Cage Warriors 158 Preview; Haque v Martignoni, Team KF’s Leon Hill returns

Cage Warriors return to the land of pizza and pasta this Saturday. The Fiera Roma once again hosts a jam packed card of fifteen fights at CW158, including one for a CW title. Italian MMA is on the rise and this is a must watch.

The CW Flyweight Championship is on the line in the main event. Shajidul Haque (15-5) makes his first defence of the belt he won against Sam Creasey with a big overhand right. That brought the Bangladesh born fighter’s win streak to five-in-a-row. The 32-year-old packs big power and can equally piece you up for the duration of the fight without much drop off. Michele Martignoni (8-1) relinquished his bantamweight title to try and become a two-weight champion. The Italian will have the crowd on his side and he’s a very well rounded fighter. The 27-year-old has good kickboxing and can cause issues in the submission game. This should be a very competitive fight.

Dario Bellandi (5-1) is one of Italy’s top talents. The middleweight is on a three-fight win streak and has been causing problems with his grappling in the yellow gloves with the two submission wins and another via ground and pound. He is also an IMMAF veteran, representing his country in multiple championships. Naglis Kanišauskas (6-2) is another young prospect. The Lithuanian is a submission specialist and has competed for Oktagon and UAE Warriors in the past. The 22-year-old has one knockout victory in MMA.

Mason Jones (11-2) is back in Cage Warriors after an unsuccessful UFC run. “The Dragon” is a former two-weight CW champion. The 28-year-old is itching to get back to action and winning ways. The Welshman is a devastating striker and has some of the most damaging knees in the sport. Alexandre Ribeiro (20-11-1) is the brave man who accepted the challenge. The Brazilian is a warrior who is capable of scrapping wherever the fight goes. The 31-year-old is likely going to try a stand with the former champ.

Micol di Segni (10-4) is an Italian MMA trailblazer. The 35-year-old has been on the pro scene since 2015, long before it was fashionable. The Rome native has decent power for her size and has a good submission game. Amanda Torres (8-6) is more of a decision fighter. The Brazilian has dipped her toes into professional boxing, which she’ll likely try and show off here.

James Power (5-0) is a white hot talent and he’s won both his CW fights to date. The Englishman is a natural born finisher with absolutely delicious kickboxing. This man has more knockouts than League of Ireland teams in Europe. Michael Pagani (6-0) is the Italian version of Power. The Brescia man is a sniper by name, and a sniper by nature. Five of his wins have been by knockout, and he loves to add something special to the mix such as flying knees and spinning attacks.

Sylwester Miller (10-6) is back in the yellow gloves. The Pole was beating then CW champion Jack Cartwright the last time we saw him, then he was unlucky to be disqualified for some headbutts. The Rudnik man is a strong wrestler who’s very good at taking the back and snatching a choke. Emanuele Zaccaria (5-1) has been very impressive in CW himself, winning his first two bouts. The 29-year-old also has good wrestling and submissions. This is a battle of chalk and chalk.

Leon Hill (5-1) is the most active man in Irish professional MMA. The Team KF man aims to get his sixth win in a little over a year. “The Professional” is a strong grappler and good at getting it to the deck and doing damage with ground and pound. He’s not bad on the feet either. Dumitru Girlean (6-1) had an impressive CW debut with a knockout victory over Adam Cullen. The Italian’s game is all about damage, whether that’s on the feet or on the floor. The Verona man is out to hurt you with every shot.

Niko Ceraglia (debut) is the latest Aurora MMA to sign for CW. The Italian has three wins at amateur, all via decision. Simone Manno (0-1) is also making his promotional debut. The Milan man is likely going to try and use his kickboxing here. Somebody’s 0 has got to go.

Sam Kelly (5-1) is a good prospect out of Manchester. The Englishman can do it all, very strong submissions and a ruthless kickboxing style. All his wins have been finishes, usually in the first round. Gianluca Scottoli (8-3) straps on the yellow gloves for the first time. The Italian is on a three-fight win streak and his biggest strength is his grappling and submissions.

Gianluca Rocca (7-3) is another new name on the bout sheet. The Rimini man is a knockout artist who will be looking to end it quickly. Guido Possidente (3-0) has represented Italy at the 2019 IMMAFs. The Goriza man will meet Rocca in the middle of the cage and swing back at him. Most notably, his power lasts the duration of the fight and has two knockouts on his résumé.

Daan Duijs (8-2) returns following a submission loss to Nathan Fletcher, a club that seems to be growing at a massive rate. The Dutchman is a submission specialist himself and masters the triangle choke. Alexander Sasha Pirev (6-3-1) is a Moldovan training out of Rome. The 37-year-old has the classic Romanian kickboxing style and carries power. This is his first fight since 2018 and his last two wins were via submission. He’s never been submitted as a professional.

Idriss M’roivili (2-1) hits as hard as his name is to say. The Frenchman is always ready for a brawl. Giacomo Michelis (4-1) is a well rounded fighter who perhaps leans more into a wrestling game. From there he can work his submissions with ground and pound.

Aaron Johnson (7-3) is a training partner of Sam Kelly. The Englishman lost his last fight via heel hook to Łukasz Kopera. “The Catfish” has most of his success in striking exchanges, however has two wins via submission. Emanuele Sabatino (4-1) is another man who’s represented Italy at the IMMAFs. The Vercelli native has solid grappling, however doesn’t really have a finishing threat.

Emanuele Tetti Menichelli (debut) is another debutant from Aurora MMA. The Rome man has a kickboxing background. Dario Palazzo (0-1) lost his first MMA fight via submission. The Padova man had success with his grappling as an amateur. Again, someone’s 0 has got to go.

Florian Doskja (5-2) will get us underway on Saturday. The Albanian trains out of Monfalcone and is a submission expert. Amir Malekpour (4-2) comes in from Fight Club Rush. The Swede is a solid allrounder with half his wins coming via finish.

Cage Warriors 158 is live and exclusive this Saturday on UFC Fight Pass. The action kicks off at 16:30.

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.

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