Cage Warriors 47 Preview: It’s about more than the ‘W’
The biggest Mixed Martial Arts card in Ireland for three years hits the Helix in Dublin tomorrow evening and here’s our in-depth look at some of the fights on the card.
By Fergus Ryan
Photo Credits: Dolly Clew
We’ve already taken a close look at the ladies 125lbs fight, so now it’s time to turn our attention to the rest of the card.
For the main card fighters there is a lot at stake.
In addition to the heavyweight title being on the line, some of the Irish fighters have more than just the ‘W’ in their fight records up for grabs.
Since taking over the reins in 2010 Graham Boylan, with match-maker Ian Dean, have steered Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) to MMA dominance in Europe and the Middle East.
Since their first visit to Ireland in November 2010 the promotion has crossed the borders of seven different countries. This weekend represents their third visit to Ireland and Irish fans can probably expect more events in the future given that CWFC have appointed Andy Ryan as Head of Operations in Ireland and Boylan is proud native of Cork.
The card is headlined by a heavyweight title clash between Mike Hayes and DJ Linderman. Both are veterans of the US regional scene and it’s just over two years since Linderman beat Hayes in a three round decision. Hayes might be the slight favourite given he’s the title holder, but we can probably expect fireworks from these two behemoths.
With all due respect to the main eventers, Irish eyes will be more focused on the fights earlier in the card. Every other bout on the night features a fighter from the Ireland. As discussed, Aisling Daly will have a crack at adding to her NAAFS World Title if victorious against Rosi Sexton.
Conor McGregor has the chance to become Ireland’s second MMA world champion when he takes on David Hill for the featherweight strap. The other two Irish fighters on the main card have a chance to earn more than just the win.
“I want my own big, fat, shiny belt”
Conor McGregor is fighting for gold
If you’ve been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Conor McGregor in action you’ll know that producing fireworks seem to be in the terms and conditions of him stepping in the cage.
Looking through his 10-2 record, eight victories have come inside the first round and five of those have taken less than two minutes. Incredibly he might enter the cage Saturday with even more energy than usual. “Training is going great, I’ve taken everything up a notch; more miles, more rounds – this is the fittest I’ve ever felt. I’m more than ready for five rounds; I’m ready for fifty-five rounds!”
McGregor goes on to explain “I’ve really paid attention to diet and nutrition for this camp and it’s really paid off, I’ve bags of energy. In other fight camps you might get lethargic at some point, but not this one. I haven’t taken a day off since I started training properly for this fight. I’m ready! I know I can go five rounds! I’m hopin’ it goes five because I want to see if he (David Hill) can go five with me.”
McGregor has been vocal after his previous CWFC fights, almost begging for a title fight. “I don’t have anything to show from my career so far except for a couple of numbers. I’ve nothing I can pick up and say ‘there, that’s what I won’. I’m in the SBGi gym now and I’m looking at the wall with nine belts on it. I want my own big, fat, shiny belt up there beside my picture.”
Headin’ for the ‘big show’
Cathal Prendred has marked himself out as Ireland’s Number One Welterweight
McGregor’s stable mate at SBGi, Cathal Pendred is in a similar state of mind.
While he has a belt already from leading Irish promotion, Cage Contender, Pendred now feels he has bigger fish to fry.
Through the course of a ten minute conversation Pendred kept referring to the ‘big show’. Without naming the UFC until later in the conversation it was very obvious where his career focus lies. “Being number one in Ireland was a goal, but now it doesn’t really mean anything to me. I want to fight international fighters to work my way up the European rankings and from there hopefully get stateside and have a crack at the big show.”
David Bielkheden is the perfect opponent to help he achieve this goal. A veteran of UFC and Pride and having fought all over the world, BJJ black belt Bielkheden offers Pendred the chance at a genuine scalp. Pendred is happy with his preparation – “I’ll be coming into this fight well prepared, I’m part of a great team at SBGi. I know he’s a good grappler, but I won’t be phased by that. I’m always trying to round out my game. There’s six (BJJ) brown belts and John Kavanagh (black belt) who I roll with nearly every day. I’m no stranger to a war on the floor if that’s where the fight goes.”
Top Rank for Team Ryano Fighter
Neil Seery is focused ahead of Saturday
The opening bout of the main card features Team Ryano’s, Neil Seery taking on Mark Platts from the UK.
Seery is one of Ireland’s most experienced MMA fighters, which is reflected in his high positioning in many flyweight rankings. In the YourMMA.tv flyweight rankings Seery is placed 2nd, while the German site groundandpound.de have Seery placed 3rd in their European flyweight top 10. Though his previous outing was a loss, it came against Europe’s number 1 ranked flyweight, Artemij Sitenkov.
Seery has been here before in his career though and bounced back with winning streaks and titles. With the UFC recently adding a flyweight division, the lightest weight class has grown in importance for fighters and promoters in this bracket of the scales.
More than just the ‘W’ at stake
While one fight doesn’t make or break a career a win at CWFC on Saturday could take each of the above fighters closer to replicating the career path of Jake Hecht.
At UFC 140 Hecht became the first fighter based in Ireland since Tom Egan (UFC 93) to fight in the UFC. Hecht did so off the back of a 10-2 record and going 2-1 in CWFC. Hecht has gone 1-1 in the UFC and is scheduled to fight Sean Pierson at UFC on FX 3 on June 8th.
A win on Saturday does not come with a golden ticket to the UFC but as Hecht has proved, fighting for CWFC means there is more than just the ‘W’ at stake – there’s a crack at the ‘big show’.
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 47 takes place in the The Mahony Hall, The Helix on Saturday 2nd, June. Doors open at 5.30pm. Tickets can be purchased from The Helix from €30.
If you can’t make the event itself, fights will be streamed by the websites named below.
MAIN CARD (MMAjunkie.com)
- Mike Hayes vs. D.J. Linderman (for heavyweight title)
- Dave Hill vs. Conor McGregor, SBGi (for vacant featherweight title)
- Aisling Daly, SBGi vs. Rosi Sexton
- David Bielkheden vs. Cathal Pendred, SBGi
- Mark Platts vs. Neil Seery
PRELIMINARY CARD (Cage Warriors on Facebook)
- Jack Mason vs. Tommy Quinn
- Conor Cooke vs. Brett Sizeland
- Yuri Malko vs. Paul Redmond, Team Ryano