Next port of call: Cage Warriors 70

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There’s no smoke without fire and the roaring blaze that was witnessed at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs Brandao is no different.

Although Irish MMA has always boasted outstanding talent, the scene suffered from having a lack of direction it its formative years. Graham Boylan’s takeover of the Cage Warriors brand in 2010 changed that forever.

Out of the Irish contingent that competed at the UFC’s Dublin return – McGregor, Nelson, Parke, Seery, Pendred, Holohan – all but Nelson had either competed or signed for the European powerhouse.

Although injuries to both Holohan and Parke didn’t allow them an outing for the promotion before getting whipped up by UFC, the fact that the Irish-run company would have been their last port of call before hitting the Octagon is a testament to the brand in itself.

The likes of Conor McGregor and Neil Seery’s capturing of titles in The Helix at Cage Warriors 47, 51 and 55 made for some of the biggest nights in the history of Irish MMA. The audience, mostly comprised of a who’s who of the Irish MMA community, rattle the venue to its foundations each time the CWFC party rolls into town.

Such is the talent that is on display at Cage Warriors events that graduating to the top of a division under their banner nearly guarantees that the eyes of the UFC are you. It is almost a certainty that had CWFC not been around the paths of McGregor, Seery and Pendred would have been significantly longer with regard to their UFC arrivals.

While the UFC had no interest in Ireland for over five years up until last weekend, Cage Warriors provided the nation with its marquee MMA events and they will continue to do so on a regular basis.

And it’s not just as simple as them throwing world titles around our athletes’ waists. Cage Warriors events are so accessible through their various international streaming networks that fans can always keep track of the various divisions. The content team involved with the promotion are second to none and their close knit relationships with competitors often shine through in their output.

The promotion provides a platform for their talent to build brands of their own. Through interviews and countdowns, it’s not only the fighter’s skill set that is pushed into the limelight.

The effort that’s put into the spectacle of the events doesn’t go unnoticed either. The combination of the build-up, the Dublin crowd and educated matchmaking make the events unmissable for the Irish MMA faithful.

Competitors appear hungrier on the Cage Warriors cards too. They are hell bent on putting on impressive performances. They are not only aware of the value of a win, but they also consider the show. When UFC veterans sign for the European promotion they can be overwhelmed by the opponents that are put in front of them, they aren’t ready to go the extra mile, they simply don’t want it as much.

“With Cage Warriors you get that UFC feel with the way it’s ran and the medical side of things, the lead up and the media and the way you’re treated on weigh-in day,” claimed Kavanagh of the Boylan promotion back in March. “It’s easily the most professional show I’ve been to outside of the UFC. For someone like me who has a very big fight team, Cage Warriors having an event every month is ideal.”

Team Ryano head coach and amateur matchmaker for Cage Warriors, Andy Ryan also weighed in on the promotion recently:
“Like Cage Warriors or don’t like Cage Warriors, get on with Graham Boylan or don’t get on with him, but if it hadn’t have been for them none of the Irish guys would be in the UFC. They put us on the map, they gave us exposure, they put us on TV – if it wasn’t for that we would’ve been fucked,” said Ryan.

On August 16th Cage Warriors returns to their Dublin stronghold, The Helix, with a card that would excite the most cynical of MMA fans. Indeed, Cage Warriors 70 would act as a perfect introduction to casual fans who yet to delve into the broader international landscape of the sport beyond UFC.

Joseph Duffy is the last man to have put a blemish on the record of both Conor McGregor and Norman Parke. Duffy was probably the most well rounded fighter on the scene around 2010 but the landscape did not provide European fighters with the entries it does today. Leaving MMA to pursue a professional boxing career in 2011, seeing two of his defeated opponents flourish under the lights of the Octagon has led the Donegal man back to Cage Warriors.

Making his Cage Warriors debut in the main event, dangerous submission expert Damien Lapilus should provide the perfect litmus test to see if Duffy’s ability is where it was when he was at the heights of his power.

Philip Mulpeter faces off against Jake Botswick in the co-main event in what should be a thrilling encounter. “The Honeybadger” was unlucky to come away from his New Year’s Eve meeting with John Maguire without a win, but scored a devastating TKO win over Aldric Cassata when they met on March 1st to get back into the win column.

Botswick and Mulpeter have a habit of going to war and when the bell rings in Dublin they could put on a memorable performance given the strength of the match-up.

Many believe had Paul “Redser” Redmond came away from his December 31st clash with Mateusz Teodorczuk with his hand raised, he would have been the second Team Ryano man in the Octagon on July 19th alongside Neil Seery.

Bouncing back from the submission loss to Teodorczuk with a frantic decision win over Damien Brown, Redmond will look bolster his position for a crack at the CWFC 155 lbs title with his appearance on the CWFC 70 main card against an opponent who has still to be confirmed.
Fan favourite Artem Lobov will face off against Andrew Fisher where he will look to get back into the win column coming off two loses while FAI light-heavyweight Karl Moore will look to remain unbeaten when he meets Lloyd Clarkson.

The card boasts a long list of Irish talent with Martin Sheridan, Andy Young, Ronan McKay, Catherine Costigan, Ryan Roddy, Tommy McCafferty, Konrad Iwanowski, Peter Queally and John Redmond all set for action.

Although Irish MMA fans will constantly embrace new fans of the sport, by the time athletes reach UFC most of their story has only been told.

The most rewarding fan experience comes through watching fighters climb the ladder and Cage Warriors 70 is required viewing for those who are interested in seeing future Irish UFC stars on the ascent.

@PetesyCarroll

Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus