Hot on the heels of Cage Warriors 117 we have the second of this follow-up trilogy on Friday night, Cage Warriors 118. This card features a mixed bag of fighters from September’s trilogy and some returning athletes we’ve not seen since last year, like Middleweight champ “Notorious” Nathias Frederick.
The Mat Academy’s Ben Ellis (2-0) makes his return to the cage in the prelims, his first bout since he beat Rafail Skouras (1-4) in the first round back in October last year. Ben made some waves on social media with this victory when he knocked Rafail out with short, sharp strikes from the mount position, an unconventional and impressive ground and pound victory we don’t often see.
Across the cage from Ben will be Kingsley Crawford (5-2), an Englishman who finished his last two opponents in the second round. The last time we saw Crawford, he caught Lewis Monarch in a triangle choke back in March of this year. I think this is a great matchup for two guys looking to build up their names.
The first fighter returning from September’s trilogy is Steve Aimable (14-8), after a split-decision loss to Jordan Vucenic (6-1) in the main card of 116. As the split decision suggests, that was a very close fight, with some believing Aimable should have won, so it’s unfortunate to see him drop down to the prelims.
His opponent, Tom Mearns (6-5), also fought at 116, and was also on the main card, losing a unanimous decision to Kieran Lister. Mearns is now lost three fights in a row, so I’m sure we can expect to see the best Tom Mearns make the walk Friday night, in an effort to get himself back in the win column.
Finishing off the prelims at Cage Warriors 118 (these are some excellent prelims) will be Josh Reed (10-4), the second Welshman of the night, against Liam Gittins (5-1), in a bantamweight brawl. Reed beat Ivan Zidar (5-3) in his last bout, securing a bulldog choke in the latter half of the second round.
Gittins lost his last, losing a unanimous decision to Jonas Magard (10-5), but Gittins has a win over top bantamweight Adam Amarasinghe (6-2) on his record. With Reed’s grappling-heavy style versus Gittins’ penchant for first-round KO’s, we have a classic grappler versus striker matchup here, something we don’t see enough of nowadays if you ask me.
Kicking off the main card for Cage Warriors 118 we have Adam Ventre (8-4) versus Decky McAleenan (6-3), in a bit of a strange choice for the main card fight. I say this because McAleenan has a loss against both Steve Aimable and Tom Mearns, who are underneath Decky on the 118 prelims. Definitely a strange one from Boylan there.
Next up are Mick Stanton (6-5) and Madars Fleminas (7-2), two men coming off a loss from 114. Mick Stanton was the unfortunate recipient of Aaron Khalid’s blisteringly fast Anaconda Choke in the first thirty seconds of the fight back in September, while Fleminas lost to Michal Figlak’s brother Mateusz, also by way of a first-round choke. Another odd coincidence for 118’s main card. Still, I’m sure both men will be raring for a win here, and judging by both men’s mixed record, there’s no telling how this fight plays out.
In the co-main event, we have Matthew Bonner (7-6-1) fighting Matt Inman (20-10). I have to be honest, I’m once again struggling to see the logic in this one. By records alone it’s a bad matchup for Bonner, and certainly not a co-main. But Bonner also has a loss to Madars Fleminas, who’s fighting before him. This feels like a fight made simply to have Inman in the co-main event, but I think there were far better choices for Inman than Bonner, who would have fit nicely lower down the card.
Finally, in the main event, we have the return of Middleweight champion “Notorious” Nathias Frederick (8-2), coming to defend his title for the first time after winning it in November 2019. 2020’s been a rocky year for the champ, having two canceled bouts throughout the year. The last cancellation was actually for September’s trilogy against the same opponent as Friday’s – Jamie “Young Gun” Richardson (9-5).
Richardson’s been on a tear, he comes into this fight on a three-fight win streak including back-to-back finishes of Phill Wells (11-7) and a unanimous decision over Mathew Bonner. That said, anyone who’s fighting Nathias Frederick is aware of the challenge in front of them.
Frederick hasn’t lost a bout since 2016 and has been the Middleweight champion of both Caged Steel and Cage Warriors. This is an excellent fight to end Cage Warriors 118 with, both fighters being known for quick, brutal finishes and a four-year win streak on the line for Nathias. Cage Warriors 118 may have some odd matchups here and there, but make no mistake, it will end with a bang.
Featured Image Credits to CAGE Warriors
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