The trilogy returns with Europe’s number one promotion Cage Warriors hosting three events at York Hall this weekend. In the main event, Two promising bantamweights Nathan Fletcher and Dominique Wooding, go head to head for the bantamweight title, after long-reigning champion Jack Cartwright vacated his belt. We have nine thrilling bouts to look forward to on Thursday night. Let’s see what the opening event has to offer.
Cage Warriors 127 Lineup
Christian Duncan (4-0) vs John Martin Fraser (5-2)
One of the most exciting middleweights in the promotion Christian Duncan is on the hunt for his fifth win inside the promotion against a promising champion from Eternal MMA John Martin Fraser.
Duncan was involved in two classic affairs with another shining prospect Will Currie in the previous trilogies. After a controversial finish by Duncan in the first fight, the pair shared the cage once more. This time around, Duncan got what he deserved. A slow start saw him come out of the blocks in the second round, to then take advantage in the third. He dropped Currie with a stunning backward elbow, but the fight had to be decided by the judges. Duncan stayed undefeated via unanimous decision.
Fraser has been on a warpath down under, recently becoming the Eternal MMA middleweight champion. The Welshman learned the arts when he moved to Australia, and he was originally a light-heavyweight, until finding his feet at 185 pounds. Since moving to middleweight, Fraser has been ruthless with three knockouts, and his most previous finish came in March, where he hammered Kitt Campbell with the ground & pound to become the Eternal champion.
This fight has all the makings to be a classic. Unpredictability, excitement, you name it, this bout has it all. It’s safe to say keep your eyes on this one from the start, with both looking to finish this early, bringing the power in their fists.
Rory Evans (4-3) vs Weslley Maia (6-4)
A bantamweight banger between Rory Evans and Weslley Maia will finally go down this Thursday, after cancellation back in June.
Evans continued his electric streak when he returned to the cage for the first time in almost two years when he defeated Jimmy Fell inside the first-round at Cage Warriors 123. The Welshman executed his game-plan to perfection by getting the takedown and finishing via ground & pound. Evans is now on a three-fight win-streak and looks in the shape of his life, with the biggest fight of his career up next.
Maia made his Cage Warriors debut in 2018, facing the former champion in Jack Shore, where he was knocked out inside the first round. The Brazilian brings fast-pace on the feet and looks to finish his opponent in quick succession. After knocking out Adam Wilson at Cage Warriors 115, he faced defeat against Michele Martignoni in his previous bout. A negative record in the promotion leaves him desperate to bounce back with a strong performance on Thursday night.
Oban Elliott (3-1) vs George McManus (2-2)
Another pair who were previously meant to meet in the cage, but the bout was cancelled in March. Oban Elliott and George McManus are expected to grapple till one of them have been choked out.
Elliott faced defeat for the first time in his whole MMA career, including amateur, losing to Mike Figlak at Cage Warriors 114. Despite the defeat, Elliott is one of the most promising fighters in the promotion, as he looks to find the fourth finish of his career on his return to welterweight.
Like Elliott, McManus hasn’t been in the cage since 2020, where he faced defeat to new UFC signing Ian Garry. McManus struggled with the wrath of Garry, but throughout his amateur career, and the start of his professional, he’s showed he’s a skilled grappler, who likes to get the fight done as quick as possible.
Josh Reed (11-6) vs Kurban Khizriev (4-0)
Welshman Josh Reed has been with Cage Warriors since his amateur days in 2013, whilst Kurban Khizriev makes his promotional debut.
Reed’s time in the promotion has been a bumpy road, with a record of eights wins and six losses. Earlier in his career, Reed was involved in one of the best first rounds Cage Warriors has ever seen, in the classic title fight against Nathaniel Wood. Reed was inches away from the finish before he got caught on the end of a left-hook, which shook him, Wood took advantage and finished the fight. The Welshman hasn’t been the same since that day, and with a defeat in his previous bout against Dylan Hazan, this fight has become a must-win.
It’s been almost six years since Khizriev has entered the cage, the undefeated Russian has finished three out of his four fights. He was scheduled to make his comeback against Reece McEwan at Evolution of Combat 8, but Khizriev withdrew. The 27-year-old trains with Manchester Top Team and he looks like a serious prospect in this stacked bantamweight division.
Scott Pedersen (1-1) vs Manny Akpan (3-1)
Welshman Scott Pedersen makes his return to featherweight to face Manny Akpan, who looks to avenge his defeat against Keir Harvie at Cage Warriors 123.
Pedersen earned his first professional victory in a hard-fought performance to find the submission against Marcus Lewis in the previous trilogy. His only defeat came in his first professional bout at 145 pounds, but he’s made the decision to give the division another try.
Akpan has proved to be an extreme threat in the featherweight division, but it wasn’t his night against Harvie, who found the arm-triangle choke inside the first round. Akpan produced one of the most stunning knockouts in 2021, finishing the promising Ben Ellis at Cage Warriors 120.
Adam Wilson (5-1) vs Kingsley Crawford (5-3)
Adam Wilson was proving to be one of the most dangerous bantamweights in the promotion after submitting Scott Malone at Cage Warriors 112. Wilson is a versatile fighter, with good stand-up and ground game. It’s been a year since Wilson has been in the cage when he was knocked out by Maia.
Kingsley Crawford is another who’s been with Cage Warriors since his amateur days. In his last bout, Crawford was defeated by Ellis. This match-up is a must-win for both if they want to work their way back to the top.
Ryan Shelley (1-0) vs Liam Molloy (2-1)
Ryan Shelley and Liam Molloy make their promotional debuts on Thursday night, with both fighters bringing the idea that we’re going to see an early finish.
Shelley knocked out Alexander Yankov in his professional debut at Clan Wars 40, whilst Molloy has two finishes in Full Contact Contender, with a loss to Akpan on his record also.
Jack Clarke (0-0) vs Bakhytaar Oryakhail (0-0)
Jack Clarke and Bakhytaar Oryakhail are the only two on the card to make the step-up from being amateurs on Thursday night.
Clarke has impressed at the Cage Warriors academy, and Oryakhail is on a six-fight win-streak as he heads into his professional debut.
Featured Image Credits to Cage Warriors.