Cage Warriors returns to one of their most important markets this Saturday night when they touch down in Cardiff, Wales for the second time this calendar year. The Viola Arena plays host to one of Europe’s leading promotions at an event that hopes to give the next generation of Welsh talent a stage to shine. In the evening’s headliner, arguably the next big prospect to emerge from the region, Mason Jones, looks to remain undefeated and stake his claim to a lightweight title shot against the dangerous striker, Aleksi Mantykivi.
The man hailing from Finland is no stranger to Cage Warriors fans as he took on recent title challenger, Jack Grant, in Liverpool last September. Back then, Mantykivi (13-5) found himself in a similar situation to the one he finds himself in now: the underdog, travelling to his opponent’s backyard. However, despite coming up short last time around, Mantykivi caused Grant some problems and appeared to hurt his opponent with his powerful punches.
Following that loss, he went back to his home country and won his next two fights by knockout. He’s as confident as ever, returning to the promotion on Saturday.
“I’m a totally different fighter now compared to the last time I fought in Cage Warriors,” said Mantykivi. “Now I go into each fight as though it will be my last. I’m not going to play it safe ever again. This is not the first time I will step into hostile territory but I am prepared. I like the silence of home crowds when their guy loses.”
Mantykivi has finished 9 of his 13 wins before the final bell, a record that he intends on improving in front of that partisan crowd. However, Jones (7-0) is currently riding a lot of hype and believes he will take the torch from recent UFC signee, Jack Shore—to help carry Cage Warriors in Wales. He is undefeated and has shown very few chinks in his armour so far. A feat that is even more impressive considering he faced one of the toughest lightweights on the Cage Warriors roster, Donovan Desmae, last time out. Mantykivi won’t allow this to faze him, and believes Jones will be in for the toughest fight of his career this weekend.
“I’m better than anyone he has fought,” stated Mantykivi. “He is going to realize that when I get my hands on him. Jones is the perfect opponent for me as it’s good to ruin these unbeaten records. I’m the man to give him his first defeat because I am just on another level.”
The Finnish striker transitioned to MMA after kickboxing many years ago, so it is no surprise that he’ll be looking for a striking battle. A win over Jones would most likely catapult himself into the Cage Warriors lightweight title picture, and would add another stellar name to his list of victories—which includes former Cage Warriors champion, Soren Bak. When Bloody Elbow spoke to Mason Jones earlier this week, the Welsh favourite envisioned that he would finish his adversary in the second round. However, Mantykivi fired back a threatening prediction of his own.
“Mason Jones isn’t going to see the second round!”
Cage Warriors 108 can be viewed live on UFC Fight Pass at 9pm BST on Saturday night. Fans in the US can tune in to watch the card at 4pmET/3pmC.