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Exclusive: Catherine Costigan Talks Cage Warriors 81 Return

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Catherine Costigan has had a trying 2016 with injury robbing her of competing for the entire calendar year. Now, “The Alpha Female” is fighting fit and ready to return with a bout set for Cage Warriors 81 in Dublin, Ireland on March 4th. Costigan recently sat down to talk to MMA Latest News about that and more.

As mentioned above, Costigan has spent the entirety of 2016 and more on the sidelines due to a back injury and the associated recovery that inevitably goes along with that. “It’s been actually just over a year,” she began. “It’s been 15 months since the last time got into the cage. The year was what it was. It was all about getting out of surgery start doing the physio, because it was the lower back and the disk. That was a little bit of a harder process because there was so much work and so much loading going into your lower back when you walk every day and when you sit, so there was a lot of physio involved. My coach Dermot has been the driving force in helping me recover and get to where I am along with my amazing sponsors, they’ve been extremely supportive, I can’t thank them enough.

Back injuries are notoriously troublesome, and it has led to Costigan rethinking and changing her training regime to some extent. “For everyone else, traditional strength and conditioning is fine if your back is OK,” she explained. “But for me, I went and found a programme called functional patterns. The founder Naudi Aguilar, who also invented it, has been shouting about the importance of movement when you train and movement of loading in the correct way. So whatever way you move you load correctly which is very good for MMA. Fighters such as Jeremy Stephens as well as some other UFC fighters used his programme and he was quite confident that if I took on the programme it would get rid of the pain. I still have the same strength as before but if nothing else I’ve got more explosive strength which is actually quite good for MMA.”

With all of that considered, Costigan has gone through a particularly trying period in her career, which came on the back of a tough time inside the cage too. However, she is remaining upbeat about what lies ahead and is using those past experiences as motivation moving forward. “I think I’m better than my best right now because I’ve looked at all the mistakes that have been made,” Costigan said. “The worst thing has already happened to me – I’ve lost twice in a row which absolutely destroys you. But if you can get back up and face the truth of what happened and fix it, I think that is a true sign of what MMA is a about.

Costigan’s return to the cage will come at Cage Warriors 81, the organisation’s first event in Ireland since their resurgence and also their first visit to Dublin since 2014. Costigan spoke of her affinity with the promotion, and also on the possibility of fighting for Invicta FC again. “They’re (Cage Warriors) the ones who made my record to be fair to them,” she began. “If they hadn’t got me on the show, hadn’t got me those fights, it wouldn’t have got me the exposure or attention of Invicta’s president Shannon Knapp. She’s got a good relationship with Ian Dean and is very happy to let me fight. I’m still under contract with her, it is always by her permission that I take fights and she told me ‘It’s your home town, go fight and I look forward to having you back.’ Now, when that happens I don’t know, but I don’t want to ask back in until I’m back on the winning side.”

As far as returning to Invicta and mixing it up with the division’s best after this fight, Costigan thinks that could be a possibility. “I don’t see why not, but of course it’s just not to going to be against the world champion straight away.”

Costigan’s opponent on March 4th will be Wendy McKenna. For Costigan, she is just happy to get a fight scheduled and is predicting a good fight with the 1-0 fighter. “Well, I think that it’s great that she’s taking the fight,” Costigan started. “There’s a lot of girls that don’t take fights with me. It’s very hard to find women’s fights, so I wasn’t actually aware of her until then because I wouldn’t kept an eye on fighting as much when I was out. I was just keeping my head down and training every day.

I think Wendy’s gonna try take her win, take the glory like Amber (Brown) and Celine (Haga) and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m there to take her out as well. We’re both coming to win that’s what’s gonna make it a great fight. I’m delighted she took the fight to be honest because I needed an opponent and needed to get going so here I am.”

The fight will also mark the second time that Costigan has made the walk at Ireland’s national indoor arena, the 3Arena, having already done so in her last fight at BAMMA 22. The ever-popular Costigan is hoping to use the famous Irish atmosphere to her advantage come fight night. “I’m gonna make it the best atmosphere,” she beamed. “Any time I go out in front of that crowd there’s always a pop for me. I don’t know what it is, maybe I connect with people. I just tell it as it is, I don’t bullshit it. Am I scared for this fight though? Of course. I want to give my best Catherine Costigan. I don’t want to have any more hitches in the road. I want to really shine like I used to and if I acheived it before then why can’t I do again?”

