Two titles on the line at Cage Warriors 72 in Newport


Cage Warriors continue their summer of city-hopping on Saturday night when they roll into Newport, south Wales, where fight fans there will be treated to not one, but two world title fights, in what is arguably the promotion’s most significant event of 2014.

The headlining bout at the Newport Centre sees welterweight champion Nicolas Dalby defend his crown for the first time against Gael Grimaud, while Cory Tait and Toni Tarau will square off for the vacant bantamweight title.

Hailing from Denmark, the 29-year-old Dalby is undefeated in his Mixed Martial Arts career to date, and is currently one of the biggest prospects on the European circuit. He took the then vacant welterweight belt back in March at CWFC66, with a spectacular fourth round head-kick knockout of Sergei Churilov, and is highly-favoured to retain it against the veteran, Grimaud.

Grimaud, of course, was once champion, but was dethroned by Cathal Pendred in Match of 2013.

However, in the interim, he finished his subsequent two fights in style and is now poised to reclaim what he lost.

At 34, and 25 fights into his pro career, there is a sense that this may be a stretch too far for the Frenchmen.

Dalby has an incredible amount of momentum behind him-the sort that comes with 12 consecutive victories-and his record indicates he can win fights in just about any conceivable manner. Grimaud’s best bet is to try and take him into the championship rounds, where he has an experience advantage, and hope against hope, the Scandinavian wilts.

In the penultimate bout, Cory Tait will seek to overcome Finland’s Toni Tarau, and become the first English Cage Warriors champion in three years.

To do so, he must navigate Tarau’s elite submission game, which his six previous opponents have failed to do. Both men will be making their sophomore appearance for the promotion, with each having won by submission on their respective debuts. So, to fight for a title at such an early stage, represents a fantastic opportunity.

Although no slouch on the mat, Tait will be better-served keeping this one standing, where he enjoys a significant advantage. He’s also the better athlete and the bigger man, but, over 25 minutes, he only has to slip up once and that could be all she wrote.

Keep an eye out for former UFC fighter Che Mills, another vanquished foe of Cathal Pendred, as he fights at middleweight for the second time against Jack Marshman. A convincing win for either is likely to put them in the discussion for a shot at Jack Hermansson’s title.

Finally, in the lightweight division, 6-0 Pole Mateusz Gamrot faces the durable Tim Newman, who is returning to the promotion after almost two years fighting elsewhere.

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