The PFL Challenger Series won’t be the only MMA action coming your way on Friday night. More MMA action will be had when UK-based Cage Warriors kicks off its 2023 schedule of events. Cage Warriors 149 (main card 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT, UFC Fight Pass) marks a return visit by the promotion to its American home base of San Diego. When last you saw Cage Warriors on your screens, it was New Year’s Eve.
That night, the main event was to have featured Christian Duncan (7-0 MMA, 7-0 CWFC) taking on Jesse Taylor (33-16 MMA, 2-1 CWFC) for the former’s middleweight championship. The day of the card, however, the pairing was scrapped due to Taylor’s involvement in a hit-and-run accident. Duncan announced on the telecast of Cage Warriors 148’s main card that he’d be vacating the title to join the UFC.
Packed 2023 Schedule For Cage Warriors Starts This Weekend
All told, Cage Warriors will hold 16 live events between now and the end of this year, including four trips to San Diego, with 2023’s itinerary being bookended by stops in California. Subsequently, Cage Warriors will travel to Rome on May 6 and will make its first-ever visit to France this year. No day and date has been confirmed for the France card as of yet.
It all begins Friday with Cage Warriors 149 and the Cage Warriors 149 main event from a sold-out Sycuan Casino. Barring any further alterations to the card, the promotion will put on six fights, including a battle of MMA veterans in the headliner.
Former UFC Flyweight Championship contender Wilson Reis (26-12 MMA, 3-0 CWFC) will take on Johnny Campbell (22-14, 1 NC MMA, CWFC promotional debut.) No title is at stake here in this bantamweight clash, so the Cage Warriors 149 main event will be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close out the show.
Cage Warriors 149 Main Event Fighter Breakdown and Betting Odds
Heading into the Cage Warriors 149 main event on Friday evening, Johnny Campbell is the taller competitor at 5-foot-6, compared to the 5-foot-4 frame of Wilson Reis. In addition, Campbell owns a one-inch reach advantage (66 inches to 65 inches) over Reis.
As of Wednesday evening, the oddsmakers have Wilson Reis listed as a -250 favorite, with Johnny Campbell installed as a +180 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.
Wilson Reis Looks to Remain Unbeaten In Cage Warriors on Friday
Wilson Reis enters the Cage Warriors 149 main event on Friday night having gone 3-2 in his last five fights. Currently, he’s on a two-fight winning streak.
Last time out, he scored a unanimous decision victory after three rounds against Tuomas Gronvall (10-5-1 MMA, 0-1 CWFC) on New Year’s Eve in London. It was his third consecutive win under the Cage Warriors banner.
Reis was already supposed to have fought Campbell in Cage Warriors. The two men were slated to meet one another on Aug. 1, 2021 when the promotion made its first-ever trip to San Diego at Humphrey’s By the Bay.
However, prior to the card taking place, Wilson Reis was forced to withdraw from the show due to an injury. Now, more than a year and a half removed from the canceled confrontation, the two ships finally meet.
Reis has fought in the UFC and Bellator MMA in the past, competing in the latter’s previous seasonal format, While he’s gone undefeated thus far under the Cage Warriors banner, will it stay as such?
Johnny Campbell Coming in After 11-Month Layoff
In the other corner, Johnny Campbell has posted a record of 3-2 over his last five bouts. Much like Wilson Reis, Johnny Campbell has also spent time under the Bellator MMA promotional banner.
In May of 2021, Campbell submitted Henry Corrales (rear-naked choke) during Bellator 258. Most recently, he scored a first-round TKO due to a doctor’s stoppage after his opponent Aaron Lacey (7-4 MMA) was rendered unable to continue in the fight after sustaining a cut.
The fight in question happened last April 2. By the time the Cage Warriors 149 main event begins on Friday night, Campbell will have been away from the MMA cage for 11 months and one day.
Thus, the obvious question of ring rust has reared its ugly head once again here. How will he fare after having been away for close to a full year? Tune in and find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Cage Warriors 149 main event looks to favor Wilson Reis, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Johnny Campbell’s status as a brown belt in BJJ. Campbell is also a Drunken Thai fighter and catch wrestler. Thus, we could be looking at a grappling match on Friday.
The first takedown may be the only takedown. Do yourself a favor and not blink.
Wilson Reis: Submission Specialist
Of Wilson Reis’ 26 career wins, 11 have come by submission, including a victory in 2020 against Carlos Briseno. During the second round, Reis and Briseno found themselves grappling in the clinch, but the former was the aggressor and took the latter down.
From there, Reis asserted his dominance from the top mount. Briseno had no chance to even try to create offense for himself. Wilson Reis grappled with Briseno effectively and softened him up with some ground and pound shots.
It was only a matter of time before it happened, but Reis completed the formality by locking in the arm-triangle choke with 23 seconds remaining in the round. If Reis is able to dump Campbell, he will be able to dictate the pace of the Cage Warriors 149 main event and work toward the submission.
Johnny Campbell is a Submission Artist Himself
In the other corner, do not discount Johnny Campbell’s submission prowess. If you do, you could be sorely mistaken. Seth Basler found this out the hard way in April of 2018.
Although this was supposed to have been a three-round fight, Campbell made short work of Basler. Right after the command to fight, Basler scored with a right-handed punch and a knee to the clinch, but Campbell returned fire by trying to complete the throw.
Although Basler took Campbell down with a slam, the latter scrambled to attempt a triangle choke, yet Basler was able to fight it off. His efforts were ill-fated, however. Campbell’s submission defense was on-point throughout the fight.
Smelling blood in the water, Campbell landed some hammerfists to try and lock in a guillotine, yet Basler was able to free himself. Campbell eventually took top mount and applied enough torque to secure the triangle choke.
If Campbell finds himself on the receiving end of Reis’ grappling, look for him to reverse position. Once he flips the script, it may give him the opening he needs to win the Cage Warriors 149 main event.
Even though this isn’t a title bout, the Cage Warriors 149 main event looks to be an entertaining affair. Pay the pizza man before this one starts.
Prediction: Wilson Reis by Unanimous Decision.
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