New regulations introduced in Ireland in order to ensure the safety and good health, both short and long-term, of MMA fighters who compete in the country include mandatory brain scans prior to any fight going ahead. Costigan certainly welcomes the developments, but can see ways it could be made easier on fighters. “I wish someone would come up with some sort of fighter insurance,” she mused. “I have full health insurance and they told me it doesn’t cover the scans because I haven’t had any brain trauma before so I don’t need one. If they created a way that fighters could pay in instalments every month or make payments here and there and even if the promotions got involved too it would be great.”

You can see Catherine Costigan’s long awaited return to the cage live on fight pass or BT sport Saturday March 4th as Cage Warriors make their return to Ireland. For all those looking for tickets or to sponsor “The Alpha Female” you can contact her directly on Twitter, Facebook or her website. All support is greatly appreciated by Catherine as she aims to take the WMMA scene by storm again.

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Long Read: King and Conqueror: What makes a better Champion?

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King & Conqueror

 

As it Stands:

In less than 20 years the UFC has become the definitive entity that has risen above the rest to become a household name in MMA. Going from the sport from a sideshow activity to, a leading brand in Sports Entertainment at the highest level.

In a promotion company’s case, they are only as good as their talent so although the cultural elevation of UFC over the years is greatly due to brothers Franklin & Lorenzo Fertitta & friend/business partner Dana White, this “Holy Trinity” in the business of MMA could not have sold the UFC for 3.33 Billion to the talent agency WME-IMG in July 2016 if not for the Infamy of High-Level MMA & Talent displayed by the Hardened, Seasoned, Electrifying Athletes and in the words of MMA Fans, the “Trained Killers” the UFC has on its roster.

 

The Question:

Though recently in the UFC, considering its progression and recent decisions and or lack of, I see myself asking a question…

 

* Are the champions, the Top Contenders & Staple Names, these “Trained Killers” best for the business & the sport when –

  • A. They keep humble & fair. They are fighting, fighter after fighter by the numbers. Breaking records, garnering unbroken win streaks, an array of finishes etc, like DJ?

Or

  • B. When they are Enigmatic, Polarizing, bypass general rank and file and secure “Big Money Fights” & win or lose they put on a performance, like Conor?

 

Let’s try answering that. So, it stands to reason B preceded A and got people watching (The Lidell, Rampage era).

It also stands to reason that once people were watching, to sustain and go to the next level, it was A’s turn to preceded B, legitimizing the High-Level credibility (The Silva & GSP Era).

It then stands to reason once more that once legitimized, B needed to lead the charge again to take not just MMA but particularly The UFC into a whole new level of Spectacle, “casual” Viewership & brand recognition at an Increasingly World Wide level, making it irresistible for potential buyers (The Ronda & McGregor era)

 

Using two fighters as Archetypes for A & B I will elaborate on the strengths & weaknesses of each and finally explain why Both are necessary

– Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson posing with 3 of his 12 UFC Belts gained over Multiple Title Defenses –

Fighter A – Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (27-2 -1)

The King

The Pros:

  • Iron Sharpens Iron
  • Another level entirely regarding challenges. The Champ has a Giant Target on his back. Maintaining his place on top by constantly fighting the Biggest threats to his throne. Being able to Stay at the top, might be the Hardest thing to do.
  • Experience.
  • Fighting so many various opponents for rounds upon rounds upon rounds, compounds experience gained. DJ’s fights are always Title Fights so always potentially 5 rounds, at the highest level, against the biggest threats to his throne. He has 12 Flyweight Title Fights on his record. The sheer magnitude of Experience gained from that amount of Octagon time at that high a level is almost beyond comprehension.

 

  • Accolades.
  • It is easier to extrapolate information in order to assess a fighter’s ability from consistent data. Fight metrics really start to add up especially when combined with experience over time. This makes breaking records not just easier but clear, obvious & definitive eg

– Has made 11 successful title defenses, beating Anderson Silva for most in UFC history

– His Pro MMA Record has 11 Submissions, 11 Decisions & 5 KO/TKO’s

– Total Fight Time is 5h 9m & 12s the longest average is 20 minutes (According to Fight-Metrix).

