Given all the recent hype created around UK MMA promotion Cage Warriors, by outstanding performances from four previous champions (Paddy Pimblett, Tom Aspinall, Jack Shore and Molly McCann), at UFC Fight Night Brunson vs. Till. We are going to run down on some current Cage Warriors fighters who very well may be potential UFC standouts in their own right, down the line. The most recent edition of Cage Warriors Trilogy, Cage Warriors Trilogy V, will feature three events CW127, CW128 and CW129, running from September 30 to October 2, and these are who you should take some time out of your week to pay special attention too, so you can tell your friends you knew about them before they blew up.
The first set of fighters to tune in to is Nathan Fletcher (6-0) and Dominique Wooding (7-4), who will be fighting for the vacant bantamweight title in the main event of CW127. This fight will be one of those classic striker vs grappler matchups, in the truest of forms. Wooding has finished all his career wins by knockout, whilst Fletcher has achieved a similar feat in his career so far but on the opposite end, finishing five of his six wins with a submission.
Wooding is coming off possibly the most impressive of his knockouts in his last CW fight, where he starched Cameron Hardy in just over a minute, at CW124 in June. The 25-year-old already has far higher-level experience under his belt than his opponent, having fought for Bellator three times, going 1-2 in the promotion, before signing for Cage Warriors.
Despite not running as well as he would have liked in Bellator, he’s hit the ground running in Cage Warriors with this title fight being made after his debut. “Black Panther” illuded to the fact that he feels his experience will help him in this one: “Obviously this is a big fight, but in terms of shows it’s not the biggest show I’ve fought on, I’ve been there done that kind of thing. Whereas he (Fletcher) hasn’t. So, this is a big step up for him, I’ve already been in this type of spotlight, he hasn’t, this is just normal to me.”
Fletcher, however, says he doesn’t feel at all inexperienced: “Well, I have actually I’ve fought in the Echo Arena, in my third amateur fight I fought in the Echo Arena, so I’m pretty comfy fighting in a big arena and to be honest we’re fighting in the York Hall, it’s not a big arena anyway, so that doesn’t make a difference.”
The 23-year-old fights out of New Generation MMA Liverpool, and is a sparring partner of Pimblett, which explains why the Englishman’s grappling is at such a high level – and will undoubtably be looking to take this one down to the mat.
The next set of the fighters will be facing off against each other in an interim-featherweight title fight at CW128 – (Paul Hughes (7-1) and Morgan Charriere (16-8). Hughes has been on an absolute tare through the Cage Warriors 145-pound division, with his only loss coming to the current champion, Jordan Vucenic (8-1), by split-decision, in December 2020. The Irishman is an amazingly well-rounded fighter, who has the potential to finish this fight on the feet or the ground.
The 23-year-old likes to keep the fight on the feet, but has shown great ability in the grappling, as he showed in his fight against the Vucenic, where his takedown defense was put on full display, with great scrambles from takedown attempts, and played very well on top, coming close to finishing the fight.
Then there is his opponent Charriere, the former champion, who lost the belt in his first defense to who else but Vucenic – also by split-decision. The 25-year-old could be compared to none other than Paddy Pimblett, not just as he is a former featherweight champion but because of his huge social media following. The Frenchman has over 157k Instagram followers with a huge following in his home country of France bearing the flag for them in MMA in Europe for a while.
“The last Pirate” has some significant advantages over Hughes in this matchup with his experience being far greater at 24 professional fights. He also holds far more stopping power in his hands, which will be a lot for Hughes to deal with.
Finally, we have the Hardwick brothers, or “the thinking man’s Diaz brothers”, George (7-1) and Harry (7-3), both of whom will be fighting on CW129. Younger brother George will be facing Jakub Dohnal (9-1) on the main card, who’s making his Cage Warriors debut in a lightweight bout. The 24-year-old defeated former Cage Warriors champion Dean Trueman, with a vicious body shot halfway through round 2 in his last fight at CW124 in June. Strong body shots are something you will see both brothers utailise very well in their fights. With a win in this one George may very well be in line for a shot at 155 champion, Joe McColgan, if not one fight away and ever closer to a potential UFC contract.
Harry had a far different outing on CW124, winning a split decision over Jean N’Doye in a barnburner of a brawl. This is a theme you will see through most of the 26-year-old’s fights as he tends to throw caution to the wind and swing fists, allowing his toughness and chin to bring him through. “Houdini” will face Konmon Deh (10-7) on the undercard of CW129 and said in an interview with MMA Island after his last fight that he would try a different approach in his next fight. “There are a few things I want to adjust” he said. “The focus of the next fight is just to dominate whoever it is because that kind of fight is not good for your health.”
You can watch all these fights on UFC FightPass, which will be hosting everyone of the Trilogy V events.