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Cage Warriors 106 Fight Card Preview: A guide to the promotion’s biggest ever event

Cage Warriors 106 Fight Card Preview: A guide to the promotion’s biggest ever event

Cage Warriors will appear at the Eventim Apollo in London for the first time on Saturday, June 29, for the largest event in the promotion’s history.

The 13-fight event boasts six consecutive title fights and a preliminary card packed with some of UK MMA’s best talent. The main card will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass from 3:00 pm (GMT) / 11:00 am (ET).

Cage Warriors 106 Fight Card

Main Card – 6:30 pm (GMT) / 2:30 pm (ET)

  • Ross Houston vs. Nicolas Dalby – Welterweight Title Fight
  • Jack Grant vs. Jai Herbert – Lightweight Title Fight
  • Dean Trueman vs. Mads Burnell – Featherweight Title Fight
  • James Webb vs. Nathias Frederick – Middleweight Title Fight
  • Sam Creasey vs. Samir Faiddine – Flyweight Title Fight

Prelims – 3:00 pm (GMT) / 11:00 am (ET)

  • Marthin Hamlet vs. Modestas Bukauskas – Light Heavyweight Title Fight
  • Alex Lohoré vs. Aaron Khalid – Welterweight
  • Darren O’Gorman vs. Adam Aramasinghe – Flyweight
  • Jason Radcliffe vs. Håkon Foss – Middleweight
  • Ian Garry vs. Tayo Odunjo – Welterweight
  • Michael Younis vs. Thomas Robertsen – Middleweight
  • Morgan Charriere vs. Lewis Monarch – Featherweight
  • James Hendin vs. Kingsley Crawford – Featherweight

Here’s everything you need to know about Cage Warriors 106’s six title fights.

Marthin Hamlet vs. Modestas Bukauskas

Light Heavyweight (205 lbs)

The first title fight of Cage Warriors’ blockbuster event will also conclude the preliminary card, as Lithuania’s Modestas Bukauskas (8-2) takes on Cage Warriors Academy product Marthin Hamlet (5-0) for the vacant light heavyweight championship.

In his last bout at Cage Warriors 102, Bukauskas was largely dominated on the ground by Marcin Wojcik for the opening two rounds. However, towards the end of the second, Bukauskas caught the fatigued Pole with a brutal knee that stunned his opponent. He followed this up with a flurry of punches and kicks, attacking Wojcik’s head and body, until the former KSW contender fell to the canvas and forced the stoppage.

With two submission wins and five victories via strikes, the Lithuanian has left the first round just three times in his ten fight career, a streak that will likely continue when he meets Marthin Hamlet this Saturday.

Hamlet, who trains alongside UFC middleweight contender Jack Hermansson, is currently undefeated with four first-round finishes and a single decision victory in his most recent bout. The Norwegian will be making his Cage Warriors debut, after two impressive victories in the CW Academy via arm triangle choke and decision.

Hamlet will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Hermansson with a victory on Saturday, by capturing a Cage Warriors title and earning himself a UFC contract in later years. Keep an eye on Hamlet, because the future could be very bright for this light heavyweight.

Sam Creasey vs. Samir Faiddine

Flyweight (125 lbs)

The UFC Fight Pass and main card opener sees Sam Creasey (11-2) make his second attempt at capturing the Cage Warriors flyweight title against promotional newcomer Samir Faiddine (10-5). This bout has been scheduled twice in 2016 and 2017, but it seems at the third time of asking, fans will finally see Creasey and Faiddine clash.

Creasey made his Cage Warriors debut in 2016 and, after moving to 4-1 in the promotion, faced Nathan Greyson for the vacant flyweight title. Despite entering as the strong favorite, Creasey was finished emphatically in the third-round by Greyson, who has since moved to Bellator, vacating the belt in the process.

Since then, ‘The Hobbit’ is 2-0, finishing Connor Hignett in the first round at Cage Warriors 96 and decisively defeating Andy Young via decision at Cage Warriors 102. While Creasey hasn’t shown significant improvements in his striking, his grappling has remained difficult to deal with for any opponent and against Faiddine, his primary route to victory will come on the canvas.

Samir ‘Silverback’ Faiddine trains at MMA Factory, the same camp where Francis Ngannou took his first steps into MMA. Like Ngannou, Faiddine is not an overly technical fighter, but his speed and athleticism are outstanding. In his last five bouts, Faiddine is 2-3 with his last four all going the distance.

In a classic battle between technician and athlete, this bout for flyweight gold is the perfect main card opener and one that should not be missed.

James Webb vs. Nathias Frederick

Middleweight (185 lbs)

After capturing the Cage Warriors middleweight title earlier this year,  James Webb (6-1) will make his first defense against the streaking Nathias ‘Notorious’ Frederick (7-2).

Webb faced Thomas Robertsen in the main event of Cage Warriors 102 for the vacant belt. Despite entering as the underdog, Webb looked impressive in the first two rounds and in the third, was able to drag the exhausted Norwegian down and found an arm triangle choke that forced the tap.

Webb debuted for Cage Warriors in 2017 and while he was unsuccessful, he re-grouped and picked up four consecutive victories, three by way of rear naked choke, prior to his successful title bid. While Webb is no slouch on the feet, he will certainly look to take the fight to the ground where he has picked up the majority of his victories, and the explosive Frederick will try and prevent him from doing so.

