Cage Warriors 142 Preview: Creasey Defends; FAI’s McCormac in action

Cage Warriors returns to Wales this Saturday for an early evening show. The action will serve as the appetiser to UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz card set to take place in San Diego later in the evening. There are nine fights on deck in the Ebbw Vale Centre in East Wales, including one for a Cage Warriors title.

Sam Creasey (15-4) finally gets to make his first defence of the CW Flyweight Championship after winning the belt against Luke Shanks at CW 129. He did lose a rematch at CW 132, however Shanks missed weight and the bout was changed to a non title affair. Creasy was scheduled to defend against Dylan Hazan at CW 141 but the Italian missed weight and the fight was cancelled.

In good news, both fighters have already weighed in at championship weight for Saturday night’s show. Sam “Urai” Creasy had won four on the bounce before losing to Shanks and he’s a mainstay in the CW 125lb division. Sam can do anything, he’s quick, very active on the feet and enjoys a good scramble. Opportunity knocks for his opponent Stipe Brčić (10-2).

The 29 year old Croatian trains out of one of European MMA’s top gyms, UFD Gym. He trains with the likes of Roberto Soldić and Antun Racić in Düsseldorf. He has been putting in great performances in the EMC promotion. He’s a well rounded fighter with good striking, strong wrestling and slick BJJ. He’s a strong finisher in all areas. Creasey’s first title defence is a tough one.

The co-main event sees the return of former MW champion Matthew Bonner (12-7-1). This is his first fight back down at 170lbs after a couple of wins at catchweight 177lbs. Bonnor looked great on those two occasions, beating Hugo Pereira with a rear naked choke and Joël Kouadja with a one armed variation of the same choke, both in the second round. The former middleweight champion trains out of Next Gen Liverpool and is a strong wrestler with knockout power on the feet.

Bonnor is 6-1 in his last seven outings, proving to be one of the toughest fighters to face in Europe. That’s likely what interested Oban Elliott (5-2), who has accepted nothing but the hardest tests throughout his career. The Welshman will have the crowd behind him as he puts his all action style into the fight. Elliot is a Shore MMA fighter and he’s a strong BJJ player with good takedowns. He’s also no slouch on the feet. He’s looking to show why he is so highly touted and this is certain to be a very intriguing encounter.

Aaron Aby (13-4-1) is another man who’ll have the crowd singing and chanting. The Wrexham man is rolling into Ebbw Vale on a two fight win streak. He beat former FlyW champ Samir Faiddine by decision and former title challenger Gerardo Fanny by third round rear naked choke. He’s a tough veteran with a wide repertoire of submissions. There’s not much you can throw at him that he won’t be able to handle. Michelangelo Lupoli (5-2) is looking to find that weakness. The Italian was born in Naples and is making his first appearance in over a year. The 28 year old has been a prospect on the Italian scene since 2015 and he is finally making the step up to European level to test the waters. Lupoli has got some nice kickboxing and has good cardio to go all fifteen. The arena should be rocking for this.

The women return to CW for the first time in a while. It’s another Wales vs Italy fight. Stephanie Evans (debut) is turning pro after an impressive amateur career. The Shore MMA fighter has competed at the IMMAFs and came up through the CW Academy Wales program. The 29 year old will likely be looking to showcase her strong grappling and heavy ground and pound here. Jasmine Favero (debut) is a similar story. She trains out of Vigonovo and has also competed at the IMMAFs. The pair have fought at amateur level at the IMMAF Worlds in 2019. The Italian won that night via first round armbar and went on to win a silver medal. Will lightning strike twice?

Luke Riley (3-0) has looked absolutely legit so far. The Next Gen Liverpool man is part of the new wave of talent coming through the gym. He’s finished all three pro bouts on the feet, which is a testament to the quality of his striking. He’s also shown some good takedown defence. He was supposed to compete at CW 141, but unfortunately his opponent wasn’t medically cleared. Cheriff Larossi (1-1) is the next man to try and remove the 0 from Riley’s record. The young Dutchman is coming in fresh off a third round rear naked choke victory last month against Sergey Tanasoglu. He was originally supposed to fight Scott Pedersen but that fell through.

Chris Bungard (16-7) has arrived in Cage Warriors. The Scot will finally have the famous yellow gloves to add to a collection that includes Bellator, ACB and BAMMA. He’s a talented submission specialist who also gives his opponent’s hell on the feet and shows a very well rounded gmae. You’ll know you’ve been in a fight with “The Bad Guy”. He’ll take on fellow veteran Erick Da Silva (22-7). He’s a former TUF Brazil competitor and has recently been a mainstay on BRAVE CF shows. A true all rounder, the Brazilian is dynamic on the feet and is tricky on the mat. This should be a blood and thunder affair.w

Sean McCormac (1-1) is the Irish representative on the card. He trains out of Fight Academy Ireland in Belfast, Severe MMA’s gym of the year in 2021. He showed a great striking game in his amateur career. He got caught in an arm triangle to Petru Plesa at Cage Conflict 6 in March, so he’ll be itching to get back to winning ways. He’ll face Owain Williams (debut). The Welshman is another Shore MMA fighter who’ll be cheered on by the hometown crowd. He’ll make his debut after a decent amateur stint where he showed he can finish standing or on the mat. Two up and comers from good gyms in this one.

George McManus (2-3) is a talented fighter who has faced absolute killers in his CW stint. He is looking to get back in the win column following losses to Ian Machado Garry and Oban Elliott. He is also strong grappler with a lethal guillotine and a knack for taking the back. McManus struggled to show it as a pro, however when it clicks, he’ll go on a streak. Milton Afonso Cabral (3-1) aims to stop him. The 32 year old Portuguese is a slick striker who has finished all three wins by knockout. McManus is likely to try and avoid lightning striking thrice and will try to take this to the ground.

A rare CW Light Heavyweight bout opens the show. Matthew Byfield (3-1) is a prospect out of Team Renegade in Birmingham. He’s good on the ground and has heavy ground and pound. An accidental knee to the groin ruined his CW debut with a no contest, so Byfieild is looking to make a statement in his second go around. His opponent is Szymon Szynkiewicz (2-4). As well as being an MMA fighter, the Pole can be regularly found on the bare knuckle fighting circuits. Szynkiewicz is a veteran of three Wotore tournaments. He’ll be happy to stand and bang, however he is susceptible to being stopped by strikes.

Cage Warriors 142 is live and exclusive on Saturday evening on UFC Fight Pass. The prelims kick off at 17:30 BST and the main card gets underway at 19:00 BST.

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.