Cage Warriors is coming to Belgium for the very first time. We wanted to play a little game and consider we were the matchmakers, following rules:
- A 12-pro fights card.
- Each fight should have at least one Belgian athlete.
- Focus on the local athletes for the opposition (either Belgian, Dutch, German or French).
- Also focus on the athletes that Cage Warriors want to promote (mostly from UK).
- Fights make sense in terms of record and experience.
- Focus on athletes with a positive record.
- Fights suggested are in no particular order.
#1 🇧🇪 Brian Bouland (5-1) vs 🇮🇪 Darren O’Gorman (5-2)
This first one is an easy pick. Brian Bouland is signed with Cage Warriors, has been ready to fight since February. Darren O’Gorman is signed with the promotion as well (CW Record being 1-1). Both have a similar record.
#2 🇧🇪 Donovan Desmae (9-4) vs 🏴 Scott Clist (9-4)
This second one is also an easy pick. Donovan Desmae is signed with Cage Warriors (0-1 – recently lost to Martin Stapleton), as well as Scott Clist (2-2). With a similar record, and both coming off decision loss, this fight looks to make a lot of sense, both for the local fans and for the promotion itself.
#3 🇧🇪 Steven Cnudde (6-0) vs 🇳🇱 Reinier De Ridder (7-0)
With almost similar records and similar background (Judo), this fight makes a lot of sense. 360 Promotion’s champion Reinier, living close to Antwerp would bring a lot of fans against the long-time belgian prospect in the middleweight division.
#4 🇧🇪 Julien Gracco (7-2) vs 🇧🇪 Gaetano Pirrello (10-4)
Who doesn’t like a bit of local rivalry ? Julien Gracco and European Beatdown’s champion Gaetano Pirrello went a bit at it online. This is a fight that a lot of local fans hoped to witness when Julien called Gaetano out for the belt. This fight doesn’t seem to be confirmed, so why not have it for the Cage Warriors. As a reminder, Gaetano already fought in the promotion against Arnold Allen, who then signed with the UFC.
#5 🇧🇪 Tommy Depret (12-5) vs 🏴 Matt Inman (20-9)
When you think about these three words: Belgium, MMA, fighter; Tommy Depret has to be one of your first thought. The always-exciting veteran who has submitted Roan Carneiro (now signed with UFC) could face another veteran in Matt Inman; a guy that Cage Warriors has been putting recently in light.
#6 🇧🇪 Ayton de Paepe (6-0) vs 🏴 Aiden Lee (4-1)
The featherweight title holder of 360 Promotion should also be one on this card. With a solid record of 6 wins with no loss, the very talented Aiden Lee (2-1 in Cage Warriors) would be a great test for the prospect out of Team Perfect !
#7 🇧🇪 Christophe Vandijck (7-3) vs 🇳🇱 Pieter Buist (9-4)
One of the most respected local MMA athlete, Christophe Vandijck, who is now training seriously in Thailand needs some exposure. Another very local fight that would be interesting would be to have him face Pieter Buist.
#8 🇧🇪 Uriel Albamonte (7-2) vs 🏴 Richard Williams (4-1)
Since we talked about the « respected local MMA athlete », Uriel Albamonte is also a name that pops up in that category. With a solid 7-2 record, we could easily see him get the call. Richard Williams also comes off a loss, and this fight looks really awesome on paper.
#9 🇧🇪 Imran Khadiev (4-1) vs 🇧🇪 Erdi Karatas (7-4)
This fight had been planned, until Erdi Karatas got injured. In November, both these promising athletes should be on their feet (literally) and would deliver an amazing fight. The fans were really disappointed that it did not happen; there’s a great opportunity to get it back on paper.
#10 🇧🇪 Maarten Wouters (8-4) vs 🇩🇪 Alexander Vogt (8-5)
Maarten Wouters and Alexander Vogt have similar profiles. Both like to accept fights. They just love to fight. Their records tell them they should face each other, and this would bring some German fans in Antwerp to witness this live.
#11 🇧🇪 Massai Santanna (2-0) vs 🇧🇪 XXX Di Franco (2-0 / 1-0)
Massai Santanna had his pro debut in April and he impressed. A lot of people said he wasn’t ready to go pro. But he showed amazing gameplan abilities and submitted his 2 opponents. Being a small welterweight, we could imagine him go down to a catchweight (73 kilos) and face one of the top young talent of the country in Sebastien (2-0) or Nicolas (1-0) Di Franco; these guys are big Lightweight that would easily agree a catchweight.
#12 🇧🇪 Mike Wiatko (10-2-1) vs 🇫🇷 Christophe Picaut (8-4-1) II
Did we save the best for last ? Both guys seem retired, but we know that, with the right opportunity, both guys would come out of retirement to settle their beef. And what is better than Cage Warriors for this ? The controversial draw happened last year at SHC 11, were both guys thought they won the fight. The rematch would bring a massive lot of eyes on the event. Venue would probably sell out very quickly only thanks to this fight.
Some other Belgian names that could have been considered:
Anatpong ‘Mak’ Bunrad (5-3): He is signed with One FC; we don’t know if he could fight outside.
Griet Eeckhout (3-2): The female talent is signed with TKO but could be a great name-value on this card.
Sameer Alekozai (5-1), Adam Mutaliev (8-3)