2021 is winding down in the sport of MMA. Counting this weekend, there are only two weekends of shows left before the sport calls it a year.
This Friday, on the eve of the anticipated UFC 269 pay-per-view, UK-based Cage Warriors returns for a doubleheader weekend of events. the appropriately-titled Cage Warriors Double Trouble, beginning with Cage Warriors 131.
Barring any kind of setbacks between now and Friday night (UK time), Cage Warriors 131 will feature a full 12-fight card, including the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event.
155lbs Supremacy At Stake in Cage Warriors 131 Co-Main Event
In the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event this Friday night, the newly-vacant Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship is up for grabs as George Hardwick (8-1 MMA, 2-1 CW) battles Medhi Ben Lakhdhar (5-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 CW), with its winner becoming the 15th different competitor at 155 lbs. (counting interim and multiple reigns) to hold the Cage Warriors title.
The Cage Warriors 131 co-main event will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round.
Cage Warriors 131 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event this Friday night, Medhi Ben Lakhdhar stands 5-foot-11, with no information for George Hardwick.
Additionally, no reach information was accessible online for either fighter in the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event on Friday.
George Hardwick Looks to Build Off Cage Warriors 129 Win in Cage Warriors 131 Co-Main Event
George Hardwick comes into the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event having gone 4-1 in his last five MMA appearances, including a second-round submission via guillotine choke against Jakub Dohnal in Cage Warriors 129 on Oct. 2.
In his post-fight interview after the victory, George Hardwick mentioned that he was hungry for the championship.
“I’m going to keep fighting,” Hardwick said. “If I get in line for a title and there’s no fight until the title, I’m going to keep fighting. And if someone beats me, then I’m not ready to fight for a title. I don’t like this modern mentality of trying to hang around, ‘No, I’ll sit back because I might get a title fight,’ negotiating, sitting on the shelf. I want to keep a (censored) Chuck Liddell mentality.”
Hardwick will get his title shot at the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event on Friday. The question is whether or not he steps up to the challenge that Medhi Ben Lakhdhar provides him.
Medhi Ben Lakhdhar Finally Gets Back In the Cage For Cage Warriors 131 Co-Main Event
In the other corner, Medhi Ben Lakhdhar has yet to lose in his MMA career, having gone 6-0-1 dating back to his amateur days, but he’ll look back on his 2021 as a year of starts and fits, this after two previous bouts fell by the boards before the scheduled fight nights.
Lakhdhar was then slated to fight on June 26 against Paul Redmond, but this time, the latter sustained an injury, causing the contest to be moved off of Cage Warriors 125, leading to this Friday’s pairing in the Cage Warriors 131 main event.
Prior to the two postponements, he last fought on Dec. 10, 2020, against Stevie McIntosh, winning via first-round knockout (left hook) in Cage Warriors 117, making Friday’s co-main event his first fight in exactly one year.
A key storyline to watch play out in the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event on Friday is that of how Lakhdhar’s lengthy layoff will play a factor in his performance.
Analysis, Film Study and Prediction
On paper, the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event looks to be a toss-up, and if recent history for these two men happens to be any indication, don’t blink, because you might miss a stoppage.
Watch Out For Hardwick’s Body Shots
In examining the video of George Hardwick’s bout against Dean Trueman from this past June, his shots to the body could turn the tide in the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event on Friday.
Midway through the second round, after fighting off a Trueman clinch, Hardwick pieced him up with a two-punch combo featuring a shot to the body that turned Trueman’s lights out, sending him down to the cage mat in a heap.
If George Hardwick’s punches to the body are on the button, it could be a short night for Medhi Ben Lakhdhar in the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event.
Medhi Ben Lakhdhar Can Throw Knockout Punches Himself
In the other corner, Medhi Ben Lakhdhar has one-punch power in his own right.
Last year, he and Stevie McIntosh found themselves in a back-and-forth fight until the former teed off with a flurry of right hands, causing the latter to slow the pace of the fight down.
Moments later, Lakhdhar unloaded with a straight right punch before finally ending the proceedings with a vicious left hook to score the TKO.
If he can come out aggressively and throw the right hands, the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event looks to be a short fight.
There’s really nothing more to say about the Cage Warriors 131 co-main event this Friday other than this one has all the makings of a classic scrap that could be over in a hurry.
Don’t blink or you might miss the ending of the fight.
Prediction: George Hardwick by First-Round Knockout.
Featured Image Credits to Cage Warriors