Cage Warriors 121 Preview

The festival of violence continues with night 2 of the Cage Warriors trilogy. Cage Warriors 121 comes live from the iconic York Hall in London, England on Friday night.

The CW Lightweight Championship is on the line in the evening’s main event. Reigning champion Agy Sardari (13-2) makes the first defence of the crown that he won against Jack Grant at CW 119. The challenger comes in the form of a late notice replacement, Donovan Desmae (14-5). This will be a Netherlands v Belgium derby and we’re set for a fun fight. Holland’s Sardari is a submission specialist with solid striking skills. Belgium’s Desmae is also a well rounded martial artist who leans a bit more towards striking. There will be plenty of eyes on this one.

The co-main event features the third defence of Jack Cartwright’s (9-0) CW Bantamweight title. If he successfully defends again, he gets to keep the belt. Looking to spoil the party is Poland’s Sylwester Miller (9-3). We already know Cartwright is UFC calibre and is edging closer to a call up. He has knock out power and accuracy on the feet and is a fantastic wrestler. He is truly one of the best fighters in Europe. Miller is an accomplished grappler in his own right. He has a vast array of submissions he can use and he can lock them up extremely quickly. He’s great in the transitions and he doesn’t accept the bottom position. Miller is a soldier in his day job and has cardio for days. If Miller gets by the standing exchanges in the first round, he’s in with a chance. We have had similar thoughts in the past with previous Cartwright opponents and he’s brushed them off with ease. Will this be any different?

Former CW Middleweight champion and honorary Irishman James Webb (8-2-1) continues his road back to the strap against Next Gen Liverpool’s Matthew Bonner (8-6-1). Team KF‘s Webb is one of the best grapplers to grace the promotion’s cage and is very active looking for chokes on the mat. His striking is improving fight by fight and his activity in the grappling exchanges has been improving. Bonner is as tough as they come and his recent losses have been to elite European completion, so don’t let the record fool you. He has a strong ground game of his own and can stand and trade with the best of them. This should be a tough contest between two of England’s best.

The CW Welterweight tournament kicks off with the semi finals on this card, with the final taking place later in the year. On the right side of the draw, Jack Grant (16-6) moves up from lightweight to take on “The Latvian Express” Madars Fleminas (8-2). Grant will not be small at this weight, he was massive for lightweight. He is a fantastic grappler and regularly competes in Jiu Jitsu competitions. He is a threat on the feet with a nice kicking game mixed in with his punches. Fleminas is a good opponent and can do damage on the feet. In this one, the floor should be lava to him. He’s no mug down there, but Grant knows every trap in the book.

On the opposite side of the draw, Ireland’s own Ian Garry (5-0) goes once more into the fray. He gets to check “UFC veteran” off his wanted list in this one. Rostem Akman (6-2) arrived at the UFC on the back of six finishes in Superior Challenge in his native Sweden but couldn’t get it done in the big show, losing both fights to decision. The call likely came too early for him and he gave up a huge experience gap to his UFC opponents. His return to Europe couldn’t be more difficult. Team KF’s Garry is good everywhere and is as confident as they come. He can box, he can kick, he can grapple and he can finish the fight in any scenario. This is his biggest test to date and if he repeats his previous performances, it’s away to the races. The last time teammates Webb and Garry fought on the same card, they both won within the distance.

Josh Reed (10-5) has gained a reputation of never being in a boring fight. He leaves everything in the cage. His foe this time out is “The Big Bad Wolf” Bryan Creighton (10-8). Reed loves to stand and bang, and also possesses slick submissions to complement his striking. Creighton favours his grappling and submission game. He struggled during his last CW run with a 2-4 promotional record. Once Reed does what he’s supposed to do, he should come through this without issue.

Joshua Onwordi (2-1) takes on Omeil Brown (debut). This is a very stiff welcome to the pro level for Brown. Onwordi is a very solid fighter and gave Leon Hill a rude awakening on his debut last time out. Brown needs to find his feet from the opening bell or it could be a long 15 minutes at the office.

Wales’ Oban Elliott (3-1) moves up a division to take on Mark Kinsella (2-2). The fight will take place at a catchweight of 177lbs. Elliott has overcome some health concerns to put back on the famous yellow gloves once more. He is a joy to watch in the cage and can finish it standing or on the deck. It’s great to have him back and hopefully the move up to welterweight will put him back on the right track. Kinsella is on a two fight win streak after losing his first two pro fights so this isn’t a gimme fight. Elliott needs to earn the win.

Cage Warriors 121 is live on Friday night from York Hall, London. The action kicks off at 19:30 on UFC Fight Pass.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.