  • This is necessary for the story DJ has written so far, for the credibility of UFC’s claim to have the highest caliber talent & the legitimacy of the sport itself.

 

  • Undeniable.
  • It doesn’t matter what people feel about Demetrious as a person or a “sports star”. His ability, accolades, constantly challenging himself at the highest level & succeeding. Nobody can deny his achievements. It’s rare in MMA to have hazy “was that in or out”, type scenarios that cause confusion and affect the result. It’s far more easy to spot when one human beats up and outclasses another. Not to mention Knocking Out the Knockout Artists in Joseph Benavidez and Submitting the BJJ Specialists in Wilson Reis. As a result, on paper alone based off simple facts, his ability, skill & tenure is Undeniable.

 

The Cons:

  • Polite = Boring.
  • When Kings/Queens is too polite, respectful & fair, it may lead to viewers claiming the fighter is “boring”.

 

  • Wolf Tickets.
  • When a King/Queen are believed to be so far above their competitors, the matchup can be easily perceived a foregone conclusion, fans can lose faith in the Promotion aspect. I have seen them express that they can feel somewhat hoodwinked in regards to this scenario. This lead can to an indifference about the next challenge to the title.
  • No Polls-No attraction, it’s physics.
  • Fighters like DJ are a lot of things, Polarising is not one of them. Rarely would you find him express his personality or tell his story in a manner that attracts the casual fan to watch? He doesn’t start arguments/debates so, therefore, no feuds and thus struggles to generate hype outside the hardcore fans. It becomes a “punching the clock” scenario. DJ himself has been found legitimately saying phrases very close to “I’m just going to work” on multiple occasions. This talk can make it difficult for fans to take a deeper interest.
  • Can’t spell “Successful Sport” without “Cold Business”
  • Taking the above cons into account means the King/Queen can be Extremely difficult to promote. The less promotion, the less interest generated. Less interest means less profit overall. Less profit can mean the promotion machine itself may begin to put less money and time in promoting the next fight if the fighter in question hasn’t yielded the return desired. It is a business at the end of the day.

 

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists.” Lou Tzu

Conor gaining “Double Champ” status after beating Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Belt

 

Fighter B – “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (21-3-0)

The Conqueror

The Pros:

  • Conquerors don’t need to wait in line, be polite or run through the rank and file. They knock on the door of the loudest, toughest man/woman, defender, guardian and or King/Queen and Demand they come out and fight, in a manner so that all the town’s people can see. This can attract casual to hardcore fan all the way to the average townsperson who happened to get wind of the talk around the town, so to speak…
  • Conor has Honed his skill set to end fights quick, sudden and with an exclamation point. If a fight goes on longer, his style again leans to the more entertaining side of the sport. Either way, his fights are memorable and make a lot of noise within the MMA community.
  • Conquerors focus on the weakness of their opponents, believe in themselves and have so much drive to the point of obsession that the intensity they can bring to an encounter can have serious effects on the mindset & psychology of the opponent. In some cases, the battle is won before the bell is even rung. Eg. McGregor stealing Aldo’s Championship Belt @ The Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland for the UFC 189 World Tour Press Conference.
  • People band together for a conqueror. If they see a person with so much Conviction & drive, creating displays of power & dominance, who shouts to the world that they are coming, with no fear, confident that they will destroy anyone who is in their sights and no one can stop them, people will follow, a country worth of people. Pretty much Ireland as a whole voice walk behind Conor, chanting war cries of the opponents inevitable demise and in the terms of Prize Fighting, that equates to Tickets Sold.
  • All the above add to a major factor that separates Conor from Demetrious, Conor can guarantee the UFC a number of PPV’s and Ticket Buys. He garners so much attention, whether he is loved or hated and thusly generates a Lot of money for the UFC. So much so it is arguable that the likes of McGregor and in the past Ronda Rousey helped elevate the name of the UFC to the level where it’s net worth is in the range of 3-4 Billion. This gives him a lot of leeway and weight to move around, the like of which other fighters Don’t have.
  • The Khan Empire & Alexander had a philosophy that settling, no longer moving from challenge to challenge, battling from city to city Conquering ruler after ruler taking what they owned, making it yours and absorbing their people into your own army makes you weak, out of practice, complacent and therefore Vulnerable. Conor doesn’t stay in one place. He Conquered Cage Warriors as a Double Champ and moved right on and out into the UFC like it was just another battle. After he sacked the city of the Featherweight division he went on to the next challenge, the Lightweight Title at 155lbs.
  • Infamy is its own currency
  • Before Conor fought Alvarez he fought Nate Diaz at 170lbs (as a replacement fight when Champ at the time RDA had to pull out of his fight due to injury) for no belt and lost via rear naked choke submission in the 2nd Rnd but his Infamy, conviction & Notoriety gained him a rematch with Nate, again at 170lbs (A weight Neither fighter is Rostered under) and Won by Unanimous Decision.
  • This method has got Conor his own records and accolades. After he fought Nate for the second time, on Nov/12/2016 Conor McGregor went on to fight and beat Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship Belt, becoming the first “Double Champ” in UFC History, holding two belts in two weight classes simultaneously. This was his 1st & to this day, Only fight at Lightweight (155lbs).
  • Pays to be a Star

