Cage Warriors 60 Main Card and Tournament Preview

Cage Warriors 60After stops in Wales and Chechnya, Cage Warriors Fighting Championships returns to its home base of London, England for the 60th numbered event in organizational history. CWFC 60 features another of the four-man, one-night tournaments this time in the lightweight division, which will crown the champion to one of the weight classes that Conor McGregor left behind when he moved to the UFC. The four participants in the tournament are all veterans of the UK MMA scene, and should create an interesting dynamic. At Cage Warriors 59 we saw Brett Johns fight an astounding eight rounds in one night to become the bantamweight champion, and the organization can only hope something equally as intriguing takes place in this bracket. Ivan Buchinger has to be considered the favorite heading into the tournament with Jason Ball, Steven Ray and Mick Sinclair all being about the same level below him, but in MMA — and especially tournaments — we should know to expect the unexpected. The semifinal bouts will take place on the undercard which airs on Cage Warriors’ Facebook page beginning at 2:30 PM EST. The first of those bouts will feature Ivan Buchinger (23-4) taking on Mick Sinclair (12-3). Buchinger, who opened as a -285 favorite (bet $285 to win $100), is looking for a second shot at the Cage Warriors lightweight belt in this tournament — he lost to McGregor in his last attempt. Standing in his way is Sinclair, who opened as a +205 underdog (bet $100 to win $205) in part because he hasn’t fought since November 2011. It’s hard to know how Sinclair will look coming off of such a long layoff, but even if he returns to his previous form he’s in for a tough fight. Buchinger has a more developed submission game, has improved his striking, and has only lost to fighters who have subsequently found themselves at the next level. The second semifinal is more competitive on paper, as former BAMMA lightweight contender Steven Ray (12-4) makes the jump over to Cage Warriors to take on Jason Ball (20-12). Ray — who opened at -230 — prefers to get his work done on the ground, as half of his victories have come via submission. Although Ball — currently a +170 underdog — has nine wins each by submission and (T)KO, he would likely prefer to keep this standing and out of Ray’s comfort zone. One problem that could surface in this fight is that Ball has had a tendency to get controlled by his opponents, and a two round fight (with a third if it ends up tied) leaves him very little room for error in that regard. Keep an eye out for where this fight takes place, and what sort of urgency Ball displays if he does get taken down. The winner of these two fights, barring injury, will square off in the main event where the Cage Warriors 155lb belt will be on the line. What will ultimately serve as the co-main event of the evening will be a welterweight clash between the hard-hitting Bola Omoyele (7-1) and UFC veteran Aaron Wilkinsn (10-6). Wilkinson certainly has the name value in this fight, but opened as a big underdog at +265, and the line has moved even further away from him, as it is currently up to +425. Omoyele opened at -385 and now sits at -675. Quite frankly, Wilkinson hasn’t done much to impress since his UFC run. His record is 4-2, but those wins have come over opponents with a combined 21-59 record. Wilkinson is one of a bevy of British fighters who has both the majority of his wins and losses by submission. If he does pick up another win here it’s likely to be by his eighth career submission, but a loss in the same manner would be very unlikely. The reason for that is his opponent, Bola Omoyele brings a fast and heavy striking style to the cage. While his record shows 6 (T)KOs and 1 submission, that sub victory was due to punches, and his last six wins have all been inside the first round. He does excellent work on the feet and from top position, and if the oddsmakers and public are on the right track, he looks primed to get another finish here. In a middleweight bout, Leeroy Barnes (12-11) takes on Polish prospect Kacper Karski (4-1). Barnes was last seen losing a decision to Norman Paraisy at CWFC 57, but looked far better in that bout than his record would indicate. He possesses a deadly guillotine which has stopped seven previous foes, and an effective boxing game. Those attributes pushed Barnes to a -150 opener. Karski is another young Polish fighter trying to make a name for himself in the European MMA scene, and he has done that fairly well thus far, having avenged his only loss in the sport and submitting his other three opponents. Karski, a +110 underdog, will likely look to make his submission game work in this one, as Barnes is more dangerous on the feet, but he will have to avoid the guillotine on his way there. Finally, a pair of flyweight fighters will look to make their mark on the division and move towards a title shot with champion Neil Seery. Bryan Creighton (4-1) looks to build on a two-fight winning streak, while Spencer Hewitt (10-5) looks to snap a two-fight losing streak in this match-up. Both fighters have shown impressive submission skills in the past, but Creighton seems to be the more diverse grappler. Oddsmakers agree, and opened Creighton as a -230 favorite with the comeback on Hewitt at +170. Since that time the public has come in slightly on the underdog, bringing the line to -180 on Creighton and +140 for Hewitt. Cage Warriors 60 can be seen in two formats. The undercard can be streamed on Facebook at 2:30 PM EST, while starting at 4:00 PM the main card will be shown on MMA Junkie.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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