Cage Warriors 162 Preview: Patrizi v Girlean 2; Creasey returns

The Colosseum is located in central Rome and was completed in 80AD under Emperor Titus. The elliptical amphitheatre is both the largest of its kind ever built, and the largest still standing. The venue used to hold gladiatorial events in front of 50,000 spectators. Fast forward to the modern day, Cage Warriors has channelled that ancient spirit into the Fiera Roma exhibition centre, a mere twenty-five minutes from the iconic tourist attraction. Saturday’s gladiators will be strapping on the famous yellow gloves at CW162, with tickets selling in record numbers. There are fourteen fights on deck, the majority of which will have us sticking our thumbs up.

Lightweights will take centre stage in the evening’s main event. Dumitru Girlean (6-2) burst onto the CW scene with a big right hook knockout win over Adam Cullen, before coming up short in his sophomore appearance against Leon Hill. The Veronese has a mean kickboxing game that compliments a solid grappling game. Finishes are his bread and butter. Simone Patrizi (6-1) is a man of similar experience as a professional, and he also won his debut in CW with a right hook knockout. The Rome man has had most of his success in the striking ranges, however does have some submissions in his repertoire. His only loss was to Girlean back in 2021 on a Golden Cage show, a first round head kick knockout. Will it be the same again or will revenge be in the air?

Simone D’Anna (6-3) is a Bellator and Venator veteran, and he’s making his promotional debut in this one. The 28-year-old is a well rounded fighter, and has shown his biggest threat is in wrestling exchanges where he can unleash his big ground and pound. From there, the Roman can either go for the TKO or for a choke. Alberth Dias (6-3) is another Bellator alumnus (he beat Richie Smullen in Dublin) and he picked up an impressive win in his first CW showing, a unanimous decision win over Steve Aimable. The Brazilian is tough and durable, with cardio to cause problems throughout. The 31-year-old is riding a two-fight win streak.

Michelangelo Lupoli (6-3) is one of the most promising Italian talents on the roster. The 29-year-old is looking to get back to winning ways after falling to a decision defeat to Sam Creasey. The Naples native has an impressive kickboxing game and is accustomed to going the distance. Nicolas Leblond (8-4) showed in Dublin back in April that he’s not afraid to step on enemy territory and snatch a victory. The Frenchman is used to away days with Cage Warriors, fighting a who’s who in the division. Submissions are his specialty, however don’t sleep on his striking.

Micol di Segni (10-5) is an Italian women’s MMA pioneer, and has competed on the Contender Series. This will be her fourth appearance under the CW banner, winning two already, including a split decision win against Cory McKenna. The Roman packs a mean punch in the striking and is a tough out for anyone. Samantha Jean-Francois (8-6) once fought Weili Zhang in China and has fought all over the globe since. The Frenchwoman’s pro career has seen a resurgence since 2022, notching up four rear naked choke victories in-a-row, including one for the Hexagone MMA belt. Two gritty and tough veterans do battle in the iconic city.

Luca Iovine (18-10) is Italian MMA royalty. The Roman was a Shooto Europe mainstay, before touring Europe’s top MMA promotions. The 35-year-old is a great submission player who is adept at taking the back. His best days may be behind him, going 3-9 in his last twelve. Andrey Tyshchenko (6-2) is a well rounded young man. The Ukrainian has shown great grappling with a heavy hitting kickboxing game. He beat Indonesia’s Yoga Prabowo via unanimous decision in his first CW outing.

Leon Aliu (10-3) is another Contender Series alumnus and holds a knockout victory over former champion James Webb. The Albanian born, Reggio nell’Emilia trained man packs huge power in his striking and has a wicked guillotine in his arsenal. Alan Carlos (13-11) is a Bellator veteran and has fought all around Europe. The Brazilian has a good arm-triangle choke and can surprise on the feet if you’re not careful. The 40-year-old is looking for his first victory since 2018.

Daniel Ghercioiu (debut) is the latest Aurora MMA man to sign a CW contract. The Roman will face off against fellow Italian Samir Sadikov (debut). This one is a bit of a blind one coming in.

Sam Creasey (17-5) is an ultra-experienced former CW flyweight champion. The Englishman returns to the Italian capital after beating Lupoli there last May. The 35-year-old CW legend is a handful everywhere. His speed on the feet causes opponents fits, and his chokes catch even the best practitioners on the hop. Never a dull moment with Sam “Urai”. Tanio Pagliariccio (8-3) trains out of SBG HQ in Dublin. The Neapolitan is a very good submission player with a particularly dangerous guillotine. The Italian is a tough cookie and has never been finished during a round.

Giuseppe Mastrogiacomo (3-0) is one of the Aurora MMA prospects. The Roman has a kickboxing background, however it’s been his rear naked choke that’s got his hand raised more often than not. Valentino Riva (3-0) will likely look to do his damage on the feet, however he has the cardio to go all fifteen handily enough. The Novara man has one doctor stoppage finish on his record.

Emanuele Tetti (1-0) is also Aurora MMA trained. The Italian won his CW debut last time out with a lovely head kick. Alessio Barbara (3-2) makes his first appearance in the promotion after impressing with a right hand knockout win last July. The Cassino man has no issue going to battle and will hang in there for the duration.

Alex Bertinazzi (4-2) is another CW debutant. The Imola man is a good wrestler who can dish out heavy ground and pound. Baris Adiguzel (3-1) was born in Turkey and trains out of Nice in France with the well respected Boxing Squad. He’s a fun kickboxer who will throw out flashy techniques. 

Khadim Dia (3-0) is another hot talent out of Aurora MMA. The Milanese is a fantastic submission artist who throws in ground and pound to mix it up. Faudel Bentayeb (3-4) will come into this wanting to grapple. The Frenchman has a ground and pound knockout victory to go with the submission on his pro debut.

Daniele Battaglia (debut) hails from Italy and is the new kid on the block. He’ll face kickboxer Costantin Dolghi (0-1).

Matteo Martignoni (1-0) is the brother of former bantamweight champion Michele. The young Aurora MMA man won his pro debut via knockout after just twenty-five seconds. Alessandro Lupieri (0-2) won an amateur bout via guillotine choke back in 2018, however it’s been all defeats for the Italian aside from that.

Cage Warriors 162 is live and exclusive this Saturday on UFC Fight Pass. The action kicks off at 16:45.

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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