Even though this weekend marks a rare bye week for MMA’s top promotion, the UFC, by no means is this a weekend where the action stops completely. No UFC this weekend? No problem! You’ve still got some fights to watch this week.
On Friday afternoon, a light weekend in MMA kicks off as UK-based promotion Cage Warriors leaves England to make its first-ever trip to Italy, two weeks to the day after the Cage Warriors 143 main event took place in San Diego. Rome’s Fiera Roma plays host to Cage Warriors 144 and the Cage Warriors 144 main event.
As with all Cage Warriors events, Cage Warriors 144 will be streamed live throughout the world on the UFC’s subscription-based streaming platform, UFC Fight Pass, beginning at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT with the undercard. Main card action follows at 3 pm ET/ noon PT.
Bantamweight Championship at Stake on Friday in Cage Warriors 144 Main Event
All told, Cage Warriors 144 features eight fights, including a battle for the Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship in the Cage Warriors 144 main event. Incumbent titleholder Dominique Wooding (9-4 MMA, 3-0 CWFC), a veteran of Bellator MMA from England, heads into hostile territory when he battles challenger Michele Martignoni from Italy, (7-1, 2 NC MMA, 2-1, 1 NC CWFC), himself a veteran of Bellator.
The Cage Warriors 144 main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
Cage Warriors 144 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the Cage Warriors 144 main event this Friday, both champion and challenger stand at 5-foot-9. Wooding owns a 72 1/2-inch reach, with no such information accessible online for this championship fight. As far as the betting odds are concerned for the Cage Warriors 144 main event, oddsmakers have Dominique Wooding installed as a -170 favorite on Friday, with Michele Martignoni as a +145 underdog.
Dominique Wooding Plays the Heel as -175 Betting Favorite
Dominique Wooding enters the Cage Warriors 144 main event this weekend having gone 3-2 in his last five MMA appearances and is currently on a three-fight winning streak. All of his wins in this ongoing streak have come under the Cage Warriors promotional banner.
I’ve been told he said he saw fear in my eyes. LOL.
DECAPITATION INCOMING TOMORROW NIGHT 😤✊🏿👑#Thats4 #TheItalianJob pic.twitter.com/Gkbr6zlleC
— Dominique Wooding (@RealDWooding) October 6, 2022
Last time out, he stopped Carlos Abreu (10-4 MMA, 0-1 CWFC) (first-round knockout due to an overhand right punch followed by a flying knee) back on Dec. 11 in Cage Warriors 132’s main event. Total time of the knockout: 38 seconds.
Even more impressive than the fact that he was able to dispose of Carlos Abreu in less than one minute of a possible 25 is the fact that he went from an undercard fighter to champion in the span of just two fights in Cage Warriors. This pales in comparison to the fact that he’ll be playing the role of villain this week.
He’s also trying to return to major MMA and has gained interest from the UFC in recent months. Late last year, after his knockout victory against Abreu to defend the championship, Wooding talked to Lucas Grandshire about his possible move up to the big show.
“The UFC know about me, they know me,” Wooding began. “They really like me, but what I heard from my manager is that Sean Shelby’s saying ‘The UFC’s bantamweight roster is full,’ but he really likes me. So, it’s good and bad. Hearing from others, what Sean Shelby’s like, he could say one thing one day, and after, he’ll change up and say another.”
While the champion’s UFC aspirations appear cloudy at this particular moment, a victory Friday in the Cage Warriors 144 main event will put him on the promotion’s radar even further. Can he send the crowd home unhappy and will he get the call to join the UFC after the win?
Michele Martignoni Looks to Bring Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship to Italy After Cage Warriors 144 Main Event
In the other corner, Michele Martignoni has gone 4-1 with one no-contest in his last five MMA appearances. Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision victory over Scott Malone (9-6 MMA, 4-5 CWFC) on June 25 during the featured prelim of Cage Warriors 140.
Upon his victory, Martignoni was interviewed by Cage Warriors’ Edith LaBelle, where he discussed his level of preparedness going into fights.
“I’m a professional, I live in the gym,” Martignoni said. “I’m always ready. With a proper training camp, it could be a little bit better, also the strategy. I stay in the gym trying to push [myself] over the limit, so that’s why I’m always ready.”
The Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship will come to Italy ahead of the Cage Warriors 144 main event on Friday. A big question is whether or not the belt stays in the country after the fight. Tune in and find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
The Cage Warriors 144 main event looks to favor Michele Martignoni, a submission specialist, compared to Dominique Wooding’s background as a jiu-jitsu fighter. Therefore, it stands to reason that we could be looking at a ground battle on Friday.
Dominique Wooding Can Bring a Quick End to the Fight
If there’s one aspect of Dominique Wooding’s fight game that shows up on tape, it’s his ability to end the fight with a nasty knockout. His most recent bout versus Abreu is a textbook example of this fact.
Wooding didn’t need to take much time to end this fight, beginning with a flurry of leg kicks. He slowed things down and bided his time to wait for the perfect shot, something that came quickly.
Just seconds after the fight started, it violently ended as Wooding landed a vicious right-handed punch that backed Abreu up to the cage fence. From there, he launched into a flying knee to knock Abreu out cold in under 40 seconds.
All Dominique Wooding needs to do in order to win the Cage Warriors 144 main event on Friday is to land just one shot. If Wooding gets an opening to land a single blow, it’s a wrap.
Michele Martignoni Can End a Fight Quicker
If Dominique Wooding can score a fast stoppage in a fight, Michele Martignoni can get the job done even faster. On July 14, 2018, Martignoni proved just that in his fight against Simone D’Anna.
Just after the bell to begin round one of a scheduled three stopped ringing, Michele Martignoni was able to sprint into action as quickly as lightning by landing a kick to the head. Simone D’Anna was out before he knew what hit him.
That knockout tied the Bellator MMA record for the quickest knockout in its then-eight year history, a record which has yet to be broken as of October of 2022. As a point of reference, the fastest knockout all-time across all of MMA is tied at three seconds by multiple promotions.
Much like Dominique Wooding, Michele Martignoni just might be able to end the Cage Warriors 144 main event with one blow. His kicking game is bold proof of that.
📅 On this day in 2021, Dom Wooding became Cage Warriors bantamweight champion at #CW127 🏆
Who’s backing ‘Black Panther’ to defend his belt for a second time at #CW144? 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/7hAToQOTyz
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) September 30, 2022
With Cage Warriors being the only MMA show taking place on Friday, fans of the sport have no reason to miss the Cage Warriors 144 main event. Try to sneak out of work early if you can.
Prediction: Dominique Wooding by First-Round KO.