Cage Warriors 170 Preview; Return to Dublin, Sheehan Title Shot, Hughes’ Last Dance?

The RDS in Dublin 4 will once again welcome Cage Warriors through their doors this Saturday night. Cage Warriors 170 will feature a plethora of Irish talent alongside those brave enough to make the trip to the island. There are fourteen fights on deck, including one bout for a title.

In the main event, Team Ryano has a chance to reclaim Cage Warriors gold. James Sheehan (7-3) is looking to follow in Neil Seery’s footsteps by winning a belt in the famous yellow gloves. “Jimbo Slice” has always fought a high calibre of opponent, and he’s hoping that it will set him up perfectly for this moment. The Northsider has represented Ireland at the 2016 IMMAFs as an amateur, and he followed that up as a professional, showcasing his strong wrestling, slick Jiu Jitsu and crisp boxing. He’s a very well rounded threat and is a match for any man. Daniel Konrad (6-1) is in town to play the role of spoiler. The Swissman is stepping up from the European regional scene. The 27-year-old has a heavy left hook and is a specialist in securing an armbar. This is a big opportunity for him, and he’ll relish being the underdog. Sheehan should have enough about him to get a finish here, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rear naked choke win before the championship rounds.

Paul Hughes (10-1) will make his final CW walk as his contract expires upon finishing this fight. The FAI man is a superstar, plain and simple. Talking the talk and walking the walk come naturally to the Irishman. That’s not to discount his work rate, as he’s one of the hardest working fighters on the scene. “Big News” can do anything he wants, his striking has been sensational since bursting onto the pro scene, his wrestling is a match for Olympians and his Jiu Jitsu is very good. Above all else, he’s a man for the big occasion and pressure doesn’t get to him. Fabiano Silva (34-15-1) answered a late call up following several matchups falling apart in the lead up to this card. The Brazilian has a lot of experience on the Polish scene with KSW, FEN and Babilon. In his homeland, he fought for Jungle Fights. The 36-year-old understands the assignment and will show his exciting, action-packed style on the night. He’s aggressive on the feet and slick on the mat. As well as that, he’s tough as an old boot, with only three of his losses coming via knockout. I’d expect Hughes to add a fourth to that list.

Ger Harris (4-1) is another one that has that sprinkle of stardust in him. The Team Ryano man is a charismatic talker and a great entertainer. The “GTA Selector” represented Ireland at multiple IMMAF competitions, and is a fantastic Jiu Jitsu player. He’s been working a lot with Neil Seery in the lead up to this fight, so we can expect another jump forward in his striking. Gregory Wamytan (2-1) is a rare find, a fighter from New Caledonia. Now training in France, he’s had most of his success in the grappling exchanges. Both of his wins were submissions. A win here for Harris and he’ll be away to the races.

Decky McAleenan (8-5-1) is an important figure in Irish MMA, particularly with his promotion Iúr FC. The Team Torres man is a veteran and always one to put on a great fight. The Newry native has a damaging kickboxing game as well as being a great Jiu Jitsu player. The 32-year-old is always looking for a finish. Ville Mankinen (5-3-1) brings his flashy grappling to Ireland. The Finn is a good wrestler and has some great submission wins on his record. The Laitila man has wins by americana, kimura and triangle. McAleenan should have the nouse and quality to avoid most of these moves, which should pave the way for a victory.

Taka Mhandu (4-2) continues to improve every time we see him. “The Cat” has produced some magnificent striking clinics of late, and the word on the street is that he’s taken another leap forward in that regard. The 26-year-old has made great strides in his wrestling and his Jiu Jitsu ahead of Saturday’s fight. Rory Evans (6-6) might be the toughest 50/50 fighter going. This man fights the hardest opponents every time and he is prone to going on streaks. The Welshman is a very good wrestler and submission player. He’s not the best in his defensive grappling so we could see Taka get his first submission win, although I’d expect him to try and get it done with his striking.

