Cage Warriors 117 Preview

Cage Warriors is back on our screens with The Trilogy Strikes Back this week. They have been setting the standard on the U.K. and Ireland scene for years and are a proven pathway to the UFC. Like their previous trilogy event in September, these events are fully government approved and a strict bubble has been put in place for the safety of all involved in the event. The location for this historic event will be the legendary York Hall in London. The first event kicks off on Thursday with Cage Warriors 117.

An eagerly anticipated flyweight title fight between Luke Shanks (7-1) and Jake Hadley (6-0) headlines the card. Make no mistakes, this is as high a level flyweight fight as you’ll get in Europe. Shanks was dominant when he won the title back in September, however he’s faced nobody like Hadley before. A true all-rounder, if Shanks allows Hadley to get settled, violence usually follows. This will be a contest with fine margins, it will be fast paced and the winner will be a top target for the UFC.

The co-main event features a pair of potential future flyweight titles contenders Adam Amarasinghe (6-2) and Sam Creasey (12-3). “Apex” Amarasinghe has found his form lately with back to back wins. He faces his biggest test to date against CW veteran Creasey. Amarasinghe holds a win at amateur level over current champ Shanks so he has the quality to hang at the top. Creasy can do it all though and Amarasinghe will need to pressure in the striking exchanges if he wants to avoid Creasey’s traps.

Weslley Maia (6-3), hot off his impressive win against Adam Wilson in his last contest, takes on Italy’s Michele Martignoni (5-0). The ATT Rome fighter has competed in the IMMAFs and has looked good on the regional scene. He was victorious in his first ascent to the big show at Bellator 203 with a highlight reel 6 second head kick KO. Maia is a step up in opposition. His exciting standup style should ensure that this is an exciting fight while it lasts.

2019 Fight of the Year winner Mehdi Ben Lakhdar (4-0) finally returns to the CW cage. He pits his slick striking against Scotland’s Steve McIntosh (6-1). This will be a step up in opposition for McIntosh, however his standup style should mesh well with Ben Lakhdar’s to make this a fascinating stand up war.

Aidan Stephen (7-3) is looking to get right back on the horse after losing out to Paul Hughes. He takes on Turkey’s Emrah Sonmez (11-2). Stephen is a very strong grappler who wears on his opponents and mixes in heavy strikes. Sonmez is an interesting character with very high level submission skills. This has the potential to be a very close contest.

Poland’s Michał Figlak (3-0) burst onto the CW scene last September with a huge win against hot prospect Oban Elliott. He came in talking a good game and he backed it up in spades with a third round TKO victory. He will take on the tough Next Gen Liverpool fighter Anthony O’Connor (4-3). O’Connor has traded wins and losses to date as a pro, and he won last time out. Figlak is coming in to make another statement and will be hunting for a finish.

Opening the trilogy is Adam Cullen (debut) and Oscar Ownsworth (1-1). Cullen did his apprenticeship mostly in the CW Academy whereas Ownsworth plied his trade at the Almighty Fighting Championship. Neither man is afraid to put it on the line to win so should serve as a nice curtain jerker.

Cage Warriors 117 starts at 8pm on Thursday. Both the prelims and the main card will be available live 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.