 

The Conqueror

The Cons:

  • Not everyone will agree to your dominance. If you pick the fights, jump from place to place whenever you feel like it. Many claim that Conor is Yet to fight an opponent who is first class at grappling, can take a shot and is happy to lay on Conor and make it a boring fight.
  • Jumping from division to division and not defending his belts, never looking back, only forward, has left the division’s top contenders in a mess. As a result of all of this, the ranks say one thing, the fighters say another, fans are usually split and Conor can Never go down as the definitive best in any division he fought in as he has Never secured the Tenure in the divisions in the manner that a fighter like Demetrious has.
  • Conquerors are unique and they don’t come around often. People get inspired and driven in themselves by the methods and paths marked by a Conor McGregor type person. This goes bad as they try to replicate the path and method to little or no success and cause even bigger upsets in the division. Eg Tony Ferguson & Khabib Nurmagomedov left waiting for Conor to return. After missing weight again, Tony won’t fight Khabib and wanted the Money Fight with Conor. Khabib also shared that goal. Meanwhile, luckily a fighter named Kevin Lee made his way up securing a fight with Ferguson for the Interim Title at 155lbs which Ferguson Won via Triangle Choke in Rnd3 making him the interim Champion (Interim meaning next in line for the belt). Though many think (fans, fighters, journalists, even Conor’s striking coach Owen Roddy alike) the more likely person Conor fights next is Nate Diaz for the Trilogy fight but this time at 155lbs and possibly for the belt. Effectively making the Interim Belt for Ferguson won pointless.
  • Conquerors make a lot of enemies, people will always hate someone who Conquered them more often than them and won’t ever, Universally, agree on his overall place in the sport and ability. He may have wrecked shop but he left stones unturned, challenges to be completed and failed to solidify himself in any one place for a long enough in the divisions he has fought in.
  • What Conor has achieved up to this point in his career can be seen as 40% fight skill 50% business & marketing and 10% mental warfare. Taking that into account his G.O.A.T. status will always be up for debate and will lean between those who see MMA more as entertainment and those who see MMA more as a pure sport.

 

“The Conqueror is regarded in Awe. The wise command respect but the benevolent wins our Affection” William Dean Howells

 

So, what is better, King or Conqueror?

The Answer

In the terms of the modern Sports Business machine, In my opinion, I would argue Neither is bad and BOTH are not just good but Exceptionally Necessary.

 

The Reasoning:

  • A Fighter like DJ lets the hardcore and more uber fans know the company is still about the sport, they still care and want to put on by the numbers fights following rank and file. Those fans get to watch the career rule of a prestigious King as he retains his title with the humility & class expected from a Tenured Champ.
  • They define what perfection in the sport is, they always will hold a bar at a place that while some fighters may stare at the spectacle of the lights and dream of money. For most fighters however even the knowledge there is bar they did not reach it yet, it is a constant nagging that must be addressed.
  • Competition breeds obsession, obsession breeds hard work & dedication, hard work & dedication desires challenge, challenges completed desire recognition. For those, the chance,  even the opportunity for the chance, to dethrone a King like DJ is far too much to ignore.

