Cage Warriors 125 Preview

The CW trilogy closes with an early afternoon show on Saturday. They’ll be kicking off in York Hall, London at the unusual time of 1pm. This is due to an early UFC card later that day. Cage Warriors 125 is the probably the most eagerly awaited card of the trilogy.

The main event is a gargantuan fight for European MMA. We have the CW Welterweight tournament final, where we will hopefully see a new champion crowned. Two of Europe’s finest go head to head. “The Future” Ian Garry (6-0) faces his toughest opposition to date in Jack Grant (17-6). Garry is as confident as they come. The hard working North Dubliner isn’t shy about his intentions here, he wants it done early and in style. Most young fighters improve fight by fight, Garry has made huge leaps forward after each camp. His striking is beautiful, lovely combinations, perfect timing, works his levels, makes great mid fight reads and knows how to finish. On the grappling side, he hasn’t had to use it much. The glimpses we have seen indicate he’s no slouch. Grant is a former title challenger at 155lbs and is a very high level submission expert. He is capable of holding his own on the feet as well. He’s gone the full five rounds before and has cardio for days. He holds a significant experience advantage and has been the main event many times. Will “The Future” become “The Present” on Saturday night?

A big fight goes down in the Featherweight division. Sweden’s Tobias Harila (9-1) takes on France’s William Gomis (6-2). Harilla is a well rounded martial artist with some of the most powerful and vicious striking you will see. The man hits like a truck. Gomis is a superb technical striker with the timing to pick off his opponent and pounce on a finish. He is a training partner of KSW’s Salahdine Parnasse. This is a must watch.

Ireland’s Decky McAleenan (7-3-1) is back in action against Scotland’s Stevie McIntosh (6-2). McAleenan’s skill set has been improving a lot the more cage time he’s amassed. He likes to stand and trade, and he’s been hurting his opponents lately with his power. If things do hit the mat, he’s a good grappler. That’s where McIntosh will be looking to take the fight. He is a submission specialist with heavy ground and pound. Which Mc will win out?

There’s another tasty Featherweight scrap between James Hendin (5-1) and Paull McBain (6-1). Both men come in off their first losses, so we will see how they bounce back. Hendin is a gritty all rounder. He can implement a grinding wrestling game and also pick out heavy shots on the feet. This is McBain’s first fight since 2018, so ring rust may play a factor. He was solid in the striking and grappling realms the last time we saw him and it will be interesting to see how much he’s improved since then. Hendin is a tough out for any fighter, McBain needs to find his feet quickly here.

Scott Malone (8-4) is back in Cage Warriors and comes in on a two fight win streak. He’ll take on Swedish newcomer Serdar Altas (4-1). Malones’ nickname is “Boom Boom”, which is a fair reflection of his all action style. He comes into this fight on late notice after Adam Amarasinghe dropped out. Atlas is a kick-boxer and has fought on the Superior Challenge shows in Sweden. He has an extensive IMMAF amateur career behind him so cage experience is no issue. This should be fun.

Former title challenger Gerardo Fanny (9-2) is up against Connor Hignett (9-6) in a bantamweight clash. Holland’s Fanny is an exciting fighter who is always trying to end it. He is a quick striker and aggressive in the submission game. Hignett is nicknamed the hand grenade for good reason. He can change your night in an instant and has racked up several highlight reel knockouts. When he first joined the pro ranks, he was finishing fights predominantly with rear naked chokes, so can certainly hang on the floor.

Marcus Lewis (debut) turns professional in a Lightweight showdown with Scott Pedersen (0-1). Lewis came through amateur ranks on the CW prelims. He is a kick-boxer by trade. Pedersen is looking to get his first pro win after coming up short last time. He has huge amateur experience, including appearing in multiple IMMAF championships. He’s an allrounder. Somebody’s 0 has got to go.

Ireland’s Ciaran Mulholland (0-2) is back after defeats to Jack Maguire and Nathan Fletcher in his opening two bouts. His opponent is Liverpool’s Connor Wilson (1-0). Wilson has a good submission game and like many of his Next Gen teammates, he isn’t afraid of standing and trading. Mulholland is more of a submission specialist and has some gaps on the feet, which he has been working on.

Cage Warriors 125 is live on Saturday from 1pm 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.