One of Europe’s leading MMA organizations, Cage Warriors, returned for three shows on three consecutive nights once more this week at York Hall in London, England.
Cage Warriors has been a long-leading organization for European prospects, with many Cage Warriors alumni — from Conor McGregor to Michael Bisping to Gegard Mousasi — reaching the pinnacle of title glory in premier MMA organizations like the UFC and Bellator. The fresh crop of talent was on display this week at Cage Warriors 123, 124, and 125, with standout performances from many fighters on Cage Warriors’ fourth installment of their Trilogy series. This article will highlight some of the great performances from some of the fighters on these cards.
Cage Warriors 123
Sam “Urai” Creasey (14-3)
Sam Creasey (14-3) seems to have finally figured it all out when he gets in the Cage Warriors cage. “Urai” displayed a career-best performance over Welshman Aaron Aby (11-4-1) in the semi-finals of the flyweight tournament. Creasey controlled the striking range early before resorting to his wrestling and top control later on in the fight to win via a dominant unanimous decision victory.
Unlike previous Creasey fights, he did not become undone and actually got stronger as the fight went on. At 33-years-old, and after a third title shot against ex-champion Luke Shanks (8-2), Creasey looks to be as ready as he has ever been to clinch flyweight gold.
Matthew “The Beast” Bonner (10-6-1)
The career resurgence of newly-crowned Cage Warriors middleweight kingpin Matthew Bonner (10-6-1) has been nothing but remarkable. Bonner Once held a negative record of 4-5-1 as recently as 2019.
However, Bonner has been on a tear since changing camps to Next Generation MMA Liverpool. The 30-year-old displayed his wrestling and ground control in every round against powerhouse champion Nathias Frederick (9-3-1), whilst evading for the most part any powerful counters Frederick fired off in return.
Overcoming an illegal knee to submit Frederick to become the first man to beat Frederick in five years and securing the promotion’s middleweight belt. “The Beast” Bonner now rides the largest win streak in his entire career and continues to improve.
Cage Warriors 124
George Hardwick (7-1)
George Hardwick (7-1) was one of the two Hardwick brothers to secure victories at Cage Warriors 124, alongside brother Harry.
Hardwick faced off against former Cage Warriors champion Dean Trueman (10-7). In an impressive performance, Hardwick overcame the early storm from Trueman to finish him with a brutal body shot. The Middlesbrough Fight Academy product displayed stellar takedown defense, ferocious pressure, and volume, finding success with knees and bodywork on exits from the clinch which eventually resulted in the finish in the second round.
They were fantastic Cage Warriors debuts for both Hardwick brothers, especially George, who secured a dominant finish over an experienced opponent to put himself in the Cage Warriors title lightweight picture.
Nathan Fletcher (6-0)
At 23-years-old, the sky’s the limit for Nathan Fletcher (6-0) in his MMA career. The Next Generation MMA Liverpool prospect fought former bantamweight title challenger Brian Bouland (10-4) and dominated the fight with ease. Fletcher secured backpack control from early in the first round. Fletcher used a swift elbow to slide his arm under Bouland’s chin to get the rear-naked choke submission finish.
It’s the biggest win of Fletcher’s career, and he continues to perform on the big stages. At 6-0 with six finishes, it seems sooner rather than later before Fletcher is challenging for that bantamweight belt.
Joe “The SBG Hunter” McColgan (8-3)
Joe McColgan (8-3) is the epitome of someone who does not give up. At 34-years of age, many would have thought McColgan’s opportunity to seize Cage Warriors gold was gone after a title loss to now UFC-contender Mason Jones a year ago. However, McColgan displayed a career-best performance as he submitted champion Agy Sardari (14-3) in the third round via guillotine choke.
McColgan snatched the neck from a Sardari takedown attempt and finished it in side control. McColgan displayed excellent takedown defense and reversals, alongside improved striking and pressure which started to wear on Sardari in round two before finishing him off in round three.
From despair to delight within a year, McColgan now holds the lightweight title and looks better than he ever has.
Cage Warriors 125
Gerardo Fanny (10-2)
Gerardo Fanny’s (10-2) Cage Warriors debut loss left many counting him out of his fight against Conor Hignett (9-7), but Fanny showed his doubters exactly what he was made of in his flyweight debut.
The 27-year-old landed a brutal flying knee that knocked Hignett out cold at the end of the second round.
Now 1-1 in Cage Warriors, Fanny will be looking to build his way up the flyweight ranks with the belt current vacant pending on the result of the tournament final between Sam Creasey and Luke Shanks.
Scott “Boom Boom” Malone (9-4)
After three straight stoppage losses in Cage Warriors, Scott Malone (9-4) had lots to prove in his Cage Warriors return. He regained momentum on the regional scene with two wins before facing off against 2017 IMMAF champion Serdar Altas (4-2).
Malone used his Judo background and his grappling to control Altas, eventually stopping the Swede with strikes from the Crucifix position in the second round.
With three consecutive wins and Cage Warriors redemption, “Boom Boom” exploded his way into the contender pool at flyweight.
Ian “The Future” Garry (7-0)
The Ian Garry (7-0) hype train has been immense since his breakthrough onto the Cage Warriors scene in 2019.
MMA-Prospects profiled Garry ahead of this fight, his first title opportunity with CW, which you can read in the hyperlink above.
Garry came into his contest with Jack Grant (17-7) with controversy due to the split from his long-time team Team KF. The fight was almost being canceled, as Garry arrived at the event on Friday without a corner team.
Despite that, Garry displayed his excellence on the biggest stage of them all. Garry dominated the bout against Grant, landing head kicks, jabs, and ground and pound, and avoided all submission attempts from Grant.
It was the first time Garry entered the championship rounds, and he had no issue with his cardio through five rounds.
Garry won every round on the judges’ scorecards to secure the unanimous decision victory and the promotional welterweight title. A complete performance and at 23-years-old, “The Future” is now the present for Garry.