Just three months after their last fight, William ‘Drago’ Currie and Christian Leroy Duncan found themselves face-to-face inside the Cage Warriors cage once again.
Zealous refereeing brought their last contest to a controversial end, when a recovering Currie was waved off in the midst of a takedown attempt. Both participants felt that a rematch was deserved, and so the wheels were set in motion for the co-main event of Cage Warriors 123.
Previously undefeated, ‘Drago’ made it clear that he would be implementing a drastic attitudinal shift in time for the rematch. Duncan was his only defeat, and he would seek to avenge the first loss of his career.
“I will completely dominate him,” he said. “I’ve trained to dominate.”
The bell rang to signal the start of the bout, and there was decisiveness and purpose in the movements of both fighters. While Currie sought to prove that his defeat was nothing more than a fluke, Duncan was carrying his undefeated record within range of a dangerous rival.
Just 30 seconds into the fight, a spinning kick from Duncan saw him slip to the canvas, and his opponent was immediately on top of him. The speed at which ‘Drago’ postured into a dominant position was impressive and indicative of his careful preparation for the fight. Less than one minute into the first round, he managed to secure a vicious heel hook which looked to bring the contest to an early end. Duncan would later describe this moment in a post-fight interview, saying “I felt my ankle crushing, and my knee twisted … I was never going to tap.”
In an admirable expression of both strength and determination, the undefeated fighter broke himself free of the leglock and placed his back against the fence to survive an onslaught of submission attempts. Currie continued to search for new angles of attack, and he found himself in a dominant top position as the round ended. He stared at Duncan, half-smiling, and told him: “You’re tough.”
The second round began and both participants seemed to be unphased by the physical exertion of the last five minutes. The Gloucester-born fighter stepped into the center of the cage looking well-recovered, but the experienced grappling and relentless takedowns of Currie proved to be difficult to defend. A grappling exchange began in the middle of the ring, and there was no fence with which Duncan could muscle his way back to a safe position. ‘Drago’ has a technical and highly developed ground game, and was smothering his opponent with fluid and practiced jiu-jitsu.
It seemed certain that this round would become a one-sided exchange in which the Londoner would dominate, but Duncan was able to reverse the position with a well-timed eruption of kinetic energy. He broke away to leave ‘Drago’ on the mat, and the referee stood the fight back up. Here, the momentum palpably shifted. Duncan exploded with a flurry of activity, connecting with a series of elbows. The first thundered into Currie’s head, leaving him visibly disorientated. The second was a spinning attack, and it sent him rattling to the mat. It was the most significant shot of the fight, and it represented a huge turning point for both fighters.
Arriving in the final round, the fire seemed to have been extinguished from Currie’s movement. Duncan sprawled to avoid a couple of predictable level changes, but when the fight eventually found its way back to the ground, he seemed very comfortable to roll with the experienced grappler. Duncan began to attempt some submissions of his own, momentarily grabbing hold of a guillotine and a d’arce choke- both of which required a deft escape from ‘Drago’. As the round drew to a close, Duncan maneuvered himself on top of Currie. He rained down elbows from this position as the final seconds of the round waned.
Duncan was awarded the victory by unanimous decision.
So, what’s next for the young fighter? When asked to remark on his performance, Duncan was characteristically humble and insightful. He credited his success to his mindset, training, and desire to improve.
He wants to gain more experience, and continue to ‘upgrade’ his fighting abilities. While the 25-year-old has had an extensive amateur career- he now seeks to build his professional record by fighting his way to the top of the Cage Warriors Middleweight division.