Cage Warriors 130 will be headlined by a clash between two experienced Californian warriors in San Diego, as JJ Ambrose takes on UFC veteran Spike Carlyle in a 165lbs catchweight bout.
Both men showed true warrior spirit to take the fight, with Ambrose’s original opponent, Kyle Driscoll, withdrawing from the fight after sustaining a fractured nose in training.
The short notice hasn’t fazed either man, with Ambrose going as far to say: “It’s hard to find people who can spar exactly like your opponent, so it (fight on short notice) isn’t really an issue for me as I have a multitude of sparring partners that give me different looks.
“Getting a new opponent for me doesn’t really change anything for me, I still have to make weight, I still have to train hard, I still have to refuel well and I still have to show up on the night of the fight.
Carlyle, who had a three fight stretch in the UFC, has a similar outlook on fighting at short notice, telling Cage Warriors: “I’m one of those guys who’s always in the gym training.
“It’s not a big deal, I have that sort of old school mentality of I’ll fight any man, anywhere, any time.”
The experience of both men will be taken into account going into the fight too.
While Ambrose is still yet to taste the big stage of the UFC, the 34-8 veteran has fought in front of big crowds before and on for legendary promotions like Pancrase before. The 34-year-old revealed that he believes his run of five wins, with an additional win over Carlyle on Sunday night, could be the ticket to his teenage dream of fighting in the UFC: “Since I was 17 watching Chuck Lidell and Tito (Ortiz) fight back in the day, getting to the UFC has been the dream.
“I could always say I was happy to fight for another organisation but at the end of the day, the household name has always been the UFC and I still haven’t got over my teenage years dream of one day, putting UFC next to my name.”
Carlyle has had the UFC experience that Ambrose craves, fighting three times before being released, but believes that high-level experience won’t give him the edge and that he is open to not going back to the world leader of MMA: “I think I shouldn’t have ever left the UFC, but, it is what it is.
“I definitely think after I finish JJ Ambrose that it will open up my options.
“I don’t necessarily know if I’ll go back to the UFC, my dream has always been to fight in Japan so I’d love to go fight over there once things open up.”
It’s clear as well in speaking to both men how much they are relishing the chance to fight in San Diego. Carlyle was born and raised in San Diego for 25 years before he relocated to Orange County.
Ambrose, who was born in California and lived there before relocating to Guam, opened up about how great it will be to having his family at CW 130 to support him: “When Covid happened it sort of de-railed my whole streak, but not only that, all my family is in California apart from my wife and kids.
“I haven’t seen my dad in almost three years, he’s not even met two of his granddaughters, so this is a big homecoming return for me.
“It’s been an amazing fight week, I haven’t been in this good a spirit in a long time and I’m really excited to put on a good show in front of my family and friends!”
Carlyle vs Ambrose headlines CW 130 at Humphreys on the Bay in San Diego.
The prelims start at 6:45pm PT on UFC Fight Pass, with the main card live from 8:00pm PT on UFC Fight Pass and Cage Warriors’ global broadcasting partners.