On June 2, Nathaniel Wood became London’s first MMA athlete to capture a Cage Warriors world championship title. Now, “The Prospect” has the opportunity to become the first Londoner to successfully defend that crown when he puts his bantamweight gold on the line against Josh Reed at Cage Warriors 86.
Cage Warriors return to the Indigo at the O2 on Saturday, September 16, marking the weekend’s second major UK MMA event.
It was a pivotal moment in the career of Wood at Cage Warriors 84 when he rose to the occasion to finish Swiss challenger Marko Kovacevic and claim the CW world championship in front of an electric hometown crowd.
Under the guidance of retired UK legend Brad Pickett, it has been a steady road to the top of the UK for Wood, but a journey which was meritorious in its climax.
However, in his first defence, Wood comes up against undefeated Welshman Reed, who is in line for his eighth consecutive win should he capture the 135-pound championship in London.
All but one of Reed’s seven wins have come inside the distance, specifically boasting four by submission.
En-route to his shot at the title, “Crazy Horse” notched three wins inside Cage Warriors, culminating with a senseless first round knockout of Gavin Kelly in Newport, Wales which convincingly put him in the No.1 contender spot.
The Tillery Combat man looks to become the first Welshman to hold the CW strap since Brett Johns and teammate Jack Marshman; who are both now in the UFC, but with Wood’s aspirations to join them in sight, it could be one milestone too many for the developing Reed.
Are Cage Warriors putting stock back into the flyweight division with Paul Marin vs. Sam Creasey?
In the long lineage of Cage Warriors, there has only ever been one flyweight champion, with that honour bestowing the now retired UFC veteran Neil Seery. More than four years have passed since the Irishman vacated the title in search of pastures new, and still, the promotion has yet to crown a new champion.
There has been no indication of CW bringing back the ironically named ‘big gold belt’ to the uninhabited 125-pound division, but with top 10 flyweights Paul Marin and Sam Creasey knocking about, it could be an indication of the promotion’s future motives.
After several high profile fights have fallen off the card, the clash between Marin and Creasey should undoubtedly earn its billing under the main event. Romanian athlete Marin returns to Cage Warriors for the first time since knocking out Scott Pooley in 2014. Following that, Marin has spent his time in Spain, England and Russia, amassing a credible 3-2 record.
As for Creasey, his potential is undeniable — as we saw in his epic submission over Iuri Bejenari earlier this year — but numerous high profile weight problems and movement between flyweight and bantamweight have stunted his rise. His sole loss came to North East’s Shaj Haque, and should he beat Marin it would be a welcomed possibility for the two flyweight foes to face off for the vacant championship.
The old guard battles the new at Cage Warriors 86, as UK veteran Sean Carter takes on Joe McColgan
A number of years ago, there was great chatter about the unlimited potential of Colchester’s Sean Carter as he stormed to prominence in the UK under the UCMMA and Cage Warriors banners.
Besides a lone defeat to Steven Ray — who would go on to gain a fair amount of success in the UFC – Carter’s promise shone through as he defeated the likes of Adam Boussif, Mario Saeed and Tim Wilde.
Carter would lose a slight bit of momentum going into the summer of 2015, dropping a decision to Anton Kuivanen in Finland. The Brit would then make an unsuccessful attempt at The Ultimate Fighter, losing in the first round of the series which featured Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber as coaches.
Plagued by his own success perhaps, the BKK Fighters member has since gone 2-3, a stark contrast to the early promise he had shown.
Similar to Carter, you could also argue that Cage Warriors 86 opponent Joe McColgan is also a victim of his early success.
McColgan has had a mixed back of tricks since knocking off SBG Ireland prospect Peter Queally last year. A win over such a well known Irish name looked to propel him to the top of Cage Warriors lightweight division, but a lengthy layoff and a split decision to Arnold Quero at the start of the year put a halt to that.
McColgan battled back four months later to submit Richard Williams in the final second of the third round, but the evasiveness of the Welshman made it a much tougher test than anticipated.
In order to remind the audience why he garnered such interest after the Queally win, McColgan must return to his aggressive form in order to knock gatekeeper Carter out of the way.
Cage Warriors 86 Card
Nathaniel Wood vs Josh Reed (bantamweight title)
Sam Creasey vs Paul Marin (flyweight bout)
Sean Carter vs Joe McColgan (lightweight bout)
Junior Karanta vs Adel Ghaddou (heavyweight bout)
Fabien Gallinaro vs Jean N’Doye (150lbs catchweight bout)
Darren O’Gorman vs Brian Bouland (bantamweight bout)
Jamie Richardson vs Håkon Foss (welterweight bout)
Arvydas Juska vs Alex Thorne (middleweight bout)
Marcus Paul vs Maciej Gierszewski (middleweight bout)
Eric Nolan vs Mehdi Saadi (150lb catchweight bout)