Frederick will be making his Cage Warriors debut, after riding a seven-fight win streak outside of the promotion including six knockout finishes. While the Birmingham-based fighter is not the most polished, what he lacks technically, he more than makes up for with sheer power and explosiveness; Frederick will look to walk Webb down and knock him out however he possibly can.

In 16 bouts, Webb and Frederick have gone the distance just twice between them and this streak of finishes is likely to continue on Saturday – don’t blink.

Dean Trueman vs. Mads Burnell

Featherweight (145 lbs)

After becoming Cage Warriors’ ninth featherweight champion at Cage Warriors 100, Dean Trueman (10-4) will defend his title against former UFC fighter Mads Burnell (11-3).

Trueman became champion at Cage Warriors 100 after finishing Aiden Lee in bizarre fashion. After Lee dominated the first two rounds on the ground, late in the third, Trueman was able to pull rubber guard. After attacking an omoplata, he pinned Lee and landed several hammerfists until the referee was forced to stop the contest, despite protests from Lee.

In his Cage Warriors career, Trueman is 4-2 with two victories via TKO and two via decision. While his striking has proven effective, his ground game is an obvious weakness and if anyone on the Cage Warriors roster can exploit it, Mads Burnell is the man to do so.

Arguably one of the best featherweight grapplers in the world, seven of Burnell’s eleven wins have come through a variety of different submissions, including a Brabo choke and several Japanese neckties. The Dane joined the UFC in 2017 and after amassing a 1-2 record, including a stunning loss to Arnold Allen, left the promotion and joined Cage Warriors, where he is currently 2-0 with two first-round finishes via submission.

If Burnell can take this fight to the ground, he will likely finish Trueman, who is nowhere as competent as the Dane on the mat. However, if Trueman can keep the fight standing, he will certainly have an advantage.

In a true clash of styles, this will be an outstanding bout between two quality featherweight fighters.

Jack Grant vs. Jai Herbert

Lightweight (155 lbs)

The penultimate fight of the event sees two of the UK’s outstanding lightweight’s face off as Jack Grant (15-4) takes on Jai Herbert (8-1) for the vacant lightweight title.

Grant has been long-tipped for 155-pound success, combining a 6’1 frame with explosive striking and a polished ground game. In his last bout, Grant demolished Aleksi Mantykivi in a single round, finishing the Fin with a brutal combination of elbows and punches. Since the start of 2017, Grant is undefeated in six bouts, leaving the first round just once.

Grant has already shown some ability on the ground in his Cage Warriors career, dominating Mehdi Dakaev in his decision win at Cage Warriors 93. However, the Englishman will primarily look to keep the fight standing, and his elbows and knees have been devastating in his last few contests.

Across the cage from Grant will be Jai Herbert, another 6’1 knockout artist similarly tipped for success. Herbert, who trains alongside Leon and Fabian Edwards at Team Renegade, is currently on a four-fight win streak with three finishes, including an emphatic knockout of Joe McColgan at Cage Warriors 100.

Herbert possesses impressive range and good speed but, like Grant, has never fought anyone who matches him physically and may struggle without the size advantage he has enjoyed in previous contests.

In a battle between two finishers, this co-main event is unlikely to go the distance and the victor will join an illustrious line of Cage Warriors lightweight champions that includes Conor McGregor and Stevie Ray – expect fireworks.

Ross Houston vs. Nicolas Dalby

Welterweight (170 lbs)

In what might be the biggest welterweight clash in Cage Warriors history, newly-crowned champion Ross ‘The Hitman’ Houston (8-0) takes on interim champion, and former UFC competitor, Nicolas Dalby (17-3-1).

Houston captured the title at Cage Warriors 98 in a narrow split-decision victory over Stefano Paterno. The Scotsman started slowly but dropped Paterno in the third-round with a right-hand that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The Italian rallied and nearly finished ‘The Hitman’ in the fourth round after landing a brutal overhand right that dropped the challenger. Despite an onslaught of ground-and-pound, Houston survived, recovered and edged a narrow fifth round, becoming Cage Warriors’ second Scottish champion.

In eight fights, Houston, who trains out of Straight Blast Gym Ireland, has five victories via decision and three via submission. Against the dangerous Dalby, Houston will look to grapple and while his significant height and reach advantage will help on the feet, if he is unable to secure a takedown early on, ‘The Hitman’ could be in trouble.

Nicolas Dalby started his UFC career well, defeating Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and drawing with future title challenger Darren Till. However, after two consecutive defeats to Zak Cummings and Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision, Dalby announced in March 2017 that he had been cut from the promotion.

A year later, ‘Lokomotivo’ returned to Cage Warriors, where he had captured welterweight gold several years prior. While he lost another narrow decision in his return, Dalby has since marched through the division with three finishes in his last three bouts, most recently knocking-out Alex Lohore to become interim champion.

In the build-up to their highly anticipated bout, neither Dalby nor Houston have minced their words about each other. Earlier this month, Dalby called Houston a “delusional kid that barely even won the title, ran from two challengers…and pretended to be injured”; Houston responded, telling Dalby he would “smash him” and that the Dane simply couldn’t beat him.

Given that five former Cage Warriors welterweight champions have gone on to compete in the UFC, capturing the title could be seen as a one-way ticket to the biggest promotion in the world. Can Dalby find his way back, or will it be Houston who walks out victorious and moves one step closer to realizing his dream?

 

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