There are only a few days remaining before 2022 belongs to the history books. Even though the UFC will be out of action until the night of Jan. 14, a longtime favorite of the promotion’s subscription-based streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, rings in the new year in grand style this Saturday.
Cage Warriors 148, the last show for the UK-based promotion and the last show in the MMA period for the year, features (barring any late postponements between now and Saturday) a full 12-fight card with a common thread: A team of fighters hailing from the United States of America will battle a team of fighters from Europe, with five such fights happening on the evening.
Live coverage of Cage Warriors 148 begins Saturday afternoon (US time) at 2 pm ET/ 11 am PT with the undercard. Main card action immediately follows at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm ET from Indigo at the O2 Arena in London.
Flyweight Championship At Stake to Begin Title Fight Trifecta
MMA’s grand finale for 2022 is capped by three championship fights to close the show, starting with a contest for the Cage Warriors Flyweight Championship. Incumbent champion Sam Creasey (16-4 MMA, 11-4 CWFC) returns to defend his strap against challenger Shajidul Hague (14-5 MMA, 6-2 CWFC) in an all-England affair.
As with all championship fights, this battle for supremacy at 125 lbs. will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round.
Past History and a Title Fight Delayed, Not Deferred
This isn’t the first time that Haque and Creasey have fought one another. Back on Nov. 12, 2016, the two were booked to meet one another during the first-ever Cage Warriors Unplugged card.
That night, in the featured preliminary bout, Haque defeated Creasey by unanimous decision ahead of the main card headlined by a then-21-year-old Paddy Pimblett (20-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) taking the Cage Warriors Featherweight Championship in the main event of the evening against Julian Erosa (28-10 MMA, 6-6 UFC) by unanimous decision.
Saturday’s fight is a makegood of a scrubbed fight from November. Initially, Creasey and Haque were slated to have met for the former’s title on Nov. 20 during Cage Warriors 147: Unplugged at BT Sport Studio in London.
However, before the card took place, Creasey had to withdraw from the event due to an illness. Two days before the fight was originally slated to occur, Cage Warriors rebooked the flyweight championship for the New Year’s Eve card.
41 days after the two were supposed to have met, the battle is back on this Saturday when fans get a rematch, they’ve waited over six years for.
Cage Warriors Flyweight Championship Fighter Comparison
Heading into this title bout on New Year’s Eve, Sam Creasey stands as the taller man at 5-foot-6, compared to the 5-foot-5 frame of Shajidul Hague. No reach advantage information was accessible at press time for the fight.
Ordinarily, at this point in the breakdown, we’d mention who is favored as per the oddsmakers. As of Betting odds for this card are not yet available, however, if you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Sam Creasey Looks To End 2022 With a Victory
Sam Creasey enters Cage Warriors 148 on Saturday having posted a 4-1 record over his last five appearances. Most recently, he scored a first-round submission (high-arm guillotine) against Stipe Brcic (11-3, 1-1 CWFC) on Aug. 12 during the Cage Warriors 142 main event.
A week and a half after defeating Brcic, Creasey was interviewed by SevereMMA.com’s Harry Powell, discussing a variety of topics, including how attitudes toward MMA have shifted over time.
“The sport has evolved since I started,” Creasey said. “Perceptions have changed somewhat. When I began, I was only ever thought of as a thug, a hooligan. This sport that we’re doing, which is cage fighting, was frowned upon by a lot of society. That has changed over time, and it’s more for everybody now, but there are still some stereotypes that kind of go with the sport that people expect of me. They expect, when they meet me, that I’m going to behave in a certain way, or that I’m going to perhaps act as the big man or have a chip on my shoulder.”
Heading into Saturday’s bout, Sam Creasey has a target on his back, something that comes with the territory of being a champion. Will he still hold the title after the clock strikes midnight and 2023 is rung in? Tune in and find out.
Shajidul Haque Returns to Cage Warriors For First Time in Two Years
In the other corner, Shajidul Haque has gone 4-1 himself over the last five fights as part of an ongoing four-fight winning streak. Last time out, he scored a split decision victory against Samir Faiddine (14-9 MMA, 1-2 CWFC) on Sept. 2 in Ares FC 8.
Saturday’s contest marks Haque’s return to the Cage Warriors banner, having most recently fought in the promotion on the night of Sept. 24, 2020, during the first night of the first Cage Warriors Trilogy after its hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Haque and his camp, revenge is on their mind this weekend. They’ve had to live more than six years with the reality of their fighter’s defeat that fateful November night.
With the rescheduled rematch looming on New Year’s Eve, will revenge be on the dinner menu?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, this battle for the belt looks to favor Sam Creasey, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay-Thai practitioner, and freestyle wrestler, compared to Shajidul Haque’s status as a knockout artist. Thus, it stands to reason that the first big punch of the fight may be the last big punch of the fight.
Sam Creasey Is Nasty With Submissions
One aspect of Sam Creasey’s fight game that’s shown itself on videotape is his ability to finish the fight by way of submission. Just ask Sam Brcic.
In the first round of a scheduled five, the fighters bided their time as they waited to fire the opening salvo. Creasey put Brcic down with just a single punch and then immediately pounced on the guillotine choke. It was only 71 seconds into the fight that Creasey forced Brcic to tap out and go to sleep.
All Sam Creasey is going to need is as little as one punch. As soon as he lands a punch, it’ll be his world.
Haque Can Punch His Way to Victory
In the other corner, Shajidul Haque has been known to score the knockout. His June fight against Elliot Hoye is a textbook example.
During the third round, Haque had already absorbed several leg kicks from Hoye, forcing him to wobble. If he were to win, Haque would have to use his hands.
Hoye very nearly ended the contest with a knee to Haque’s head midway through the period. Despite the barrage of shots, Hague was able to fight back, landing elbows and left-handed punches with greater frequency.
As the round reached its last minute, Haque connected with a right-handed punch and a shot to Hoye’s knee to knock him down, ending the fight with a barrage of ground-and-pound strikes. The referee intervened, with Haque retaining the Almighty Fighting Championships title at 125 lbs.
If Haque can set Creasey down with a vicious shot, it might be game, set, and match in a hurry.
Although this is a flyweight championship, the constant of heavyweight championship fights applies here: One shot can end this fight. Do yourself a favor and don’t blink.
Prediction: Sam Creasey by Unanimous Decision.
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