 

  • A Fighter like Conor raises the stock price of a company like the UFC, pure and simple. He has reached a level where he has elevated himself from the sport to the point that he got his contract pushed away to the side while he went off to boxing and fought Floyd “Money Mayweather”.
  • Not long ago MMA was something a person watched when no one was around, worried that someone might find the tapes of the “Bloodsport” of “Human Cockfighting” and think you odd or crazy. Now, Conor is side by side with the president of the UFC representing MMA, sharing the stage with Boxing, The most prestigious, Honored, Respected and Longest tenured fighting sport in the world.

 

To Summarize

Conquerors bring the sport to the mainstream. Conor made such a ruckus, leaving such an impression, grabbing Pandora’s Box of MMA & raining it down all over the modern world for all to see, experience and take note of.  

Kings keep the sport pure and as legitimate as the sport is capable of being. DJ provide the range of dedicated fans, arguably the only people who pay for subscription service to fight libraries, watch live events at 5 am because they live in a different country (That’s me),  watch the fight press conferences and fight week interviews, their time & monies worth. Both King & Conqueror collectively give all manner of fans the peace of mind that the Bastion of MMA, the UFC is still “As Real as It Gets”.

Wrapping Things Up…

Every Yin needs a Yang but as the sport is still evolving maybe will see one day, a fusion between Demetrious & Conor, some would argue Jon Jones could have been that guy “could” being the loaded word.

I leave you now with some final questions for you readers.

  • Does a fighter like that exist in the rankings, in their early stages, still gestating, waiting for their time?
  • Are they already here and known but we are sleeping on them?
  • Has one existed before and I am missing them?
  • Do you think Jon Jones could still maybe, be that Guy?

& Finally

  • Which do you prefer, Kings/Queens or Conquerors?
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EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity

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Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.

Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”

Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”

Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”

Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”

With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”

Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”

Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.

Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:

Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)

By Ieuan Thomas.

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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.

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Matt Inman, who is coming off a win against Brad Wheeler in June, fights Craig White in the co-main event of Cage Warriors 87.

Inman will be fighting in Wales for the first time since his stoppage win over Leon Kenge in 2013. The inspiration behind fighting in Wales? Because his boss told him so,

“I got told by Cage Warriors I was gonna be fighting in Wales, that was the main inspiration. I’ve spent most of my career on the road so I’m used to fighting away from home it doesn’t bother me one bit. The cage is the same no matter where you put it in the world.”

Inman says that he has many different ways to win a fight and is confident of challenge ahead,

“Every fight and opponent brings a different rhythm and challenge I won’t expect anything that was effective in my last fight to necessarily be effective in this one but I have a deep bag of tools to reach into and I’m confident I have the skill set to get the job done.”

His opponent for the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 is Craig White, a man who has finished all 11 of his wins within the distance. Yet, having such a dangerous opponent, Inman is confident that he is too difficult to submit and too hard too hit, which could eventually lead to his opponent exhausting himself,

“Not necessarily, I believe in my defence and I’m hard to hit with strikes and very difficult to submit. When an opponent is used to finishing fights quickly they can can often times fade over the distance. This could be the case here.”

Lewis Long, who is part of the main event for this card, holds a victory over Matt Inman. Inman believes that if both fighters win, they could meet again and that the result could be different,

“Yeah if we both win here and Cage Warriors want to make that fight potentially for the title if (Karl) Amoussou is not going to defend then I’d be down. Lew (Long) is a very good fighter and he hammered me when we fought but I believe I’ve improved a lot since then.”

As for the bigger dream? When asked if the English fighter sees a future of being signed by an American promotion, Inman dreams of earning a comfortable living but just loves to fight,

“Hope so. Love to fight so don’t mind too much where I do it, it’s more about the journey of self improvement for me but everyone dreams of being able to make a comfortable living doing what they love and a large US organisation might be the only way for that to be truly viable at the minute.”

Matt Inman fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC Fight Pass and on BT Sport via the red button.

Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:

  • Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
  • Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
  • Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
  • Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
  • Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)
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