This Friday, although March Madness in college basketball reigns supreme inside the United States, MMA returns to the United Kingdom for the first night of a doubleheader weekend of action in combat sports in England.
Featherweight Supremacy At Stake in Cage Warriors 134 Main Event
On the eve of the UFC’s return to London for the first time since 2019, Cage Warriors gets the UK MMA party started with Cage Warriors 134 from the O2 Arena in London, just four weeks removed from its roof sustaining damage caused by rough winds from Storm Eunice back in February.
Reports indicated that during the storm on Feb. 18, winds in the vicinity of the venue clocked in at 122 mph., causing parts of the roof to be ripped off.
Cage Warriors 134 on UFC Fight Pass this Friday night (UK time) features a seven-fight MMA card and a title fight at 145 lbs. in the Cage Warriors 134 main event of the evening.
Incumbent Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion Jordan Vucenic (8-1 MMA, 4-0 CWFC) gets a late change in his adversary, squaring off against challenger James Hendin (6-1 MMA, 5-1 CWFC) in the Cage Warriors 134 main event, a five-round fight at five minutes per round to close the show.
James Hendin Steps In On Four Days’ Notice to Fight Jordan Vucenic in Cage Warriors 134 Main Event
Originally, Jordan Vucenic’s adversary in the Cage Warriors 134 main event this Friday night was to have been Paul Hughes in a rematch of a fight from Cage Warriors 119, but on Monday, Cage Warriors President Graham Boylan announced that Hughes had withdrawn from the show due to a neck injury.
Cage Warriors 134 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the Cage Warriors 134 main event on Friday night, Jordan Vucenic stands as the taller man at 5-foot-8, with James Hendin standing 5-foot-8.
Ordinarily, at this point in the article, we would mention who has the reach advantage in the fight, but no such information exists online in that category.
Jordan Vucenic Looks To Take Next Step Toward UFC With Victory in Cage Warriors 134 Main Event
Champion Jordan Vucenic enters the Cage Warriors 134 main event on Friday night having gone 5-0 in his last five MMA fights as part of an ongoing six-fight winning streak, defeating Morgan Charriere by split decision almost a full year ago in Cage Warriors 122’s headlining bout.
The storyline here is twofold for Vucenic and his camp:
First and foremost, how much ring rust does he have going into the Cage Warriors 134 main event, given that he not only hasn’t fought in almost a complete year and that he had to withdraw from a rematch against Charriere last summer due to an injury?
Secondly, it stands to reason that since he is on a six-fight winning streak heading into the fight on Friday night, Jordan Vucenic is on the UFC and Dana White’s radar, even moreso with a victory in the Cage Warriors 134 main event.
A six-fight winning streak like the one Jordan Vucenic is on now is really difficult, if not impossible, for Dana White and his team to ignore.
If he wins on Friday, it’ll be truly interesting to see if he gets “The Call” from White in the near future and join Cage Warriors alumni like Conor McGregor, Paddy Pimblett, and Michael Bisping in joining MMA’s top promotion.
Can James Hendin Adjust With Late Opponent Change in Cage Warriors 134 Main Event?
In the other corner, James Hendin has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five bouts, winning via second-round submission due to a rear-naked choke versus Paull McBain in Cage Warriors 125 last June.
The challenger has faced a chaotic turn of events in the run-up to the Cage Warriors 134 main event, particularly in the final days leading up to fight night, as this is the third different opponent that Hendin has been booked to face for this card.
Initially, Hendin was booked to appear in the Cage Warriors 134 undercard against Steve Aimable, but he withdrew from the event prior to fight night.
Subsequent to that postponement, Hendin was then rebooked to have fought Tobias Harila on Friday’s main card, but once the spot in the Cage Warriors 134 main event became available with Paul Hughes’ neck injury, Hendin was finally rebooked to fight here, with Harila being rebooked in turn to fight Decky McAleenan on the main card.
Being booked to fight three different opponents on the same card is by no means an easy scenario to have to deal with, and especially when the third booking comes just a mere four days prior to fight night — so one must wonder how much of a role this has played for Hendin’s psyche going into the Cage Warriors 134 main event on Friday night.
Exactly how much of a role the postponements and subsequent rebookings have played into James Hendin’s mental preparation for this fight remains to be seen.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Cage Warriors 134 main event seems to favor Jordan Vucenic, who just recently received a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to James Hendin’s grappling background.
Watch For Jordan Vucenic To Take James Hendin Down in Cage Warriors 134 Main Event
One aspect of Jordan Vucenic’s fight game that jumps out on film is his ability to score the takedown, as seen in his Cage Warriors promotional debut in 2019 against Kommon Deh.
Throughout the fight, Jordan Vucenic scored takedowns, including a double-leg takedown set up by hip switches at the start of the first round, to try and pacify Kommon Deh’s boxing.
In round one, he further established control of the match by locking Deh up in the clinch to milk the clock, backing him up against the cage fence before breaking away, but he had to fend off submission attempts from Kommon Deh before scoring a second takedown late in the period.
Round two saw Vucenic drive Deh down to the ground for a third time after the two traded off with leg kicks but again had to fight off a Deh submission attempt, scoring a fourth takedown after executing a leg trip.
As he had done all fight to that point, Vucenic had to defend submission efforts from Deh and nearly locked in a standing guillotine choke late in the round, eventually dumping him again and going to the top mount to bank the second period.
Midway through the third round, Vucenic took Deh down again and found himself going to the top position again to accumulate ride time to melt away the clock.
If Vucenic is able to repeatedly take James Hendin down and keep him down, the odds of him walking away from the Cage Warriors 134 main event as having successfully defended his championship are pretty good.
Look For James Hendin To Counter Vucenic’s Ground Game With Submissions
If Jordan Vucenic is intent on taking James Hendin to the ground in the Cage Warriors 134 main event, it stands to reason that Hendin could counter by trying to submit him.
In the second round of his fight versus Paull McBain, Hendin was able to reverse a McBain takedown, take the back mount, apply pressure across his jaw and give himself enough torque to sink in a rear-naked choke and force McBain to tap out.
Any time Jordan Vucenic lands a takedown in this fight, watch carefully, as James Hendin could reverse position and steal away momentum by submitting him.
Given what’s been chronicled during the film study, it stands to reason that the Cage Warriors 134 main event could go to the mat in a hurry on Friday night, and the fighter to take his opponent down first has a good shot at coming away with the victory.
Prediction: Jordan Vucenic by Unanimous Decision.
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Featured image credit to Cage Warriors