This Weekend’s Warriors: James Webb and Charlie Ward

London’s calling the European MMA spotlight this week as Cage Warriors 111 and Bellator 235 showcase a blockbuster weekend for the live UK crowds. On Friday, Cage Warriors return to the Indigo arena with a trio of title fights. Paddy Pimblett was also set to make his return to the cage, but his short-notice opponent Joe Giannetti failed to make weight—tipping the scales at 163.7lbs (7.7lbs over the limit)—and the fight was scrapped. Saturday sees Bellator descend on Wembley Arena as Michael “Venom” Page headlines against short-notice opponent Gianni Melillo, while the co-main event of Fabian Edwards vs Mike Shipman settles a long-standing domestic rivalry. As always, this column highlights Irish athletes competing, and there are two fights in particular that may draw specific attention from the Irish MMA fanbase…

(C) James Webb (Team KF, 6-1-1) vs Nathias “Notorious” Frederick (7-2-1)

While Webb may hail from Colchester, England, he has trained under Chris Fields and Tom King his entire professional career, representing Team KF. This week, the Cage Warriors middleweight champion revealed to MMA Fighting’s Petesy Carroll that he intends to carry the Irish flag with him to the cage. Already labelled “the Andy Townsend of Irish MMA”, Webb is an honorary Irishman in many fans’ minds, so it would be rude not to include him here. Webb defends his 185lbs crown in the main event for the second time against Frederick, after the pair fought to a five-round draw back at CW106. The first fight was an action-packed war that saw points deducted, piledrivers landed, but ultimately no winner was determined. The sequel is likely to be a crowd pleaser, especially if their staredown from earlier today is anything to go by!

Webb could be mistaken for a boa constrictor based on his fighting style. A relentless grappler who continues to add tools to his growing arsenal Webb is no stranger to adversity in a fight. We have seen him rocked on occasion in his pro career, but the Team KF athlete always discovers a way to dig deep and find a path to victory. An impressive win over Frederick tomorrow night, combined with his raucous fanbase and frequent stopping ability could even be enough to secure a UFC contract for James Webb. Having finished every other opponent, Nathias Frederick is the question mark that stands in the way of such dreams. Will Webb continue to evolve and figure out this puzzle? We will find out tomorrow night!

Charlie Ward (SBG Tullamore, 7-3) vs Pietro “King Kong” Penini (8-1-1)

Charlie Ward was originally supposed to take on Pietro Penini at Bellator 227 in Dublin this September, but an injury forced Ward off the card.The fight was rebooked, and the pair are set to lock horns this weekend in London. Following an unfortunate stint in the UFC and a change in weight class from welterweight to middleweight, Ward has looked like a new man in the cage. Riding high on a four-fight KO streak, Ward will be confident that his hands are heavy enough to conquer “King Kong.” Fans will be confident that they are in for a treat as Penini is no stranger to putting on a show either, with 5 stoppage victories of his own. If the SBG Tullamore man continues to bulldoze through his opponents under the Bellator banner, you’d have to imagine that a step up in calibre is imminent. Given the number of other 185lbs fights on this card, there are plenty of potential matchups waiting to be made.

Broadcast Details
James Webb: Fri 23rd Nov. Main card at 9pm GMT on UFC Fight Pass.
Charlie Ward: Sat 24th Nov. Prelims from 4.30pm GMT on the Bellator App.

In amateur MMA news, Pa Lehane (SBG Cork City) is back in action this weekend after his stunning KO victory at CW110. Lehane challenges Bartlomiej Krol for the Budo Fighting Championships 165lbs title.

Enjoy the fights!

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).

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