This Saturday, UK-based MMA promotion Cage Warriors returns to Rome for Cage Warriors 154. Fiera Roma serves as the setting for the card.
Live coverage of Cage Warriors 154 begins with the undercard on the UFC‘s subscription-based streaming platform, UFC Fight Pass, at 11:30 am ET/ 8:30 am PT, followed at 3 pm ET/ noon PT with the main card. All told Saturday"s event will feature a packed 14-fight slate.
Right before UFC 288 and a battle for its bantamweight championship, Cage Warriors has a bantamweight title fight serving as the focus of the Cage Warriors 154 main event. Consider it an opening act to the headliner in New Jersey.
Vacant Bantamweight Championship on the Line in Cage Warriors 154 Main Event
Undefeated Dylan Hazan (9-0 MMA, 4-0 CWFC) takes on Caolan Loughran (8-0 MMA, 3-0 CWFC) in the main event. As with all championship bouts in most promotions, this one is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
All Roads lead to Rome for Dylan Hazan 🇮🇹 🏆
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) May 3, 2023
Its winner will become the ninth different competitor to hold the 135-lb. strap in promotion history. Now-former bantamweight champion Michele Martignoni (8-1, 2 NC MMA, 3-1, 1 NC CWFC) gave up the belt when he moved down to flyweight back in March.
Cage Warriors 154 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the Cage Warriors 154 main event on Saturday, Dylan Hazan stands as the taller fighter at 5-foot-7, compared to the 5-foot-6 frame of Caolan Loughran. Hazan owns a 66.9-inch reach, with no such information available for Loughran at press time.
As of Thursday afternoon, the oddsmakers currently have Caolan Loughran installed as a -300 favorite on the money line, with Dylan Hazan countering as a +220 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight this weekend, please wager responsibly.
After 9 1/2 Months, Dylan Hazan Gets Title Shot
Dylan Hazan enters the Cage Warriors 154 main event having yet to lose thus far in his professional MMA career. Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout (ground and pound shots) versus Jefferson de Filippis (2-2 MMA, 0-1 CWFC) at a contracted catchweight of 140 lbs. during Cage Warriors 144 on Oct. 7.
Saturday"s headliner will not be the first time that the Hazan camp will ready their fighter for a championship bout. Last summer, Dylan Hazan was supposed to have fought for the Cage Warriors Flyweight Championship in Cage Warriors 141.
However, this fight was withdrawn at the weigh-ins the day before the show amid Hazan exceeding the 125-lb. flyweight title maximum by 2 1/2 lbs. Sam Creasey, Hazan"s adversary that night, decided against fighting.
So, after a wait of more than nine months between title shots, Dylan Hazan finally gets his bid at the belt this weekend, and he"ll be doing so in a “home game," with his camp based in Italy. Can he win the strap? Tune in and find out.
Caolan Loughran Seeks to Join UFC After Cage Warriors 154 Main Event
In the other corner, Caolan Loughran is also undefeated so far in his professional career. Dating back to amateur competitions, he"s won nine fights in succession.
Most recently, he stopped Luke Shanks (10-4 MMA, 6-3 CWFC) by second-round knockout (ground and pound) in Cage Warriors 145 on Nov. 4. All three of his wins under the Cage Warriors banner have come by knockout.
More importantly, Loughran will be trying to accomplish the feats of his fellow countrymen Last week, he was interviewed on the AttackMMA YouTube channel, and Loughran predicts big doings for MMA in Ireland.
“I think we"re just on the cusp of a kind of a blowup, a kind of a whole new scene," Loughran said. “Paul Hughes is already a Cage Warriors champion, probably waiting [to join the UFC]. Ian Garry‘s already in the UFC. I feel that if I get the win next weekend, I feel [that] I"m probably going to sign with the UFC."
Can Loughran follow in the footsteps of some of his fellow competitors from Ireland? Only time will tell.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Cage Warriors 154 main event looks to favor Dylan Hazan, a wrestler, compared to Caolan Loughran"s kickboxing background.
Watch for Hazan to Throw Punches in Bunches
Dylan Hazan has been known to be absolutely vicious when throwing punches. His October catchweight versus de Filippis is a textbook example of this.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Hazan was wound a little too tight to start, throwing erratic punches to burn off some energy at the beginning. About a minute or so in, he landed a crisp right-handed shot to put de Filippis against the cage fence and into a clinch.
Hazan took de Filippis down and almost instantly went to work with ground and pound shots from half-guard. de Filippis had no answer for Hazan"s attacks, leaving Marc Godard no other option but to call off the fight.
As long as Dylan Hazan can dump Caolan Loughran, he"ll be in good shape to become the new champion after the Cage Warriors 154 main event.
Loughran is No Slouch, Either
In the other corner, Caolan Loughran is also adept at punching his way to victory. Just ask Luke Shanks. During the second round of their fight last fall, Loughran nearly went out from a guillotine attempt by Shanks.
Subsequently, he had to fight off a body-triangle submission before taking top mount. At that point, Loughran unloaded with heavy ground and pound shots, forcing the referee to end the fight.
If Loughran can reverse position and land ground strikes regularly, he"s going to be your winner on Saturday night.
Even though this fight will occur in the afternoon inside the United States, the Cage Warriors 154 main event is a primetime contest. Make that sandwich before the fight starts.
You might not have a chance to get it done during the fight.
Prediction: Dylan Hazan by Unanimous Decision.