Cage Warriors 105 preview: Local stars Carter, Aimable and McKenna set to shine in historic event
- Credit: Archant
The biggest MMA event ever held in this region happens at the Charter Hall in Colchester this Friday. Mark Heath previews the action and tells you everything you need to know about Cage Warriors 105.
What, when and where?
Cage Warriors 105 will be held at the Charter Hall in Colchester on Friday, May 31.
Doors open at 5pm, with the first fight of the amateur prelims set for 5.30pm. The pro prelims start at 7pm, with the main card set to get underway at 9pm.
There are 17 fights in all on the card - six amateur battles, plus 11 pro contests.
Tickets are still available, starting at £25. If you can't make it in person, the action will be shown live on UFC Fight Pass.
The night that Colchester's Sean Carter has been waiting for his whole career - the opportunity to headline a major show in his hometown.
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- 3 Crews battle huge 15-acre fire in mid Suffolk village
- 4 A14 in west Suffolk closes overnight after serious multi-vehicle crash
- 5 Firefighters tackling large fire near country park
- 6 Residents help firefighters tackle huge blaze near homes
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- 9 10-acre field fire breaks out in south Suffolk village
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The man they call 'Sexy Curls' squares off with Liverpool's Tim Barnett in a lightweight clash which, if rumours are to be believed, also serves as a title eliminator for the belt that Jai Herbert and Jack Grant will fight for next month.
Carter, 34, is 12-6 in his career - including an appearance on the UFC's Ultimate Fighter TV show - with nine submission wins, while Barnett is 6-2-1 and boasts dynamic, exciting, striking.
On paper you'd expect Carter to have an advantage on the floor and Barnett to edge the stand-up, but fights aren't fought on paper. One thing is certain however - this should be a thriller!
"The Cage Warriors lightweight division is the best in the country. He's going to be a good fighter and I'm a good fighter, and we're going to put on a hell of a fight.
"He's a finisher and I'm a finisher - it's a fight not to be missed.
"The days of grappler v striker fights are pretty much gone now. I'm very comfortable on my feet, and I'm sure he'll be confident on the ground.
"It's an MMA match, and it's not 1996, so anything could happen."
Another lightweight tussle between Alexander Jacobsen and Donovan Desmae, which could also be a cracker.
'Bad Romance' Jacobsen (9-4) has fought for Cage Warriors gold already, losing to current UFC star Chris Fishgold back in October 2017, and has dropped his last two bouts by stoppage, but carries fight-ending power and a dangerous submission game.
In Desmae (12-5) he faces a man who only fought last month at Cage Warriors 104, dropping a decision to rising star Mason Jones, who will be eager to get back in the win column.
The Belgian brings a relentless, machine-like pressure to the cage, which is always fun to watch. There's a good chance this fight doesn't get out of the first round.
I'm going out on a limb here and predicting that we'll see two future Cage Warriors champions on this card, both products of Colchester's powerhouse BKK Fighters Gym.
The first, Cory McKenna, kicks off the main card in a straw-weight clash with Italy's Giulia Chinello - and I don't think you'd get too many arguing against her as a champ-in-wating. More on her shortly.
The second, featherweight Steve Aimable, is perhaps a bit more under the radar.
He faces surging Scot Aiden Stephen in what could well be a fight of the night contender a bit further up the main card.
Fittingly for his nickname, Aimable (13-5) is strong, powerful and enjoys smashing things.
He's quietly put together a three-fight winning streak, including a 14-second KO of Liam Bennett at Cage Warriors 97, and, if he wins this one, it's hard to deny him a shot at the belt currently held by Dean Trueman.
Aimable is a grinder, a man who will not stop coming forward regardless of what's being thrown at him, and carries a powerful right hand - just ask the aforementioned Mr Bennett - plus strong wrestling.
He's also about to be a dad for the first time, and I just fancy that added motivation will be enough to carry him past the super-talented Stephen, who's won five in a row.
For years now, Cory McKenna has been talked about as a future superstar of this sport. She started training, and went to school in Colchester, making this event a homecoming for her, but now lives in Wales where she trains under Richard Shore at Tillery Combat.
The 19-year-old also travels out to Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, where UFC icon Urijah Faber has taken her under his wing and given her the nickname above, as well as driving up and down the UK looking for the best training partners, be it UFC history-maker Molly McCann, Muay Thai legend Damien Trainor or the stand-up savages at the famed Bad Company Gym in Leeds.
McKenna (3-1) is truly one of the new breed of MMA fighters, accumulating as much knowledge and skill as possible and putting it to use in devastating fashion.
She chains together aggressive striking, powerful grappling and a suffocating ground game seamlessly, and should prove to be too much for Chinello here.
Confidence is key
As far as athletic ability and talent goes, lightweight Craig Edwards has the lot.
But the BKK product has sometimes struggled to bring it all together in the cage, hence his 2-3 record as a pro thus far.
He faces 3-3 Steven Hooper on the pro prelims here, and, fresh off a sensational submission win over Scott Butters in the 'Battle of Anglia' last month, I fancy we're about to see the hugely likeable Edwards go on a tear.
If he comes in confident and focused, he's a problem for anyone at 155lbs.
Ones to watch
The main card middleweight clash between Alex Montagnani and former late-notice title challenger Mick Stanton should be fun - while it lasts!
Digging deeper, there's a fascinating duel on the amateur card, for the Cage Warriors Academy South East featherweight belt, as champ George Tanasa, another off the BKK production line, defends against Clacton's William Timmis in a local derby.
Tanasa is a very skilled wrestler, but faces a talented BJJ player in Timmis, and will have to be switched on at all times. The winner could well face new Contenders champ Jimmy Fell in a tussle to decide the best amateur 145lb fighter in the region.
Keep an eye out too for the fast-improving flyweight Chey Veal, who faces Tommy Gibbs. Veal, who fights out of Elite Gym Norwich and Tsunami Norfolk, is always entertaining to watch and has a knack for spectacular submission wins.
Also on the amateur card, Joseph Parker and Ethan Barry complete the super seven BKK Fighters who will compete in front of their home crowd.
Main card (9pm)
Tim Barnett vs Sean Carter - Lightweight
Alexander Jacobsen vs Donovan Desmae - Lightweight
Aiden Stephen vs Steve Aimable - Featherweight
Alex Montagnani vs Mick Stanton - Middleweight
Cory McKenna vs Giulia Chinello - Straw-weight
Pro prelims (7pm)
Adam Wilson vs TBC - Bantamweight
Michael Younis vs Dawid Mazur - 190lbs catchweight
Rico Biggs vs. Nathan Fletcher - Bantamweight
Martyn Harris vs TBC - Welterweight
Chris Sterling vs Dan Kneil - Bantamweight
Craig Edwards vs Steven Hooper - Lightweight
Cage Warriors Academy South East amateur card (5.30pm)
Will Timmis vs Gheorgita Tanasa - CWA South East Featherweight Title Fight
Mark Harris vs Mihai Zmarandescu - Interim CWA South East Welterweight Title Fight
Oli Hooley vs Joseph Parker - Welterweight
Tommy Gibbs vs Chey Veal - Flyweight
Conon Barbaru vs Ethan Barry - Welterweight
Lee "H" Anthony vs Caleb Coombes - Lightweight