It is right here. The 106th edition of Cage Warriors is coming down to London and this time, they are moving to a new venue: the prestigious Eventim Apollo. The card is stacked and it does look like one of the biggest Mixed Martial Arts event we have ever had in Europe, UFC included. As far as I am concerned, I feel like a handful of the athletes competing this Saturday are already UFC materials, and we are looking at the best talents from Europe as from the start of the prelims.
Now, let’s look deeper into the last 3 fights of the evening. BUT FIRST (lemme take a selfie), I’ll quickly introduce myself as this is only my second article ever in English. If you don’t care, just skip till you read « Dean Trueman vs Mads Burnell ».
Hey. I’m Chris. I used to be an active MMA blogger in French, I also wrote a book in French and my next challenge is to write one in English. Practice makes perfect, therefore I decided to write more and more using the Universal language. Hence, this article. In the art of fighting world, I also am the head coach of Red Kings, that you may know via Cage Warriors athletes Brian Bouland and Donovan Desmae.
DEAN TRUEMAN vs MADS BURNELL
Where everybody expected Soren Bak to face Dean Trueman (10-4), a turn of event gave Mads Burnell (11-3) a well-deserved opportunity to fight Featherweight’s champion at CW106. This is a very good fight for the fans because of their diversity and their love for chaos. Both of them are extremely comfortable in all aspects of the game, have a high-volume approach to striking and a scramble-based style in grappling and wrestling exchanges. On top of that, they’re both opportunists able to end a fight in the blink of an eye. What I like the most in every fight is the gameplan that athletes and their team come up with. Dean Trueman has a lot of success at kicking range, and Mads Burnell is finding a new love for the boxing range and will probably have to close the distance and force exchanges to be where he needs to be. Mads’ head movements are getting better; he moves proactively and has also good defensive reactions, which comes in handy when an athlete wants to pressure a high-volume striker with excellent lateral movement, such as Trueman. Bottom line, I believe this will be where the fight will be decided: Will Mads be able to pressure Trueman, cut angles and forces boxing exchanges, or will Trueman be able to keep a distance between the cage and his backfoot so he can keep a kicking (or even karate) range and attack from there ? I don’t see either shoot for a takedown, but I hope a KD or a clinch leads to some grappling display because this would be beautiful, with a lot of transitions.
JAI HERBERT vs JACK GRANT
This might be the fight most people are looking forward to and it makes sense; two exciting strikers with excellent grappling skills facing each other for a belt. Who wouldn’t like this teaser? But let’s talk about what make them such great fighters and how it plays out when put together. Once again, here, I’ll mostly talk about the striking aspect of the fight as I can’t even recall when either of them shoot for a takedown. Their comfort zone is to stand. Jai Herbert (8-1) is what I like to call a fundamentalist; he has solid bases in boxing and Muay Thai, he only uses the classic attacks but his technique is so perfect it makes it dangerous. He has a boxing posture, boxing movements, but he integrated a slick kicking game into his arsenal. He likes to stay at a range where he can hit you at all times, while constantly moving his head out of the center line. Simple, but efficient. His opponent, Jack Grant (15-4) is quite the opposite in a way; even though his fundamentals are very good, he has a more extravagant style and you see him go for unusual techniques. That said, the main difference is really in how they position themselves; Jai wants to keep his opponent at an hittable range at all times and will move with his opponent, whereas Jack finds success in managing the rhythm of the fight. He decides when there’s an exchange, he decides when he can rest. But he is a master at putting pressure and volume and you believe you can rest. This is what I love about the fight. One fighter will try to keep the same distance at all times and probably builds his game off his jab, while the other will have to change the distance on a frequent basis. This is the perfect example of a dynamic fight. I can’t wait.
ROSS HOUSTON vs NICOLAS DALBY
The main event will feature the undefeated champ Ross Houston (8-0) against UFC vet Nicolas Dalby (17-3) and it is quite a fight we have ahead of us! I said in one of my Tweet that Trueman vs Burnell is a lovely fight for the fans as it is two scamble-based fighters facing each other. Well this one has the perfect example of a control-based fighter in the champion, facing a scramble-based fighter in the interim champ. Ross Houston has the same approach whether he’s striking or grappling with two keywords: patience and pressure. He mitigates risks, he takes his time, he is efficient (and powerful!) in his attacks. He uses very small movements and has an economic footwork; it looks like he always has the right angle to engage or to stand his ground and counter. On the ground, he looks to secure his position, avoids floating, and looks to advance with pressure, leaving no space for his opponent to work on a sweep or a submission. Dalby is lighter on his feet, utilizes a lot of movements; in and out, resets at a different angle and will vary his attacks; different angles, different levels, using feints to play with his opponent’s mind, keeping him thinking. His experience makes him a very intelligent fighter who will take the fight where he feels he can dominate his opponent the most. If the co-main event will be a fight for the control of the rhythm/pace, this one will be a fight for the control of the direction. Movements vs Ground standing. Efficient simplicity vs Diversity. Control vs Scramble. To make this main event even better, just remember the heart shown by both these guys; Ross Houston against Paterno, and Nicolas Dalby against Darren Till.
Guys, we got ourselves an event. Quite an event. See you on Saturday !