Cage Warriors 134 Preview

The UFC makes their return to London on Saturday. If that’s the main course, Cage Warriors will be the appetiser on Friday night. Fight weeks can be chaotic, and this one has been no different with late changes. CW matchmaker Ian Dean loves a challenge and has served up yet another Fun Fight Friday. Cage Warriors 134 will be live from the O2 Apollo in London with a 7 fight card, including one fight for Cage Warriors gold.

The main event was originally scheduled to be a CW Featherweight title reunification between champion Jordan Vucenic (8-1) and interim champion Paul Hughes, however the Irishman pulled out on Monday with a neck injury. Hughes’ misfortune is an opportunity for late stand in James Hendin (6-1). “Epidemic” Vucenic is on a 6 fight win streak, including 4 in the yellow CW gloves. His two most recent wins were absolute cracking fights that went to razor thin decisions. He’s a very good striker who will keep a high pace for all 25 minutes. That could trouble Hendin who was due to fight 15 minutes. The Team Fish Tank man is an exciting fighter with strong grappling. This should be a fun clash of styles and neither man has had a chance to train for the other. A spanner may be thrown into the works on Friday night.

The co-main event will see Will Currie (6-2) and Patrick Vallee (12-12-2) square off. Currie is a really slick submission artist with a big box of tricks. He’s finished fights with keylocks and americanas before. The two losses on his record are both to Christian Leroy Duncan who is fighting for the title next month, so you’d expect Currie can get himself into the title picture with a good win. France’s Vallee is a mixed bag. He hasn’t been really active in recent years. He’s 2-3 since 2016. Record aside, he’s going to try and keep this standing and use his knockout power to get this done. Currie is a heavy favourite in this one.

George Hardwick (8-1) was another unlucky loser in the pull out stakes in recent times. He was originally meant to fight Mehdi Ben Lahkdar for the lightweight belt at CW 131, then was meant to fight Danilo Belluardo, both pulled out. Łukasz Kopera (10-6) has answered the call to be a late stand-in at a catchweight. Middlesbrough’s Hardwick is on a four fight win streak and has looked very good in doing so. His boxing is really crisp, mixing it nicely between body and head. He has a lovely guillotine and can dominate wrestling exchanges. Poland’s Kopera was recently granted his release from his ACA contract. He does a lot of training out of WCA Warsaw and is a slick striker with powerful punches. On the deck, he has a nice armbar to watch out for. This is a good matchup made at late notice.

Another last minute replacement fight is going to be Tobias Harila (9-2) against Decky McAleenan (7-4-1). Strap in for this one, it’s going to be a doozy. Firstly, Harila’s walkouts are a must see. Secondly, the man is pure violence in the cage. He was one setting, constant forward movement. He’ll walk you down and swing with power. If he gets an opportunity he will take you down and land massive ground and pound. Ireland’s McAleenan will relish that style and meet him in the centre and use his own striking game. If this does hit the ground, McAleenan has a very active in the Jiu Jitsu game and has a lovely triangle. This is going to be a barn burner.

Kicking off the main card is Ben Ellis (3-1) and Nik Bagley (2-0). Wales’ Ellis came from the CW Academy amateur scene and has impressed as a pro wearing the yellow gloves. He’s got a good wrestling game and has vicious ground and pound. Bagley is a GB Top Team prospect under coach Brad Pickett. He’s used his Jiu Jitsu to end his pro fights to date, however he’s also no mug in the stand up. Two fun up and comers here.

Aidan James (5-2) and Kingsley Crawford (7-3) will headline the prelim portion of the show. Wales’ James looked amazing last time out, winning with some elbows from the triangle. He’s a strong grappler with nice submissions and good ground and pound. Crawford is another GB Top Team prospect. He’s an all action fighter who is a lot of fun to watch. His only defeats were to top opposition. He’s got a diverse submission game and he’s slick on the feet. This should be a good scrap.

Kicking off the prelims is Lone’er Kavanagh (2-0) and Ryan Morgan (1-0). Kavanagh is another of Brad Pickett’s guys. He’s a good wrestler who has used submissions and ground and pound to finish his pro fights thus far. Wales’ Morgan is a teammate of Ben Ellis. This will be his first fight in four years so it’s hard to get a read of his skills. At amateur he had good grappling and used chokes and ground and pound to end it. There’s been so much time off since then that we should be seeing a completely different fighter here. That will make this an interesting contest.

Cage Warriors 134 will be live on Friday night. The prelims start at 20:15 and the main card at 21:00 live and exclusive 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.