Cage Warriors is presenting a card from BT’s studio in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London tomorrow before UFC 205 begins. It will air on UFC Fight Pass as well as BT Sport 1 at 9pm GMT and will feature Paddy Pimblett and Chris Fishgold.
Paddy Pimblett v Julian Erosa – Cage Warriors Featherweight title
Paddy Pimblett has been on a brilliant run recently, which has led to a lot of publicity and hype, with people expecting him to make the jump to the UFC within the next year, but he will have to get through Erosa first, who looks like the toughest opponent he has faced so far.
Pimblett hails from Liverpool and trains out of Next Generation MMA, at only 21 years old he has already amassed a 12-1 record. He began his career in 2012, and suffered a quick submission defeat in 2013 which is the only blemish on his record. When Cage Warriors went on hiatus, he took two fights in Full Contact Contender, winning and defending their featherweight crown against two Frenchmen, Kevin Petshi and Miguel Haro. When Cage Warriors returned he was perfectly placed to become the new face of the company and that is exactly what he did. He beat Ashleigh Grimshaw and Teddy Violet before winning the vacant featherweight title against Johnny Frachey.
Erosa rose to prominence during Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, he made it to semi-final stage before being knocked out by Artem Lobov. After the show he picked up a UFC win against Marcin Wrzosek before being knocked out by Teruto Ishihara at UFC 196. Since that disappointment he has picked up two stoppage wins on the American regional scene to bring his record to 17-3. This will be his first fight outside of America.
Pimblett is primarily a grappler with six of his wins coming by way of submission and the rest split between strikes and decisions, usually he will get his opponent’s back and eventually sink in the choke. In the striking department he likes to utilise his reach and play from the outside, but his striking is still a little stiff and awkward. Testing it out in this fight could be a massive risk, Erosa’s speciality is counter striking from the outside, he likes to stick and move and is constantly circling looking for openings, he is also the taller man and possesses a long reach which immediately takes away some chances for Pimblett.
Pimblett will most likely need to take this to the ground to secure the victory, but it will be tough to get close to Erosa due to his style of fighting. This should be a very interesting contest, and I am very intrigued to see how Pimblett does with this step up in competition.
Chris Fishgold v Nic Herron-Webb – Cage Warriors Lightweight title
Fishgold is also representing Next Generation MMA in Liverpool and he has a very impressive 15-1-1 record. He picked up wins against Andy DeVent and Marcin Wrzosek early in his career before coming unstuck in a fight in a fight in Taiwan last year which was followed up with a draw against Irishman Ryan Roddy. Since that blip he has been in incredible form with five wins, all finishes and four of them being submissions. In fact, of Fishgold’s 15 wins, 11 have come via submission, Fishgold won the vacant lightweight title against Adam Boussif in July and defended it successfully in September against Jason Ponet with both of them falling to chokes.
Webb is from Alaska and competed on Season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter but didn’t do enough to earn a shot in the UFC. Since then he has competed mainly in Alaska with a fight against Russia’s Ozzy Dugulubgov on a WSOF show last December thrown in there for good measure. He lost that one and made his return with a win in September when he recorded an armbar victory on a local show in Alaska. Webb is a grappler with 15 out of 19 wins coming via submission.
This should be an interesting grappling duel, Fishgold likes to submit people but Webb has never been submitted, Webb likes to submit people but Fishgold has never been submitted. Something has to give.
(Light Heavyweight) Karl Moore v Paco Estevez: Karl Moore is an Irish light heavyweight fighting out of Fight Academy Ireland. His career has been stalled somewhat in recent years due to injuries but he is ready to remind people of his promise. He won his first five bouts in impressive fashion before running into Paul Craig and losing via submission. He managed to put that loss behind him by submitting Frenchman Prince Aounallah at Venator FC 2. He will be aiming to take out his disappointment at not getting a spot on UFC Belfast out on Estevez who has a 6-4 record that includes a defeat to Volkan Oezdemir, the only experienced fighter he has faced.
(Middleweight) Lee Barnes v John Redmond: Johnny Jitsu needs no introduction for fans of Irish MMA, he is one of the most entertaining characters on the scene and is on a good run right now. Since getting submitted by Rhys McKee and Will Fleury at BAMMA and Battlezone respectfully he has picked up two knockout wins. First at Cage Warriors 77 against Modestas Bukauskas and then against Glenn Irvine at BAMMA 26. Since then he lost out in his last outing at Jing Wu FC in China via leg lock submission.
Leeroy Barnes is an experienced competitor who has been around the British MMA scene for years but has an up and down record, he put three wins together before falling to Victor Cheng at Cage Warriors 78.
(Welterweight) Che Mills v Matt Inman: Mills competed in the UFC from 2011-2013 and then lost to Cathal Pendred on his return to the European scene. He has never really been able to get his career back on track, but maybe this can be the night. Inman represents SBG Manchester and has fought all over Europe accumulating an 18-8 record. So far this year he has competed in Poland and Denmark, going 1-1. In 2015 he won the Full Contact Contender and Made 4 The Cage welterweight titles with wins over Vincent del Guerra and Tommy Quinn. He should be the favourite here based on form, but it will be a very interesting fight.
Also on the card Shaj Haque takes on Sam Creasey at flyweight which should give the division a new contender, Cork Judoka Lloyd Manning has his second professional fight against Nathan Sparks at featherweight and middleweights Faycal Hucin and Andreas Michailidis.
It should be an excellent card and is the perfect appetizer for UFC 205 later in the night, stay tuned to SevereMMA for coverage.