Cage Warriors put on their second super card of the which lived up to all it pre-event promise with back-and-forth action all night and a slick 2nd round submission which put an exclamation point on the evening. As is the tradition here on MMA Plus, let’s consider who should be next for the fighters who came out on top in the CWFC 73 edition of Fights to make for the winners.
This was a keenly contested fight between the new featherweight champion and his opponent Nad Narimani, with a razor close first round being the difference in this one. In a division which has been home to the likes of Irish superstar Conor McGregor and American Jim Alers there is no one fighter that sticks out from the crowd for me. If I had to pick one fighter to face Enlund it would be Swedish fighter Martin Svensson (14-5) who recently scored a unanimous decision win over England’s Dave Hill (12-4) in August.
At first glance this performance by the former Shark Fight world champion may have been a lackluster one. But with Mann breaking his hand in round 2 and still managing to defeat a game Moktar Benkaci, he was nonetheless rather impressive in my eyes. With current bantamweight champion Toni Turu recovering from shoulder surgery and former champion Brett Johns reportedly sidelined with a hand injury a number 1 contender fight with Gym 01’s James Brum could be on the cards.
This is a bit of a strange one as Redfearn (7-5) was a late notice replacement for his opponent Leeroy Barnes, and had previously competed at welterweight. Despite making his Cage Warriors debut at middleweight against a UKMMA veteran with almost 30 fights under his belt, Redfearn managed to dispatch Barnes in impressive fashion. So what’s next for the Kirk Merrington MMA fighter? Does he stay in his new weight class or return to welterweight? If he stays at middleweight a fight with Barnes’ Rough House teammate Matt Hallam could be on the cards, and dropping back down to the talent rich welterweight division could see him face the likes of Lewis Long, Lee Caers and Bagautdin Sharaputdinov to name a few.
Newcastle native Liam James (9-6) returned to action after almost a year out with a workmanlike performance against Team Rough House’s Dean Trueman to win the fight 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards. James needs a few more wins under his belt before being back in contention, but a fighter with Dave Hill or possibly undefeated German Martin Buschkamp would be a step in the right direction for the 30-year old.
MAIN CARD PART TWO
In a dominant display that saw lightweight champion Steven “Braveheart” Ray ruthlessly put away UFC veteran Curt Warburton with a 2nd round rear naked choke submission, what is next for the 24-year old Scotsman? A chance of redemption against former champion Ivan Buchinger seems off the cards with the Slovakian signing for M-1 so maybe a fight with Saul Roger’s (8-1) if “The Hangman” can avoid defeat against Mick Sinclair at Cage Warriors 74 on November 15th, or a fight with 11-1 “Irish” Joe Duffy is on the cards if he wins his next fight. Personally, I think the Dinky Ninja could be UFC bound, but only time will tell.
After suffering a disappointing 1st round knockout loss on his Cage Warriors return to Danny Roberts, Jim Wallhead (26-9) bounced back in impressive fashion with a 1st round win of his own against Juan Manuel Suarez. It’s hard to pick an opponent for Wallhead from what is the promotion’s most stacked division, but if I had to choose Judo’s next opponent it would be have to a toss up between Lewis Long (9-3) or France’s Gael Grimaud (19-6) if he has recovered from his back problems.
Shaj Haque & Brett Caswell
With both fighters putting on impressive displays on the way to winning their respective bouts, a fight for the flyweight title must be on the cards. Former commonwealth judo champion Caswell (6-1) left the judges in no doubt who the winner was when he defeated the previously unbeaten Pole Marcin Lasota, and Haque (6-1) was equally impressive against Damien Rooney. A fight between the two for the vacant flyweight title must be on the cards for early next year.
After recording his second win in 6-weeks the world seems to be the oyster of Lewis Long since he made the move back up to welterweight. After another impressive win over SBG Manchester’s Matt Iman I believe the next step for the Welshman could be a bout with either Jim Wallhead or Gael Grimaud.
Know as “The Baddy”, and despite holding a 7-1 professional record it is easy to forget that Next Generation Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett is only 19-years-old. Some might want to see the featherweight put in against the likes of Liam James or Sebastian Romanowski, but like Graham Boylan alluded to in the post-fight scrum, I think Pimblett should be handled with care, so maybe a fight with Donni Miller (5-2) is the order of the day.
Another fighter who should be handled with care at the tender age of 20-years-old is Danny Suter (2-0). Matching Suter with fighters holding similar records and experience is the order of the day here. After experiencing mixed fortunes as a amateur Suter has started his professional career off well.
A look at some of the losers..
On the face of things it would be the end of the road for most fighters who had gone 0-5 in a major organization, but it would appear that Leeroy Barnes is another fortunate exception with talks of him signing for another 5-fights with Cage Warriors. Who could Barnes’ next opponent will be you ask? Your guess is as good as mine as I am struggling to pick a fight that makes sense.
Nad Narimani still has the world at his feet despite this set back with fights with likes of Dave Hill waiting for the 27-year old, he could be thrust straight back into title contention with 2 or 3 wins under his belt.
Finally, for Curt Warburton it could be a long road back for the 33-year old. After losing to lightweight champion Ray for the second fight in a row, and with Cage Warriors head honcho Graham Boylen stating he has no interest in seeing Ray vs. Warburton 4, the Bishop Auckland native could potentially be stuck in lightweight limbo if Ray sticks around.