fight.
Cage Warriors 105 full results
Tim Barnett beat Sean Carter on points
Donovan Desmae beat Alexander Jacobsen by KO in the second round
Steve Aimable beat Aidan Stephen on points
Mick Stanton beat Alex Montagnani on points
Cory McKenna beat Giulia Chinello by TKO in the first round
Steven Hooper beat Craig Edwards by triangle in the second round
Nathan Fletcher beat Rico Higgs by arm triangle in the first round
Gheorgita Tanasa beat Will Timmis by TKO in the third round - defends his Cage Warriors Academy South East featherweight title
Joseph Parker beat Oli Hooley on points
Tommy Gibbs beat Chey Veal by standing guillotine choke in the third round
Conon Barbaru beat Ethan Barry by TKO in the second round
Lee Anthony beat Caleb Coombes by KO in the first round