CW112: Manchester card preview

Cage Warriors kick off their packed 2020 schedule this Saturday night with a debut fight night in Manchester.

After a run of hugely successful events in Liverpool – where the promotion built the careers of former champions Molly McCann, Chris Fishgold (both of whom were signed to the UFC in 2018) and Paddy Pimblett – Cage Warriors have set their sites on another Northern city fertile with fighting prospects.

The Main Card

At the top of the bill is Bolton-born bantamweight champion Jack Cartwright (7-0), who stormed into the Cage Warriors ranks with double knockouts over Scott Malone and Marko Kovacevic at the BT Sport studios last year. The two knockouts catapulted Cartwright to the top of the division and into the European spotlight in just one night. 

Cartwright details his rise to the top, his training regime and his thoughts on his CW112 opponent Manuel Bilić in the mini-documentary Born Fighter (watch here).

Challenging for the belt is the more experienced Manuel Bilić (15-6), who boasts 13 finishes across his 15 wins. Among those is a highlight-reel submission win over Bryan Creighton at CW101.

In the co-main event, top UK contender Adam Proctor (11-1) – under the tutelage of former Cage Warriors Champion Alex Enlund – takes on the undefeated Madars “Latvian Express” Fleminas (7-0). It’s a high-level bout which may well determine the next man to fight for the Welterweight title later in the year, and is likely to see Fleminas’ grinding, relentless pressure come up against Proctor’s elite fight IQ and intelligent game planning. 

Before that, Middleweight matchup between George Smith (4-1) and Lukasz Marcinkowski (4-1) go head-to-head. With identical records in their careers to date, both men have climbed the ranks with multiple submission finishes. This one will likely come down to which man can impose their will, force their grappling offence and secure dominant positions from early on. Strength advantage could be a key asset.

In the Middleweight division, former champion James Webb (6-2) comes up against Mick Stanton (6-3). Although Webb looked impressive in his rise to the belt with multiple finish wins, back-to-back wars with now-champion Nathias Frederick in his last two will have taken their physical toll. That said, increased cage time with elite opposition in deep waters will no doubt have strengthened Webb’s resolve and toughed him even further. On the other side of the cage is the surging Mick Stanton, who won all 3 of his bouts in an active 2019 and will have the Northern support behind him.

Another intriguing bout on the Main Card will see former title challenger Scott Malone (6-3) battle the young and undefeated Adam Wilson (4-0). Malone took on now-UFC bantamweight Jack Shore for the Cage Warriors belt last year. Despite coming up short, Malone arguably gave Shore the toughest test of his career to date, showing off his Commonwealth Judo credentials with multiple takedowns.

The younger man Wilson seems to be improving at break-neck speed with help from his numerous UFC-level teammates at his Liverpool Next Generation MMA stable. A classic veteran vs prospect matchup.

The CW112 Main Card will begin at 9PM on UFC Fight Pass and a host of other international broadcasters – full list HERE.

The Pro Prelims

Earlier in the night, a rising prospect clash will take place when North West name Liam Gittins (5-0) comes up against Jonas Mågård (10-4). Although just a few years older than Gittins, Mågård has almost 3 times the fight experience and looked in fantastic form with double wins in 2018. However, an inactive 2019 may raise questions with some critics. Gittins has yet to be beaten in the pro ranks, and answered any queries about his ability to defeat top opposition when he out-pointed Adam Amarasinghe at CW111 last November.

Another North West youngster, Nathan Fletcher (2-0), will look to improve on his record with a win over Frenchman Johan Segas (3-0). Although Fletcher has picked up 2 submission wins as a pro so far, the strength and top pressure displayed by Segas at CW103 proved he won’t be overpowered easily.

The return of Tom Mearns (6-3) to the Cage Warriors lightweight roster made headlines this month, when it was announced that he’ll take on Steven Hooper (4-3). Mearns looked impressive with a grinding win over Decky McAleenan at Cage Warriors Unplugged 2, and has his sights set on the belt. Hooper is on winning form after a submission win against Craig Edwards at CW105. 

Undefeated Irish prospect Paul Hughes (4-0) vs Youri Panada (4-1) has become one of the most talked-about bouts on the pro prelims, after Hughes made his debut in style with a first-round submission win last year. Hughes is among the growing list of young Irish fighters making a name for themselves on the current Cage Warriors roster, and is also scheduled to fight on the promotion’s Belfast card on May 16th. His 100% pro finish rate and exciting performances as an amateur have earned him a strong following. Panada is raring to put on the yellow gloves after two previous Cage Warriors fights have fallen through at late notice.

Opening up the pro prelims is another Irish name, James Sheehan (1-2), who takes on Kyran Sturrock (pro debut). After a 3-round war with Ian Garry at CW101, Sheehan instantly made a name for himself as one of the toughest young welterweights on the scene. Manchester’s Sturrock, training out of the SBG stable alongside Jack Cartwright and Martin Stapleton, is destined for the very top according to coach Matt Inman. 

There are less than 30 tickets left for CW112: Manchester, which takes place this Saturday night at the BEC Arena.

The last remaining tickets can be purchased here.

The Pro Prelims will be broadcast live and free here on the Cage Warriors website, followed by the Main Card at 9PM live on UFC Fight Pass.

Main Card (9PM)

Jack Cartwright vs Manuel Bilić – Bantamweight Title Fight

Adam Proctor vs Madars Fleminas – Welterweight

George Smith vs Lukasz Marcinkowski – Middleweight

James Webb vs Mick Stanton – Middleweight

Scott Malone vs Adam Wilson – Bantamweight

Pro Prelims (6.30PM)

Liam Gittins vs Jonas Mågård – Bantamweight

Nathan Fletcher vs Johan Segas – Bantamweight

Tom Mearns vs Steven Hooper – Lightweight

Paul Hughes vs Youri Panada – 150lbs Catchweight

James Sheehan vs Kyran Sturrock – Welterweight

Amateur Card (4.15PM)

Tom Field vs Mustapha Mohammed – Amateur CWA Light-Heavyweight Title Fight

Mariusz Mikolajewski vs Ben Petches-Kelly – Amateur Welterweight Title Fight

Connor Hughes vs Adam Cullen – Lightweight

Macca White vs Tom Wright – Bantamweight

JJ Jones vs Sheldon Ryan – Flyweight

Mark Reeder vs Jay Reilly – Featherweight

Mo Zubair vs Luke Penberthy – Flyweight

Dec Dean vs Aaron McDonnell – Lightweight

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