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Cage Warriors 112: Cartwright vs. Bilic preview

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Cage Warriors’ schedule for the year is set to be their busiest yet and it all kicks off this Saturday night with the organisation’s first ever show in Manchester, England. The BEC Arena plays host to a card which will help decide who the best bantamweight in the promotion is, as well as establishing top contenders in a couple of other divisions. Many fighters from the region are featured on the card where the next generation will be looking to make a name for themselves in the hope of advancing their careers.

In the main event, Jack Cartwright will be defending his bantamweight title for the first time against Austrian finisher, Manuel Bilic. Cartwright (7-0) burst onto the European scene last September when he knocked out two previous title challengers in the first round during a one-night tournament. The Mancunian intends to put on a show for his home town crowd and hopes to continue his 100% finishing rate in order to establish himself as one of the rising prospects on the continent.

Bilic (15-6) made his Cage Warriors debut last February and submitted Bryan Creighton by third round submission. He has been inactive since then but aims to spring an upset and announce himself as a bantamweight to watch. The 25-year-old is no stranger to facing talented fighters as he has previously shared the cage with UFC competitor, Khalid Taha, and Bellator standout, Adam Borics. Bilic has never been finished due to strikes and believes his 21 fight experience will be key to claiming the belt.

The evening’s co-headliner sees top welterweight contender, Adam Proctor, square off against undefeated, Madars Fleminas, in a bout which has title implications. Proctor (11-1) is riding a six-fight winning streak which includes victories over the likes of Nathan Jones, Ashley Reece and Olli Santalahti. The SBG South Shields fighter has a well-rounded game and believes that he is on a whole different level to his opponent. Proctor hopes that a win on Saturday night will kick start an active year, where he can prove he is the best welterweight in Europe.

Fleminas (7-0) has never tasted defeat in the professional game but is taking a step up in competition this weekend. He holds wins in Cage Warriors over Matthew Bonner and George Hardwick but is still searching for his first finish in the promotion. The 31-year-old will see this an as opportunity to propel himself right into the welterweight title picture and possibly face Northern Ireland’s Rhys McKee for the vacant title with a victory.

A middleweight clash between former champion, James Webb, and top contender, Mick Stanton, is another bout of consequence on the card. Webb (6-2-1) is looking to get right back into the win column after losing his belt via fourth round TKO to Nathias Frederick in November. The Team KF fighter has finished 5 of his 6 victories by submission so is likely to try and take this fight to the mat in order to set up another potential showdown for the title.

Stanton (6-3) has a boxing background and was a member of the England squad alongside the likes of Amir Khan and James DeGale. However, since his change of sport and gym, he has tended to rely more heavily on his grappling game during fights. ‘The Huyton Hammer’ is showing the best form of his career and impressed last October with a submission victory over Michael Younis, despite hurting his knee during the contest. Stanton was slightly disappointed to have not already been granted a middleweight title shot but knows that a win over the former champion means he can no longer be denied.

Elsewhere on the main card, UK MMA veteran, Martin Stapleton (19-7), returns to the cage to face promotional newcomer, Yassine Belhadj (6-2), at lightweight and former bantamweight title contender, Scott Malone (6-3), looks to climb back towards the top of the division when he takes on undefeated, Adam Wilson (4-0).

There are two interesting prospects to keep an eye on during the preliminary card who may have big careers ahead of them. Liam Gittins (5-0) was extremely impressive in his last outing when he outpointed slick striker, Adam Amarasinghe, and his aggressive style endears himself to fans immediately. Also, Northern Ireland’s Paul Hughes (4-0) returns to Cage Warriors hoping to prove he is a man to watch in the next wave of Irish talent, when in what on paper, could be the toughest fight of his career to date.

The Cage Warriors 112 main card will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass at 9pm GMT on Saturday night. Fans in the US can watch from 4pmET/3pmCT. Preliminary action can be viewed at cagewarriors.com at 6:30pm GMT in the UK/Ireland and from 1:30pmET/12:30pmCT in the US.

Bloody Elbow will be in attendance at the BEC Arena so stay tuned all weekend long for fight coverage and recaps.

Complete Cage Warriors 112 card:-

Main Card

Bantamweight Title – Jack Cartwright (c) vs Manuel Bilić

Welterweight – Madars Fleminas vs Adam Proctor

Lightweight – Yassine Belhadj vs Martin Stapleton

Middleweight – James Webb vs Mick Stanton

Bantamweight – Scott Malone vs Adam Wilson

Pro Prelims

Middleweight – Lukasz Marcinkowski vs George Smith

Bantamweight – Jonas Mågård vs Liam Gitiins

Bantamweight – Johan Segas vs Nathan Fletcher

Lightweight – Tom Mearns vs Steven Hooper

150lbs Catchweight – Youri Panada vs Paul Hughes

Welterweight – James Sheehan vs Kyran Sturrock

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