Not everybody’s eyes will be fixated on NRG Stadium and the Final Four this Saturday night. On a Saturday evening when the UFC is dark, you’ve still got MMA fights to watch. Even though it’ll be April Fools’ Day on Saturday, trust us, we’d never joke about something like this.
After a Friday night championship doubleheader from New Jersey-based promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championships in CFFC 117, the organization returns for the second consecutive evening on Saturday for CFFC 118 and two more championship confrontations. Live coverage begins at 6 pm ET/ 3 pm PT on the CFFC YouTube channel, followed by the main card at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on UFC Fight Pass.
It’s the second time in three years that CFFC will have held a show on April 1. The last time this happened, the promotion went viral, but it wasn’t for a stunning knockout or a spectacular submission.
Overtime Heroics Flashback: April 1, 2021:
Back on April 1, 2021, CFFC 94 was held at the same 2300 Arena in Philadelphia where CFFC 117 and CFFC 118 will be held this weekend. That night, an infamous incident took place. During the evening’s co-main event, a contracted catchweight at 180 lbs. took place between Khetag Pliev (5-2, 1 NC MMA, 0-1, 1 NC CFFC) and Devin Goodale (4-0, 1 NC MMA, 0-0, 1 NC CFFC).
In the opening round of the fight, Pliev lost a finger, an injury that went undiscovered until the one-minute rest period between the second and third rounds of the fight. Pliev’s cornermen threw in the towel and Devin Goodale originally won the fight by way of TKO.
About two weeks later, Khetag Pliev’s camp entered a plea to reverse the TKO, a successful appeal, resulting in the fight being ruled a no-contest. In the aftermath of the injury, CFFC received national media attention, including a mention on Jomboy Media’s The Weekly Dumb.
New Bantamweight Championship Confirmed in CFFC 118 Co-Main Event
Barring any late postponements between now and Saturday, CFFC 118 features eight total fights, including a battle for the Vacant CFFC Bantamweight Championship in the CFFC 118 co-main event. Vilson Ndregjoni (6-3 MMA, 3-2 CFFC) meets up with Ashiek Ajim (6-2 MMA, CFFC promotional debut), a veteran of both CES MMA and the 2022 season of Contender Series.
Like all CFFC championship fights, the CFFC 118 co-main event will be an advertised maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round. Should the judges’ scorecards produce a draw after 20 minutes of action, the fight advances to a fifth round as a tiebreaker.
The winner becomes the 10th different man at 135 lbs. to hold the championship. Now-former titleholder Da’Mon Blackshear (12-5-1 MMA, 3-0 CFFC) relinquished the strap last year when he joined the UFC’s active roster last summer.
CFFC 118 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the CFFC 118 co-main event on Saturday night, Ashiek Ajim stands as the taller man at 5-foot-8, compared to the 5-foot-7 frame of Vilson Ndregjoni. Ajim owns a 71-inch reach, with no such information available for Ndregjoni.
Currently, the oddsmakers have Vilson Ndregjoni installed as a -165 favorite, with Ashiek Ajim countering as a +135 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Vinson Ndregjoni With “Home Game” in CFFC 118 Co-Main Event Saturday
Vinson Ndregjoni enters the CFFC 118 co-main event Saturday night having posted a record of 3-2 in his last five fights. Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision victory against John Douma (7-4 MMA 0-1 CFFC) right before Christmas in CFFC 116 on Dec. 16.
Although Vinson Ndregjoni is a native Albanian, his training camp is based out of Garfield, NJ. Garfield is a roughly 99-mile drive (about one hour and 40 minutes) away from Philadelphia if you take Interstate 95-South.
Thus, it stands to reason that the locals from New Jersey will travel and travel well to 2300 Arena for Saturday’s CFFC 118. Another plot to consider is the fact that Vinson Ndregjoni already possesses championship experience, having won the Triton Fights Amateur Featherweight Championship in late 2018 and the professional championship at 145 lbs. in March of 2021.
He has two championships to his credit as of today, but can Vinson Ndregjoni add a third belt to his mantle? Watch the CFFC 118 co-main event on Saturday night and find out.
Ashiek Ajim Looks to Rebound on Saturday in CFFC 118 Co-Main Event
In the other corner, Ashiek Ajim has gone 3-2 himself over the last five bouts, but he hit a detour on his road to major MMA last fall. On Sept. 28, Ajim fought on Dana White’s Contender Series, losing to Mateus Mendonca (first-round knockout due to a right cross and a hammer fist), seeing a three-fight winning streak snapped.
Before that defeat, each fight in that winning streak came via first-round stoppage. All three of those victories were recorded in under one minute, with the longest fight time of the three wins coming at 44 seconds in CES 69 last June, a fight that saw him win that promotion’s bantamweight championship.
Ajim’s training camp is based out of New York City, so he’ll be playing the role of the heel in Philadelphia on Saturday night. Will Ashiek Ajim return to his winning ways and how long will the fight last? We’ll know those answers soon enough.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the CFFC 118 co-main event seems to favor Vinson Ndregjoni, a member of the Albanian National Wrestling Team, compared to Ashiek Ajim, a thug-jitsu (jiu-jitsu) fighter. Thus, it looks to be a fight primarily contested on the CFFC cage mat this Saturday night.
Vilson Ndregjoni is Vicious With Submissions
Vilson Ndregjoni’s ground game is something that cannot be ignored heading into the CFFC 118 co-main event. During his amateur MMA career, he fought Zhasullan Khussainov in Triton Fights and this one ended quickly.
In the first round of a scheduled three, he landed a leg kick against Khussainov and took him down a few seconds later. Even though Khussainov worked his way back to the clinch, Ndregjoni was too tough for him to handle.
Ndregjoni landed his second takedown and went to work on a guillotine choke, but Khussainov fought it off. Again, Ndregjoni’s toughness told the story as he softened Khussainov up with ground-and-pound shots. The third time was the charm with Ndregjoni finally locking in a guillotine choke, leaving Khussainov no other option but to tap out.
If Vilson Ndregjoni can drive Ashiek Ajim to the mat, he’ll walk out of 2300 Arena and return to New Jersey with the belt in his car. His opponent is also great on the ground.
Don’t Count Ashiek Ajim Out
In the other corner, you can’t sleep on Ashiek Ajim’s submission prowess. Last June, Azjavkhlan Baatar, and Ajim fought in CES 69’s main event and it was a short night at the office. Right from the opening bell, he put Baatar in the clinch, landing a takedown.
It was all over but the shouting from there, as he quickly advanced on a guillotine choke, sinking it in at just 44 seconds into the first round. If Ajim can come out like a house on fire, the title will be his after the CFFC 118 co-main event.
At the core, we’ve got a brilliant fight in the CFFC 118 co-main event. Neither of these men is neophytes when it comes to championship bouts. Tune in and enjoy.
Prediction: Vilson Ndregjoni by Unanimous Decision.
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