Cage Warriors: Belfast's McColgan beaten by Welshman Jones in Manchester

Joe McColgan suffered the third loss of his 10-fight career
McColgan's hopes of emulating compatriot Conor McGregor in winning the Cage Warriors lightweight title were dashed

Belfast man Joe McColgan suffered a first-round defeat to Wales' Mason Jones in the behind-closed-doors Cage Warriors lightweight title fight.

Jones stunned the 33-year-old with a knee late in the opening round at the BEC Arena in Manchester.

McColgan was aiming to become the first Irishman since Conor McGregor to hold the lightweight title but fell short against undefeated Jones.

Another Belfast man Decky Dalton also suffered a first-round defeat.

Friday's bill was originally scheduled to be held in the Indigo at London's O2 Arena but was moved to Manchester on a behind-closed-doors basis earlier this week because of the coronavirus crisis.

In the main event, McColgan and Jones exchanged eye catching strikes early on.

Jones, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt, pressured the Belfast fighter against the cage but was initially unable to take the 33-year-old to the ground.

But Jones then landed the decisive blow as he dropped McColgan with a knee to the head and forced referee Rich Mitchell to step in and stop the contest with 20 seconds remaining of the first round after a flurry of strikes on his grounded opponent.

Jones now becomes the latest in an illustrious line of Welsh Cage Warriors champions after the likes of Jack Shore, Jack Marshman and Brett Johns previously held titles in the promotion.

Earlier in the evening, Liverpool's former Cage Warriors champion Paddy Pimblett put in a dominant performance to also stop McColgan's Fight Academy Ireland stable-mate Dalton in the first round of their bout.

Dalton took the fight on nine days notice but Pimblett wasted little time and took advantage of an early slip from 'The Diamond' when he attempted to land a kick.

The Liverpool fighter took Dalton's back and attempted to submit the 28-year-old by rear naked choke before stopping the Belfast man by ground and pound.

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