Cage Warriors 54 brings the UK’s top promotion to Wales, with a title fight and plenty of action to satisfy a fight fan’s MMA itch in a weekend void of the UFC. As usual, the show can be viewed on MMAJunkie.com and Cage Warriors Facebook page, with the prelims starting at 2PM est, and the main card starting at 4. The main event sees Jesse “JT Money” Taylor (25-9) of TUF 7 fame (or infamy), bringing his NCAA Division I wrestling to the Cage Warriors cage for the third time to defend his middleweight title against the Welsh scrapper John Phillips (16-5). Over at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Taylor opened as a large -350 favorite (bet $350 to win $100) with the comeback on Phillips +250 (bet $100 to win $250) and the line has stayed close to that opener. A striker vs. grappler stylistic matchup is on order here, with Taylor known for his powerful takedowns and Team Quest trained skillset, while Phillips has 13 of his 16 wins via KO, and would probably have the time of his life if he ever got to fight Wanderlei Silva. If Phillips can stop Taylor’s takedowns or attempts at putting his back into the cage, Phillips could definitely make this an exciting title fight. Actually, it should be exciting no matter what, this is a scrap. Taylor has fought far better competition in his career, is more experienced, and has world class training, so this is an uphill climb for Phillips to nab the belt. They don’t call Phillips “The White Mike Tyson” for nothing, though. In the co-main event we have welterweights Danny Roberts (7-1), who has had a great young career, and Diego Gonzalez (15-7) the crafty vet who’s been up and down lately. Roberts is basically the surging youngster, finishing all of his fights but one — 3 via strikes and 3 via submission. Gonzalez is well rounded but is best suited on the ground, as he’s taken home 8 wins by submission, but he does falter against the next level of competition. He’s gone 2-4 in his last 6 and has losses to Dan Hardy, Akihiro Gono and Ivan Buchinger to name a few, but he did well in the M-1 Global ranks. This is a test for Roberts, who is coming down from middleweight, and has hopes for a welterweight title shot if he strings together another win or two. For Gonzalez, this is another tough fight in a career full of them. He’s a savvy vet, but Roberts could be the next big thing to come out of Cage Warriors. The opening odds reflect that sentiment, as Roberts opened a -315 favorite with Gonzalez a +235 underdog and the line has moved even further in Roberts’ direction since then. With Conor McGregor making a dent the size of Ireland in the UFC, Cage Warriors needs to crown a lightweight champion, and Mark Glover (6-1) taking on Lewis Long (6-2) could be considered part of an unofficial mini-tournament towards the lightweight title. Glover made a brief appearance on TUF 15, and Lewis Long is a few fights away from making the international eyebrows raise. This is going to be a bout where neither fighter underestimates his opponent, and with both men wanting to push the pace it should be a close, memorable bout. Glover has the majority of his wins by submission, but he’s come out and said that he would prefer a KO or TKO over Long who was just had a four-fight winning streak snapped at Cage Warriors 49 with a neck crank loss. That loss by Long has certainly affected the public’s perception of him, as despite opening as a slight favorite at -125, the line has moved drastically in Glover’s favor to where it now sits at -260, with Long at +180 underdog. Ivan Buchinger (21-4) has reportedly broken free from a few sluggish training camps, one of which he attributes to his loss at the hands of Conor McGregor at Cage Warriors 51. His opponent is Jason Ball, a UK MMA scene vet and victor of six of his last ten fights. Ivan is championship material, with 12 subs, 6 KOs and his opponent owning 9 subs and 9 KOs. Buchinger opened as a -210 favorite with Ball a +160 underdog, and the line has moved slightly further in Ivan’s favor. This fight has every reason to be entertaining with an exciting finish. This fight could steal the show. Furthering the attempt at filling the championship throne(s) Conor McGregor left King-less, a featherweight battle between undefeated Welsh prospect Brett Johns (5-0) vs. Scotland’s 7-1 James MacAlister. Both fighters are well-rounded and hungry to make a name for themselves. This is a close fight, and the line mirrors that as Johns is a -170 favorite, and MacAlister is a +130 underdog, which are the closest odds on the card. Finally, a Welsh fighter who is quickly becoming a Cage Warriors favorite, Martin “Mr. Pink” McDonough (10-4), looks to deliver Mark Platts’ (10-9) third loss in a row. “Mr. Pink” has won his last four fights, all via submission, and now he looks to make it four in a row vs. Platts, who has lost seven fights by submission. McDonough is always fun to watch, and this fight looks tailor made for him to showcase his skills. McDonough is one of the top fighters in Wales and is expected to pick up the win here. As such, he is a -280 favorite, with Platts a +200 underdog.