Cage Warriors 160 Preview; Hendin v Harila, Riley v Lööf, Adam Shelley returns

The BEC in Manchester once again welcomes Cage Warriors into their exhibition centre. The Stretford arena welcomes CW 160 tonight, and we will be gifted ten fights contested live and exclusive on UFC FightPass.

Tobias Harila (12-3) is back in the yellow gloves once again after having to withdraw from a Contender Series bout in August due to visa issues. The colourful Swede won a great back and forth battle with Ryan Shelley in Dublin in his last outing. One of the scene’s biggest characters, the 29-year-old unleashes a symphony of violence on his opponents. He’s like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, delivering a huge volume of strikes with bad intentions. From the walkout to the final bell, Harila is must-see tv. James Hendin (7-2) is a man who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. The Team Fish Tank man has plonked himself at the top of the featherweight division with a well rounded game, with his only losses to championship calibre opponents. The German born prospect doesn’t shy from a battle and can mix it up on the feet. The 25-year-old has levelled up his wrestling and submission game along the way and is a dual threat. Neither man likes to take a backward step so we should be guaranteed some action here.

Matthew Bonner (14-9-1) is a former CW Middleweight champion and is one of the toughest fighters in the promotion. The Next-Gen Liverpool man can make your life miserable with a grinding wrestling game, or he can send you into next week with a big hook. The 32-year-old still has plenty left in the tank and will want to start building back towards a title shot. Samir Zaidi (6-4) is a UAE Warriors veteran and poses a big threat in the boxing exchanges. The Frenchman is a heavy hitter and will take risks to get inside and land. He doesn’t hang around, every shot is designed to end it instantly and he’s not crossing The Channel for a decision.

Antonio Sheldon (5-4-1) has had a tumultuous start to his CW career with a string of razor close fights, going 0-2-1 in his first three. The Englishman is looking for that first victory and will likely want to get back to the knockout performances that brought him to the dance. Michał Folc (7-5) is a training partner of the great Sebastian Przybysz and Kacper Formela at Mighty Bulls in Gdynia. The Pole picked up his first CW win via first round ground and pound back in April. The Elbląg man is very good on the deck and uses strikes well to open up submissions.

There is an absolute gem of a fight placed second on the main card. Luke Riley (7-0) is an elite level prospect and has been spectacular in the yellow gloves so far. Bursting out of the traps with five consecutive knockouts, the Next-Gen Liverpool man followed it up to a couple of decisions. The 24-year-old knows how to get it done and his striking is an absolute joy to behold. Alexander Lööf (5-0) has been making waves over in Fight Club Rush. The Swede also excels in the stand-up exchanges and isn’t afraid to fight fire with fire. The 25-year-old is an IMMAF veteran. These two boys are likely going to test out who’s better on the feet here, although Riley might go for a sneaky submission.

Adam Cullen (6-1) is another stud from Next-Gen Liverpool. The 25-year-old is looking to bounce back after his first loss in April. The Englishman is a submission machine and can out-wrestle most fighters at this weight. He’s a fast starter and all wins have been in the first round. Amaury Junior (15-10) returns to Europe having fought a couple of times in Poland in the past. The Brazilian is generally a submission fighter, with a great arm triangle. The 35-year-old does have a few knockouts on his résumé, however hasn’t had one for a while now.

Ben Petches-Kelly (1-0) makes his first appearance. Another of the many Next-Gen Liverpool fighters on the card, he has competed at the IMMAF Europeans in the past. The Englishman has most of his success in the striking, carrying big power in his hands. Rafael Aronov (4-4) is 4-1 in his last five after losing his first three pro fights. The Israeli is well rounded and is a submission threat in scrambles. The Arad man also has two knockout wins and is a very fast starter, with 75% of his wins coming in the first round.

Adam Wilson (5-2) missed weight by a few pounds for this bout. Yet another Next-Gen Liverpool guy, he’s looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats. The Englishman is very good everywhere, he can get you out of there with his fists or via submission given half a chance. Rory Evans (5-5) is one of those guys who takes the hardest fight on offer every time. The Welshman is very good on the mat, hard ground and pound and nifty at back takes. The Swansea man has a very similar CW record to Wilson at 3-2, having also lost his last two.

The next one is a debut I’m really looking forward to. Umakhan Ibragimov (6-1) is a very exciting newcomer who trains out of Manchester Top Team. “The Scorpion” has never seen the second round, winning all his bouts via knockout. He is electric on the feet and has ridiculous stopping power. Every limb will fly at you from the opening bell. Rashid Bulguchev (3-1) is another IMMAF representative on this card, having competed at the 2019 Euros. The Belgian is a good submission fighter that backs it up with a competitive kickboxing offering.

Chris Price (4-1) is a grappler and will be the first Next-Gen Liverpool fighter on the night. The Englishman is a submission player with an eclectic bag of tricks. No matter where the action is, he has something to catch you in. Dec Dean (1-1) is a local lad and also has a preference for the ground floor. The Englishman was unsuccessful in his debut after getting caught in a guillotine.

Adam Shelley (4-2) gets the action underway tonight. The Team KF man is a Taekwondo black belt and is a joy to behold when he gets into his rhythm. The North Dubliner is looking for a third win on the bounce. Matthew Camilleri (6-1) comes after working his way up through Centurion and FCC. The Maltese is well rounded and does have a wrestling threat. The 27-year-old has two knockout wins on his record and is a relatively durable fighter.

Cage Warriors 160 is live and exclusive this Friday  on UFC Fight Pass. The action kicks off at 19:00.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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