This Saturday offers another day-night doubleheader in MMA, beginning in Dublin as UK-based Cage Warriors returns for the second time this month for Cage Warriors 153. 3Arena plays host to the first of two straight Saturdays of fights.
Live coverage of Cage Warriors 153 begins with the undercard at 12:45 pm ET/ 9:45 am PT, followed up with the main card at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT. As always, Cage Warriors 153 will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
A week from Saturday, Cage Warriors heads to Rome for the second time. Cage Warriors 154 is set for next weekend when the promotion"s vacant bantamweight championship is at stake between Dylan Hazan (9-0 MMA, 4-0 CWFC) and Caolan Loughran (7-0 MMA, 3-0 CWFC) in the main event.
Championship Unification Showdown Due Up in Cage Warriors 153 Main Event
Getting back to this week"s card, barring any postponed fights between now and Saturday, the final version of Cage Warriors 153 features 14 contests. Highlighting the night"s itinerary is a championship unification battle in the Cage Warriors 153 main event.
Incumbent permanent champion Rhys McKee (12-4-1 MMA, 5-0 CWFC) will attempt to defend the strap this weekend when he takes on interim champion Jim Wallhead (33-11 MMA, 2-0 CWFC), a veteran of both the UFC and Bellator MMA in the Cage Warriors 153 main event. If Jim Wallhead wins on Saturday, he would become the 15th different man to hold the permanent title.
As with all championship fights in most MMA promotions, the Cage Warriors 153 main event will be an advertised five rounds at five minutes per round to close out the show. Immediately following Cage Warriors 153, UFC Vegas 72 takes place at the Apex, where No. 8 contender Yadong Song (19-7-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC fights No. 10 contender Ricky Simon (20-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in a bantamweight headliner.
Cage Warriors 153 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the Cage Warriors 153 main event on Saturday, Rhys McKee stands as the taller competitor at 6-foot-2, compared to the 5-foot-10 frame of Jim Wallhead. In addition, McKee owns a four-inch reach advantage (78 inches to 74 inches) over Wallhead.
As it stands currently, the oddsmakers have Rhys McKee installed as a -350 favorite, with Jim Wallhead countering as a +275 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Rhys McKee Comes in Off of 10-Month Layoff for Cage Warriors 153 Main Event
Rhys McKee enters the Cage Warriors 153 main event on Saturday having posted a record 3-2 in his last five fights. Since returning from the UFC"s active roster in October of 2021, he"s on a two-fight winning streak.
Last time out, he scored a third-round knockout (punches) of Justin Burlinson (8-2 MMA, 2-1 CWFC) during the Cage Warriors 140 main event on June 26, 2022. After his win, he spoke to Edith LaBelle about possibly getting back in the UFC.
“Listen, I had a real roundabout road with the UFC," McKee began. “I"ve done everything I needed to do. I stepped in when I needed to, I went and developed. I came back when I needed to. I"ve gotten two wins, I got the strap. UFC, bygones be bygones, your boy"s ready to come back."
He"s been away from the cage for 10 months, so how will he do after a layoff and a full training camp? Tune into the Cage Warriors 153 main event and find out.
Jim Wallhead Looking to Ride Off Into the Sunset With Championship After Cage Warriors 153 Main Event
In the other corner, Jim Wallhead has gone 4-1 in his last five fights and is currently on a four-bout winning streak. Back on Nov. 12, 2022, he scored a first-round knockout (right hook) of Mateusz Figlak (7-2 MMA, 4-2 CWFC) in the Cage Warriors 146 co-main event.
Recently, Wallhead and McKee appeared as guests on Energized!, where the former strongly suggested that Saturday"s main event could serve as his retirement fight.
“I"m just excited to come over," Wallhead began. “I"ve always wanted to fight in Dublin, fight in Ireland, one off the bucket list. I"m looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to the crowd, waiting for the boos, and [it"s] just another day in the office, isn"t it? Rhys is a gameday fighter. I know he"ll be there and it"s going to be a tough test. As always, [I"m] relishing the challenge. Can"t wait, and then I can stop doing this (expletive deleted), get fat, and just coach."
If this does happen to be Jim Wallhead"s final appearance in an MMA cage, it would be a fitting ending to this particular book of his professional life if he wins the championship on Saturday. Will he receive the fairy tale ending he wants, however?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Cage Warriors 153 main event looks to favor Jim Wallhead, a black belt in Judo, compared to Rhys McKee"s background as a balanced MMA fighter.
Rhys McKee Can Write a Quick Finish to the Story
Even though the fight between Rhys McKee and Justin Burlinson saw both men absorb tremendous facial damage throughout the contest, the former still illustrated that he has the one-punch power to end the bout. During the third round of a possible five, the fighters exchanged punches to start, but McKee landed a right-handed uppercut to stun Burlinson, ending the contest with a left-handed punch down the middle.
Don"t blink when Rhys McKee loads up to throw a punch. If you do, you might miss the knockout in the Cage Warriors 153 main event.
Jim Wallhead Can Also End the Show Quickly
On the other corner, never discount Jim Wallhead"s ability to end the fight in a hurry. His last fight against Mateusz Figlak was a textbook example of that.
Wallhead absorbed a Figlak uppercut a few seconds into the bout, along with a two-punch combo. However, he stormed back with a crisp shot to the head to sit Figlak down, wrapping up the interim championship with some ground and pound.
If Jim Wallhead"s punches are on-target on Saturday, his career will end with a permanent championship in the main event.
This looks to be a whopper of a fight on Saturday afternoon. Make your fridge run and get your sandwich made before the Cage Warriors 153 main event begins, or else you"ll be hitting the rewind function on Fight Pass after missing everything.
Prediction: Jim Wallhead by Unanimous Decision.
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