On Saturday, March 9, BAMMA returned to action from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, hosting its 12th event.

In the night’s main event, one of England’s premiere welterweights, “Judo” Jim Wallhead locked horns with former UFC combatant Matt Veach.

Wallhead entered the event looking to rebound from a Bellator tournament loss to former champion Lyman Good. Wallhead’s well-rounded attack has proven to be most effective in his native England, most recently under the BAMMA banner.

Meanwhile, Veach snapped a two-fight skid with a first-round TKO over Zac Kelley in his last outing. The American had a three-fight stint with the UFC, but went just 1-2.

Also on the AXS TV broadcast was a pivotal light heavyweight match-up between undefeated Max Nunes and Marcin Lazarz. Another UFC veteran, Curt Warburton, battled Steven Ray for the promotion’ s British lightweight title, and undefeated lightweight and TUF Smashes alum Luke Newman clashed with fellow unbeaten Ryan Scope.

Wallhead destroys Veach

Fighting on familiar soil, England’s Jim Wallhead simply outclassed American opponent Matt Veach, scoring a first-round submission win.

Veach opened with repeated jabs and looked to close the distance. Wallhead shrugged him off and stuffed a takedown. The pair exchanged big shots standing and a cut opened over the right eye of Veach. Wallhead smelled a finish and chased the American to the ground. Big elbows from Wallhead opened Veach like a faucet of blood. Veach gave up his back and Wallhead secured both hooks and flattened him out. The deep rear-naked choke forced Veach to tap.

Nunes stops Lazarz with barrage of elbows

Undefeated light heavyweights graced the cage for the night’s main event as Swedish native Max Nunes handed Poland’s Marcin Lazarz the first loss of this career with third-round stoppage due to strikes.

The pair traded kicks early and it was Lazarz who looked to bring the fight to the mat. Nunes bounced right back to his feet along the cage as the fighters jockeyed for position. After a long stalemate, Lazarz again scored with a takedown, but only briefly. Trading shots on the feet, the Polish fighter Lazarz connected with a big shot that wobbled Nunes. Lazarz secured the top position on the ground, but Nunes recovered and got back to his feet. Nunes turned the tide and unleashed a big head kick that rocked Lazarz, but Lazarz again earned a takedown to finish the frame.

Nunes opened round two with a solid jab-cross combination that forced Lazarz to clinch along the fence. The Swedish native Nunes looked for a trip takedown, but was reversed and found himself on his back. Despite the top position, Lazarz appeared content to sit in Nunes’ guard. Nunes worked hard for an armbar from the bottom, but Lazarz defended and continued to maintain top control for the majority of the round.

It was apparent the Nunes was the fresher fighter to start round three. After a brief exchange on the feet, Nunes tossed Lazarz to the mat and started dropping huge elbows from the top position. Lazarz turtled from the onslaught, which forced the referee to intervene and hand Nunes the TKO win.

Warburton edges Ray to claim British lightweight title

A back-and-forth lightweight affair resulted in UFC veteran Curt Warburton being crowned the new BAMMA British champion, topping former champion Steven Ray by unanimous decision.

After a brief feeling out process on the feet, the veteran Warburton put Ray on his back. Warburton rained left hands from the half guard. Ray was able to get back to his feet along the fence and the pair exchanged knees from close quarters. With 90 seconds remaining in the frame, Warburton again brought the fight to the ground. Ray did his best to tie up the challenger from his back, but a late armbar attempt proved unsuccessful.

The champion Ray opened round two with a combination and looked for a single-leg takedown that Warburton defended. An ankle pick from Ray along the cage put Warburton on his back from the first time in the bout. Ray worked for Warburton’s back and sunk in both his hooks. The judo prowess of Ray shined through as he locked on a body triangle and pressed for the rear-naked choke. Warburton survived the repeated submission attempts as the second round ended.

Round three started with Warburton scoring with big takedown along the fence. From the top position, Warburton again rained left hands and he thought about attempting a guillotine choke, but opted to maintain position. Ray used the cage to get to his feet and rolled for a kneebar, which Warburton easily escaped. A head kick from Ray missed and his slipped to the mat. Warburton pounced and looked to take his back, but Ray reversed the position. The pair battled hard until the final bell.

When the scorecards were tallied, the judges rewarded Warburton for his efforts, making him the new BAMMA British lightweight champion.

Scope submits Newman with triangle

The battle of undefeated lightweights ended when Ryan Scope forced Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes veteran Luke Newman to submit to a triangle choke late in the first round.

Scope secured a double-leg takedown along the cage  to start the fight, but was quickly countered by Newman with a guillotine attempt. Scope defended and Newman was able to work his way back to standing. Newman wasn’t out of trouble yet and Scope rag-dolled him to the canvas and looked to take his back. Newman continued to scramble, but Scope remained relentless with his takedowns. Newman stuffed Scope late in the round and began to unload with heavy shots. Scope fell to his back as Newman worked for a finish, but Scope recovered and latched onto a fight-ending triangle choke with just a minute remaining in the opening frame.

Jim Wallhead def. Matt Veach by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:05
Max Nunes def. Marcin Lazarz by TKO (elbows and punches). Round 3, 1:12
Curt Warburton def. Steven Ray by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – for British lightweight title
Ryan Scope def. Luke Newman by submission (triangle choke). Round 1, 4:00
Scott Askham def. Harry McLeman by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 4:13
Leeroy Barnes def. Steve Watson by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 0:47
Thomas Denham def. Brett McDermott by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:58
Mahmood Besharate def. Steven Gardener by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
James Macalister def. Steve McCombe by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:08

Photo: Jim Wallhead (Keith Mills/Sherdog)