Solomon Simon (3-0) has looked sensational since turning pro. The Team Ryano man is a calm and patient fighter, who’s secured a finish in all of his bouts so far. The 28-year-old has shown strong wrestling, as well as a good boxing game. Ieuan Mackenzie (3-0) is an IMMAF veteran and a guy who’s shown a similar appetite for finishing as his opponent. The Welshman is predominantly a submission specialist, and can grab your neck from many angles and put you to sleep. If Simon can keep this standing, he should have success.

Scott Harvey (3-0) is a Dubliner who moved up north to train with FAI. The Irishman is an IMMAF veteran and has a good submission game. “Hazard” is also exciting on the feet, throwing with volume and power. Enrico Di Gangi (4-1) is a talented fighter coming out of Aurora gym in Rome. The Italian has a strong wrestling game, big ground and pound, and a lovely back take to rear naked choke. Harvey will face his toughest test yet and will have his takedown defence tested. If he can keep the fight standing, you’d expect his volume to undo the Italian’s offence.

Ryan Shelley (6-2) is looking to get back to winning ways after two defeats in-a-row. The Team KF man is a TaeKwonDo specialist as a base skillset, and has also shown a penchant for back takes and rear naked chokes. It’s his footwork and power that brought him to the dance. Kallum Parker (2-3) is a Manchester Top Team prospect who’s had a tough time of it as of late. The 23-year-old is a good wrestler and adept at landing ground and pound. The Englishman has found it hard against strikers of late, which is where Shelley will fancy his chances.

Eimear Darcy (debut) turns pro following a nice amateur career. The Compound MMA fighter is a strong competitor in all of the arts, and particularly excels in the kickboxing exchanges. Jenny Line (0-3) makes the short hop over the Irish Sea in search of her first pro win. The 42-year-old is perhaps at her best in clinch and grappling exchanges, with her kryptonite coming in striking defence. That’s where Darcy needs to apply the pressure to win.

Ciaran Brady (debut) is another one turning pro. The 29-year-old had a good amateur career and beat some pretty stellar opponents. The 29-year-old is tough and durable, and will fancy his striking and grappling against anyone at this entry point into the paid ranks. Tomasz Zdanowski (0-1) is a Pole training out of England. He had a very good amateur career and had a lot of joy in striking exchanges. His pro debut didn’t go to plan, getting caught by a knockout against Nathan Haywood. This should be a very competitive duel.

Dara Ward (1-0) is a hot prospect who trains out of Team KF and The Honeybadger Academy. He’s a strong wrestler with a good submission pedigree. His pro debut went exactly to plan, a second round knockout win. Ben Petches-Kelly (1-1) was an IMMAF representative for England in 2019. The Next Gen Liverpool man is a good striker with finishing power. He’s aggressive and isn’t one to leave it in the judges’ hands.

Matthew Elliot (2-1) returns to the promotion following a fight away. The FAI man is a very strong wrestler who’s impossible to shift once he gets on top of you. Valentino Rivo (3-2) is on a two-fight skid heading into this. The Italian is a decision fighter who is perhaps better in the grappling exchanges.

Sinéadh Ní Nualláin (0-1) returns to her natural weight class following her unsuccessful debut one above. The Dubliner trains in the UK nowadays and is a quality striker, with an extensive kickboxing background. Jennifer Trioreau (0-4) is a Brave CF and Combate Global veteran. MMA hasn’t been kind to her yet, however like her opponent, she also comes from a kickboxing background. Somebody’s 0 has got to go.

Jamie Abbott-Bissett (debut) had a long amateur career and represented Ireland at multiple IMMAF championships. The Team Ryano man is a great grappler and submission player. He’s improving on the feet. Paweł Jezierski (debut) trains out of Czerwony Smok in his native Poland. He was a multi time Polish champion at amateur level, and showed a good diverse game along the way.

Cage Warriors 170 is live and exclusive this Saturday on UFC Fight Pass. The action kicks off at 18:00.

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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