Cage Warriors 101: Getting started with a bang!

Cage Warriors returns from it’s winter break, as the promotion heads to Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre for Cage Warriors 101 on Saturday 16th February”.

The card is headlined by British heavyweight Tom Aspinall, who makes his Cage Warriors debut, against Frenchman Sofianne Boukichou.

Aspinall (5-2) has been receiving a tonne of hype from this fight, with Cage Warriors making it widely known that he is a long term training partner of UFC superstar Darren Till, and a sparring partner for British boxing’s biggest star, Tyson Fury. Till has even gone as far to say that Aspinall is “the Muhammed Ali of his generation” in the build up to this fight.

The Englishman has finished all five of his wins, three via KO and two via, submission, but he is up against a tough opponent in Boukichou.
Boukichou (6-2) is on a five fight win streak, finishing three of those fights.

This certainly looks to be an interesting fight, and with Cage Warriors’ heavyweight division currently lacking depth and a champion, this could be an early sign of how the promotion plan to build the division back up.
Expect this fight to stay upright with both men throwing bombs, and if the fight does go to the floor, I would give the edge to Aspinall, with the Cage Warriors debutant picking up almost half of his wins via submission.

In the co-main, Liverpool’s Bryan Creighton (9-6)returns to Cage Warriors, as he steps up a weight division to take on Croat fighter Manuel Bilic (14-6) in what looks to be a fantastic bantamweight clash.
“The Big Bad Wolf” is currently riding a four fight win streak, and will be hoping that after this fight he can return to the flyweight division and make a push towards the vacant title.

Bilic is also in good form, having only lost one of his last six fights, with his last four wins all coming within the distance.

I spoke to Bryan Creighton about this upcoming fight, and here’s what he had to say:

 

Tim Barnet and Adam Ventre will collide in what has been billed as the “Merseyside MMA derby” in a 160lbs catchweight contest.

Barnet (5-2-1) will be hoping to get back to winning ways, with his last three fights being a draw to Matt Bonner and two losses, both coming via TKO against Cage Warriors standout lightweight Rhys McKee and welterweight warrior Alex Lohore.

Ventre (7-3) is currently riding a three fight winning streak, finishing each fight within the distance, and this is also his first fight on a Cage Warriors proper card since Cage Warriors 68 in 2014.

This fight should see Barnet trying to keep the fight on the feet so he can utilise his striking, but if he ends up getting taken down, Ventre will be quick to capitalise and make it seven submission victories in eight wins.

It’s interesting to see what Cage Warriors have planned after this fight, with rumours circulating that the promotion might be opening up a 160lbs division to bridge the gap between lightweight and welterweight.
Matt Bonner (4-4-1) and Madars Fleminas (3-0) will be in welterweight action on the main card.

Bonner, who has notable wins over Mick Stanton and Rhys McKee, will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing to Mark Madsen at Cage Warriors Academy Denmark 2 in December.

Fleminas meanwhile will be hoping to keep his ‘0’ with another display similar to the ones he put on at Caged Steel, a she makes his Cage Warriors debut. Fleminas is at a big experience disadvantage going into this fight, having only accumulated nineteen minutes and nineteen seconds of cage time in his three pro fights.

Bonner will look to use that lack of cage time to his advantage and drag the fight into the third round, where he will either look to gain his third win via a rear naked choke or dominate the fight enough to take a decision win, which will be the third of his pro career.

Liverpool’s Mick Stanton will kick off the main card when he takes on Jenaid Ebanks in a middleweight scrap. Stanton (3-3) will be looking to get a win following back to back losses to Jonas Billstein and Matthew Bonner, but it is worth noting that he took the fight with Billstein with just over 24 hours’ notice.

A permanent move up to middleweight looks like it could bring a change in fortunes for “The Huyton Hammer”, with the Liverpool native having to cut less weight, enabling him to focus more on his training camp.

Ebanks (2-2) is in a similar situation, with the Apex MMA fighter not registering a win since May 2017.

Adam Newsome caught up with Mick Stanton just a few weeks ago and the scouser talked about his opponent and what he expects to happen in the fight:

 

On the prelim card, the fight fans need to keep an eye out for is a featherweight contest, which sees Andrew Lofthouse taking on Gavin Kelly.
Oldham fighter Lofthouse (3-1) has shown fantastic promise in his first four pro fights, and a win in a fight against a last minute replacement will show his versatility.

Lofthouse, who has experience in Muay Thai, will have a significant lack of cage experience as opposed to his opponent Gavin Kelly (7-6), who replaces Josh Abraham (6-3) on short notice.

However, this shouldn’t phase Lofthouse, as his original opponent Abraham was more experienced than him. I spoke to Andrew shortly before his last minute opponent change, and he didn’t seem phased at all at fighting someone more experienced than him:

 

Newsome MMA will be live at the event, so lookout for exclusive interviews and live updates throughout the card.

Article written by Kieran Cobley – Newsome MMA

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