While the majority of the MMA world’s attention has been drawn to the three North American cards taking place on Saturday night, it is Cage Warriors which will be getting the action started earlier in the day with Cage Warriors 74. The 13-fight affair features many rising stars in European MMA, and it seems that a few of the fighters towards the top of this card could be bound for the UFC sooner rather than later. The main event showcases arguably the top prospect in all of Europe right now, Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby. The Dane’s well-rounded skillset has earned him 12 victories to start his MMA career, and continues to improve with each outing. Dalby’s best asset is his striking, but his game hasn’t shown any significant weaknesses thus far. Perhaps Norwegian Mohsen Bahari will change that. Another fighter who is dangerous in all areas, Bahari’s only career loss came via quick heel hook, which is almost the submission equivalent of the one-punch knockout. This is certainly a worthy scrap for the welterweight title, and the winner should be firmly positioned amongst the top fighters for the UFC to sign in 2015. The card features a second title bout in the women’s bantamweight division. Swede Pannie Kianzad already holds victories over UFC vet Milana Dudieva and Bellator vet Annalisa Bucci, so it seems a matter of time before she joins one of them in a big North American promotion. While her record shows three TKOs and three decisions, Kianzad does her best work on the ground, she just prefers to use ground-and-pound rather than submissions. She should follow the same pattern against Finn Eeva Siiskonen, who is taking this bout on short notice and is most dangerous with her strikes. Below the two title fights, Cage Warriors 74 features numerous quality fighters from across the pond, including: Joseph Duffy, Saul Rogers, Tom Breese, and John Maguire, amongst others. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for Cage Warriors 74 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (MMAJunkie.com, 5pm ET) CWFC Welterweight Title Nicolas Dalby -350 Mohsen Bahari +250 Joseph Duffy -505 Julien Boussuge +335 John Maguire -180 Brad Wheeler +140 Bola Omoyele -265 Andrei Manzolo +185 ——————– MAIN CARD (MMAJunkie.com, 2pm ET) Pannie Kianzad -1200 Eeva Siiskonen +600 Saul Rogers -350 Mick Sinclair +250 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Dalby is a very solid fighter, but this could be a spot where the public is getting a bit ahead of themselves, as Bahari is underrated and will give him a tough fight. It’s rare for Cage Warriors to see a match that’s viewed as a big mismatch on paper actually play out that way, and I don’t expect this to buck that trend. Bahari dealt with Benny Alloway in his last bout, and the Aussie has a dangerous all-around game which should leave Bahari well-prepared for this fight. I still favor Dalby, as he’s a better wrestler than Alloway and shouldn’t allow Bahari to control the bout, but it’s not a case where I’m rushing out to bet the favorite here. Joseph Duffy returned to form in August, scoring a submission victory in his first MMA bout since 2011. I think he builds on that here, as Julien Boussuge is a capable fighter, but struggles each time he steps up (TKO losses to Mansour Barnaoui and Mairbek Taisumov). I consider Duffy a step up, and he could score a TKO if he pursues the striking, or a submission if he goes that route (which he seems to like to do in MMA). On the MMA Analysis a couple of week’s ago, Sean Carey said something to the effect of “So far this year, if we think somebody’s done, he’s done” in reference to Scott Jorgensen being on a severe decline. It also applies to Shogun, Gray Maynard, and on a much lesser scale, John Maguire. Even though he was never a champion or title contender, Maguire has faded badly from where he was at during his UFC run. In my eyes, he’s dropped his last six bouts, including suffering his first TKO loss in 5 years last time out. Brad Wheeler doesn’t have a great looking record, but he’s still young and he wasn’t exactly managed to perfection early on in his career. He’s steadily improved, and I think he just brings more to the table than Maguire at this point. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Maguire eek out a decision with top control, but the only way I’m betting this fight is if the public still thinks Maguire has something left, and I can get Wheeler as a decent dog. Bola Omoyele was supposed to be further along as a prospect at this point, but back-to-back losses against Aaron Wilkinson and Jack Marshman have derailed him. He’s still an extremely dangerous striker, and his cardio should hold up a bit better at 185, but he’s extremely hard to trust given his limited submission game. Estonia’s foremost mixed martial artist, Andrei Manzolo, could test those submission skills as he does have three tapout victories on his record, but I don’t know enough about him to feel comfortable playing either side here. Contrary to the main event, I fully expect Kianzad to do some serious work against Siiskonen. She was fairly physically dominant at 145, and unless the cut went horribly for her (which I don’t expect, given that she’s fought at 140lb catchweights on a few occasions) her grappling will be too much for the Finn. She seems like a safer parlay leg to me than the other favorites in women’s fights this weekend. In the first bout with a line of the evening, I like Saul Rogers to continue his rise in the lightweight division. He’s one of the more powerful wrestlers in the UK, and has a dangerous submission game to go with it. The one knock on him has been cardio, but he looks to have improved that quite a bit in his last bout with Maguire. If that trend continues, he should be dominant against Mick Sinclair.