Cage Warriors 168 Preview: 2 Title Fights

The second part of the Cage Warriors double header takes place on Saturday. Manchester’s BEC Arena will host CW 168 in front of a live audience. Twelve fights will take place including two for CW titles.

The main event will see a new CW Light Heavyweight champion crowned. Andy Clamp (12-2) earned the nickname “The Vice” as once he sinks in a choke, it’s over. The tall Englishman does have a powerful kickboxing game as well, however it’s mostly been grappling success since 2017. Matthew Byfield (6-1) is a man who shares the mats with the likes of the Edwards brothers and Tom Breese. The Team Renegade man has also had a lot of success in the grappling department, whether that’s by submission or ground and pound. These are two gentlemen who entertain constantly.

Luke Riley (8-0) is that guy. The Next Gen Liverpool is going to be the next star emerging from CW and is likely heading right to the top. The 24-year-old is a demon on the feet, bouncing in and out and picking you off. Six men have been broken by his striking exchanges. He had to dig deep to win his last one, proving he has the heart for the battle. John de Jesus (17-11) is a tough Bellator veteran. The Brooklyn man has won three of four of his CW San Diego bouts, and is looking to get that winning feeling on enemy soil. The 33-year-old’s durability and experience will cause Riley problems. He’s not going to be afraid to mix it on the feet.

James Power (5-1) is looking to bounce back after his first pro defeat against Michael Pagani. The Englishman is a finisher with mean, fight ending kickboxing. He backs this up with solid wrestling and vicious ground and pound. Gianluca Rocca (8-3) is another of Michael Pagani’s victims. The Italian exploded on the CW scene with a 29 second guillotine choke win last July. The 29-year-old is more likely to get things done with his fists, having five knockouts on his record.

Sam Kelly (5-2) is another local lad looking to make an impression. The 29-year-old has a mean choke game. The Englishman explodes out of the blocks looking for a knockout as well, successfully scoring two sub-20 second knockouts. Alessandro Giordano (6-3) is hoping it’s third time lucky after losing his first two CW bouts. The 26-year-old Italian is a tough and durable kickboxer with knockout power.

Adam Cullen (7-1) opens up the main card. The Next Gen Liverpool man has picked up all his wins in the first round. The 25-year-old has high level submissions and lately he’s been learning to punish with the ground and pound. Harel Cohen (6-0) is a fellow submission player with four tap outs on his record.

Liam Gittens (12-4) defends his CW Bantamweight crown for the first time in the FightPass Prelim feature bout. The Next Gen Liverpool man is a demon on the feet, throwing his limbs around with reckless intent. Knees and elbows looking to slice opponents’ skin to shreds. All action all the time. Roberto Hernandez (9-1) is another of the CW San Diego guys travelling over to beat their European cousins. The American is a tough and durable wrestler with a solid submission game. On the feet, he can hang with the best of them.

Tom Nicholls (2-0) is making his first CW appearance. The Englishman has used his kickboxing to great success so far, scoring two knockout victories. Craig Rawlins (5-3) is a fellow debutant in the yellow gloves. The 32-year-old’s success has come via his wrestling, adding in his chokes and ground and pound. He is serviceable on the feet and you’ve got to keep your neck out of his guillotine when going for takedowns.

Antonio Sheldon (6-4-1) was relieved to pick up his first CW over Michał Folc via decision in September. The Englishman is a powerful and damaging striker, with a durable defence. He has a tendency to get into close fights so will be looking to make a statement here. Tom Mearns (10-8) is as tough as old boots and has won four of his last five. The Englishman is a gruelling grappler who can make your life a misery equally on the feet or on the mat. You need to plan to play the whole fifteen minutes with this man.

Andy Yates (1-0) comes in from Anthony Pettis’ promotion. The Fearless MMA man is a decision fighter who’s happy to meet you wherever the fight goes. He’s a tough out for anybody. Christian Tebbett (3-2) is a local lad who’s shown a little bit of everything as a pro. The Englishman has nice boxing, a good kick game and a nasty guillotine in his locker.

Sheldon Ryan (3-1) is a local Salford lad training under Pietro Menga. The Englishman has won his last three and has shown a good submission game to date, with dangerous knockout power early on. Michelangelo Lupoli (6-4) is looking to snap a two-fight skid. The Italian is a decision fighter with a decent kickboxing game. The 29-year-old has the talent, he just needs to gain consistency in showing it in the cage.

Fran Breen (1-0) is a Next Gen Liverpool youngster. The 23-year-old was electric on the amateur scene both in the striking exchanges and grappling scrambles. He got off on the right foot as a pro with a decision win last summer. Costin Buhnă (1-1) makes his first appearance for the promotion. We haven’t seen too much from the Romanian to date other than knowing he has a decent guillotine choke. People from that corner of the world generally have at least serviceable kickboxing.

Qendrim Pallata (4-0) will make his first professional appearance for CW, however had a knockout victory over Omiel Brown in the yellow gloves at amateur. The Englishman has knockout power in the kickboxing exchanges and a decent grappling game. Mario Mingaj (5-0) is a tall middleweight from Italy. The Villamanga man has a great triangle choke and a decent kickboxing repertoire.

Cage Warriors 168 is live and exclusive this Saturday on UFC Fight Pass. The action kicks off at 18:30.

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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