Cage Warriors is back this weekend with another trilogy of events. Undefeated bantamweight Nathan Fletcher will be competing in the third event where he faces another undefeated prospect in Michele Martignoni.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Fletcher ahead of his fifth bout in his professional MMA career.
Nathan Fletcher vs Michele Martignoni Preview
Nathan Fletcher had the dream start to his professional MMA career after he went unbeaten in his first four fights, finishing every single opponent he’s faced.
After competing in Cage Warriors as an amateur, Fletcher signed a professional contract to fight at Cage Warriors 105 in May 2019. He came up against an undefeated opponent in Rico Biggs, who also had finished his first four opponents in the first round. Fletcher turned up to put on a show, and he submitted Biggs inside the first round of his debut.
He fought again, six months later. Ciaran Mulholland was making his professional debut, and it ended in the second round. Fletcher finished the fight with a rear-naked choke.
At Cage Warriors 112, Fletcher gained his first KO in his record. He knocked out Johan Segas inside the first round. This showed the Englishman wasn’t messing around, he was stepping in the cage to finish whoever came across his path.
His last fight was at the trilogy back in December 2020, which saw him face a tough opponent in Leigh Mitchell. After being constantly caught with a jab from Mitchell inside the first round, Fletcher recovered to choke him out in the second and keep up his unbeaten streak going.
Michele “The Italian Thunder” Martignoni is another challenger in the bantamweight division. He started his MMA career in the Italian promotion Storm FC, choking out his first opponent Claudio Iancu inside the first round.
After a no-contest against Percy Herrera, in his next two bouts, it was the same result with Martignoni submitting his next two challengers Alessio Ibba and Mirco Marogna. Martignoni fought one bout in Bellator and came away with the joint fastest knockout in Bellator history. After just six seconds, Martignoni finished Simone D’Anna with a head kick to match Hector Lombard’s destroyal of Jay Silva in 2010.
The Italian fought his first and only bout in Cage Warriors back at the trilogy in December. In that fight, we saw all three judges award him a victory against Weslley Maia.
You’ve fought in Cage Warriors since an amateur, how old were you when you found yourself interested in MMA and what was the reason for it?
Nathan Fletcher – I was about 14 when i first go into MMA, one of my school mates Kieron was training at a small gym in Southport called the dog pit and he brought me down to training one night and tapped me out about 15 times! Ever since that first session I was pretty much hooked. I started watching the UFC every weekend and shortly after realised I was half decent at it and I could pursue it as a career. Cage Warriors has been a great platform for me to develop on in my early career as an amateur and a pro.
You train with Next Generation MMA in Liverpool, how much has it helped training with the likes of Chris Fishgold, Paddy Pimblett and Matthew Bonner for example, helped you in your career?
Nathan Fletcher – Training at next gen is quality, everyday I’m training with high level guys, under the watchful eyes of top coaches Paul Rimmer, Ellis Hampson and Simon Audley. Our gym is like a family, the lads all get on boss and everyone’s there to get better and help each other.
A submission win for yourself in your first matchup against Rico Biggs, can you describe the feeling after he tapped?
Nathan Fletcher – When I won my pro debut, I was on top of the world. I knew what over a 4-0 guy would do for me right away, so when he tapped I felt a great sense of achievement and relief. All the hard work had paid off. It really kick-started my pro career with the promotion.
How much hard work and dedication leading up to the fight went into getting that win in your first professional bout?
Nathan Fletcher – A lot of hard work and dedication goes into preparing for every fight. I’m never out of the gym, I’m obsessed with getting better and out working all my future opponents. Nothing compares to winning a fight, so I don’t find it hard to stay so committed all year round.
It was such an impressive recovery in your last fight after taking a hit in the first round, would you say the match-up with Leigh Mitchell was your toughest match-up yet and how do you feel you performed?
Nathan Fletcher – 100% Leigh has been my toughest test to date. I was expecting a grappling heavy approach from him but he showed a massive improvement in his stand up and it definitely threw me off. I felt I started a bit slow in that fight which is something I’m going to change in this next one. However after that first round I regrouped and came out strong in the second and implemented my game on him well. All in all I’m happy with the fight as I managed to come back after probably losing the first round and to finish someone as high level as Leigh I can only be happy wit that.
You could see and hear your reaction after submitting Mitchell, how did it feel to have crowd in the arena?
Nathan Fletcher – Yeah I was made up after that, but I have to say having no crowd there made the celebration very underwhelming. I always bring a big crowd when I fight and I definitely prefer having them all there to cheer me on when I win.
You’re only 23, you’ve got a lifetime of fights ahead of you if you want, do you any aspirations for the future?
Nathan Fletcher – 100% my whole focus is on becoming Cage Warriors Bantamweight Champion, going onto the UFC and running through the roster and winning that UFC world title.
Your opponent is also undefeated, do you know much about him and do you have any predictions for the fight? Possibly to keep that 100 percent finish rate?
Nathan Fletcher – My opponent is fairly well rounded. He’s the perfect test for me at this stage in my career. I predict I will come out fast and put the pace on him. I don’t know what round but I know I’ll get that finish and keep the finishing streak going.
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Featured Image Credits to Cage Warriors