As most of the sports world has been accepting to let COVID-19 grind a halt to their activities, mixed-martial-arts has been fighting hard to stay alive. Even then however, major promotions UFC and Bellator have cancelled their recent events.
This weekend, there is one major MMA promotion holding an event, with Cage Warriors holding a card on Friday from the BEC Arena in Manchester, England. The card, which was first meant to have three championship fights has now been shaved down to one. Headlining the card, UFC fighters Darren Stewart and Bartosz Fabinski fight in a three-round fight. Here’s a preview of Cage Warriors 113.
Preliminary Card (1:30PM EDT / 6:30PM GMT) (UFC Fight Pass / CageWarriors.com)
Bout 1: Lewis Monarch (10-5) vs. Kingsley Crawford (4-2) (Catchweight 148-lb)
The first of the preliminary bouts sees Lewis Monarch and Kingsley Crawford fight in a catchweight bout. Monarch is on a two-fight losing streaking in Cage Warriors, losing by decision both times. Crawford is 2-2 in the promotion, recently winning against Scott Butters.
Bout 2: Aidan Stephen (6-2) vs. Jack Collins (3-0) (Lightweight)
Undefeated lightweight Jack Collins will make his Cage Warriors debut against Aidan Stephen in the next fight. Collins won three regional England fights in 2019 all via first round submission. Stephen’s five-fight winning streak was ended last May, losing to Steve Aimable via decision. He looks to get back in the win column with this fight.
Bout 3: James Hendin (4-0) vs. Kris Edwards (13-11) (Featherweight)
In 2019, James Hendin had a strong 3-0 run in Cage Warriors. He looks to start his 2020 campaign against Cage Warriors veteran Kris Edwards. Edwards has fought in Cage Warriors 15 times, recently getting a decision win against Josh Abraham.
Bout 4: Matthew Bonner (6-5-1) vs. Jamie Richardson (8-5) (Middleweight)
Both putting their two-fight winning streak on the line against eachother, Matthew Bonner and Jamie Richardson fight on the prelims. Bonner recently scored a second round stoppage win over Warren Kee, moving to two wins in a row. Richardson has two stoppage wins in a row in Cage Warriors, both via strikes.
Bout 5: Jake Bond (3-2) vs. Adam Amarasinghe (4-2) (Flyweight)
Jake Bond makes his Cage Warriors debut on the undercard against Adam Amarasinghe. Bond has won his last two, fighting on smaller cards in England. Amarsinghe has fought four times in Cage Warriors, going 2-2. He looks to get his third win on this show.
Bout 6: Darren O’Gorman (6-4) vs. Connor Hignett (7-5) (Flyweight)
In 2018, Connor Hignett made his Cage Warriors debut. It was not successful, being stopped by Sam Creasey in the first round with strikes. He then went back to the regional scene, losing via decision and getting a victory in just over a minute. Now he gets a second chance in Cage Warriors, fighting Darren O’Gorman. The Irish fighter looks to even his currently 2-3 Cage Warriors record with this fight.
Bout 7: Perry Andre Goodwin (9-6) vs. Steve Aimable (14-6) (Featherweight)
Finishing off the prelims, featherweights Perry Andre Goodwin and Steve Aimable compete. The four-fight winning streak of Aimable ended in late 2019 when he was not favoured in a decision against Mads Burnell. He now returns, facing Goodwin, who is 3-3 in Cage Warriors. Most recently, Burnell got a unanimous decision win in October over Samir Alakozai.
Main Card (4:00PM EDT / 9:00PM GMT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 8: Paddy Pimblett (14-3) vs. Decky Dalton (11-4) (Lightweight)
Kicking off the main card, Paddy Pimblett fights Decky Dalton. Pimblett, a former Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion, made the jump up to lightweight after he lost his belt in 2017. After winning a fight against Alexis Savvidis, Pimblett was given a title shot against Soren Bak. He lost that fight after going to a unanimous decision. After a year of not fighting, Pimblett returns to fight Dalton. From Ireland, Dalton will be making his Cage Warriors debut. He’s a replacement opponent after Donovan Desmae and Davide Martinez pulled out of their respective bookings against Pimblett.
Bout 9: Nathan Jones (13-9) vs. David Bear (8-1) (Welterweight)
The sole welterweight fight on the card sees France’s David Bear fight Nathan Jones. Bear is a replacement opponent, as Jones was first meant to fight Hakon Foss. Bear didn’t fight in 2019, with his last fight being a first round win over Pawel Kielek in Brave CF. Jones crawled out of a four-fight losing streak in 2018, winning two in a row in Cage Warriors. Jones fought in Bellator once in 2017, getting a rear naked choke win over Umer Kayani.
Bout 10: Mason Jones (8-0) vs. Joe McColgan (6-2-1) (Vacant Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship)
The co-main event of the evening sees undefeated Mason Jones fight Joe McColgan for the vacant Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship. Before going into the fight, here’s a quick refresher on the other title fights that were meant for the card. Morgan Charriere and Darko Banovic were meant to fight for the interim featherweight belt, however that did not prevail through the cancellations. Neither did Samir Faddine’s first defence of his Cage Warriors Flyweight Championship, which was scheduled to happen against Luke Shanks.
Seven of the eight wins Jones has on his professional record are in Cage Warriors. He went 2-0 in 2019, winning both times via decision. McColgan has fought in Cage Warriors (among other promotions) since 2017, going 3-2-1. In November, McColgan caught Robbie Scott in a d’arce choke in the first round to get back in the win column.
Bout 11: Darren Stewart (11-4) vs. Bartosz Fabinski (14-3) (Middleweight)
In the main event of the card, UFC fighters Darren Stewart and Bartosz Fabinski compete. The fight was meant to originally happen on the UFC London card, which was scheduled for March 21st. In attempt to salvage it, they were put on this card. A similar thing was done to a fight between John Phillips and Dusko Todorvic, however that fight was taken off of this card.
Stewart has been in the UFC for quite some time now, fighting nine times since be joined them in 2016. This isn’t his first Cage Warriors appearance, as he went 4-0 in the promotion before signing to the big leagues. After decision wins over Bevon Lewis and Deron Winn, Stewart comes into this fight on a two-fight winning streak.
Fabinski started strong in the UFC, going 3-0. In late 2018 that streak was ended after a first-minute guillotine choke from Michel Prazeres handed him a loss. After more than a 16-month layoff, Fabinski returns to competition. Unlike Stewart, this is his first appearance in Cage Warriors, fighting mostly in the Polish regional scene before the UFC picked him up.
After this show concludes, the next major MMA event looks like it will be UFC 249./ The card is headlined by UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He will fight Tony Ferguson in a matchup many have waited a long time for. But some signs point towards fans having to wait a little longer, as the promotion is still looking for a location for the fight to land on.
Cage Warriors has an event scheduled for April 18th, set to take place at Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England. In the main event, Nathias Frederick is set to make the first defence of his Cage Warriors Middleweight Championship against Andreas Michailidis.