The latest Cage Warriors Trilogy event is in the books, and the promotion showed precisely why they are the leading organization in Europe. The three-day event began on Thursday night, with Cage Warriors 127 setting the tone.
The night of action had it all from debutants battling it out, prospects shining, and the Welsh takeover with Elliot, Evans, and Reed securing victories. The main event on the night lived up to the Cage Warriors fan’s expectations, with Nathan Fletcher and Dominique Wooding going to war. Despite Fletcher’s gratuitous effort, Wooding was crowned the new Cage Warriors bantamweight champion.
After facing some early adversity, I had the pleasure to catch up with Welsh native Rory Evans after his incredible hard-fought victory on the night over an aggressive Weslley Maia, showcasing his sheer determination, grit, and heart.
Interview with Rory Evans
A couple of days out from a thrilling victory over Weslley Maia, has it settled in? What are the emotions like after a hard-fought win like that?
Rory Evans – “I’m still bouncing. To be honest, I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but with the injury thrown in the mix, it made everything feel that much better.”
It was talked about before the bout that Maia was a big step up in competition for you. In your own words, how do you feel that step up in competition went? Of course, you faced some adversity, which I will get to, but how do you evaluate that performance two days later?
Rory Evans – “Yes, Weslley was definitely a step up in competition. However, my team and I knew the skills that I had would be too much for him. That’s why we asked for the fight in the first place. I can’t really argue with the performance considering what happened, but I wanted to come away with a finish, which I honestly believe would have come without the injury.”
What was the game-plan going into the fight with Maia, who comes to throw down with bad intentions, and do you feel you stuck to the game plan, or did the injury make you have to adapt and adjust?
Rory Evans – “Knowing Maia is very dangerous early on and tends to fade in rounds two and three. The plan was to wrestle in the first and take some zap out of him, then begin to pick him off on the feet when there was less risk. I think I managed that to a degree. I believe I out-struck him in both rounds two and three as well as out wrestling him and getting good top control.”
On the injury, can you update us on what happened and the current state of the knee? How tough was it to dig deep and carry on when facing an injury early in the fight? Does that make the victory that much sweeter, really having to learn about yourself?
Rory Evans – “I’ve actually had high-grade tears on both ACL, my left has been reconstructed but my right, I wanted to avoid surgery again due to the time I would have been out, so I rehabbed it. The knee has been excellent until that night. I’m 99% sure it’s the ACL again due to how it was giving way on me. Yes, pushing through that adversity and still getting the win definitely made the win that much sweeter. It’s also really satisfying knowing that I’m capable of battling through something like that in the future if needs be.”
Welsh MMA is booming at the minute, and we are seeing a ton of talent from Wales have success on the major organizations, whereas three/four years ago, it was a rare occurrence. What do you put that down to?
Rory Evans – “I think it was inevitable, there is so much talent in Wales for a small Country, all it took was for the initial breakthrough of Brett Johns, John Phillips and Jack Marshman to the UFC showing us that it can be done. Now MMA is just booming in Wales from all angles. I also believe that the willingness for us all to meet up and train together without any gym politics brings the best out of us and allows us to grow as a nation.”
Was there anything that surprised you about Maia? Anything he did or didn’t do well, or was it everything you expected?
Rory Evans – “Well, as I mentioned earlier, we knew he would tire, which he did. However, after watching tape on him, I thought there would be more sting to his strikes, so that surprised me. We also knew that my wrestling and grappling would be too much for him, but I was quite surprised at how easily I was able to control him given how explosive he is.”
When the right leg was compromised, and Maia was on you like a rash, extremely aggressive, what’s going through your head? Is it survive and try and recover, as you did great work getting back to your feet and getting a takedown of your own?
Rory Evans – “At first, I can remember thinking to myself how the f**k am I in this position already, on my back trying to stay safe. But there was no way I would take the easy way out. As long as I could move a bit on my feet, I was good to go. So as soon as I got back up, I shook it out a bit, moved around, and just got through it.”
Maia, in the past, has proven to empty his gas tank and start to fade. Did you feel that when you began to take control, and was that something the team identified in preparation?
Rory Evans – “Yes, definitely, as I’ve mentioned already, we knew this was the case and that the first round was his most dangerous. So, getting through that first round was the initial goal, and then I knew id begin to break him down.”
How confident were you when the decision was announced that you were taking it? Did you genuinely feel that you did enough?
Rory Evans – “I knew the first round was a right off, just because of that big flurry he had when I first went down with the injury, although I was never hurt from any strikes at all. I knew it didn’t look too good. I was confident I did enough to take the last two rounds, though, although I was slightly worried as you never know what someone else’s perspective is.”
After a beautiful fight for the fans like that, you’re now riding a four-fight win streak and your best win to date. Perhaps it’s time to take some time off and heal up. Despite the knee injury, but what would you like next? When fit and healthy, are there any names you’d like to test yourself against on the CW roster?
Rory Evans – “I want to fight the best, so give me anybody in that bantamweight title mix, and ill sign the dotted line no problem. I genuinely believe I will be CW Bantamweight world champion, so it doesn’t matter who they offer me next as long as I think it’s a progression or a step closer to that goal.
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Featured Image Creds to: Rory Evans MMA