The UFC may have been forced to shelve its London event this weekend, but some fights that were scheduled for the card could will take place in the English capital thanks to the Cage Warriors promotion.
Cage Warriors 113 is set to go ahead on Friday night, likely behind closed doors, and over the weekend president Graham Boylan revealed that he was working with the UFC in an attempt to help out some of the fighters who had been affected by the cancellation of Saturday’s UFC event at the o2 Arena.
“We have been trying to save a couple of the UFC London fights and have them compete at the show as contracted UFC fights on Cage Warriors,” Boylan told MMA Junkie. “I’m just trying to help the fighters not miss out on competing. It may or may not happen, as it’s a fast-moving situation and trying to pull all the moving parts together is super tricky.”
Boylan’s proposal has seemingly gone down well with the UFC brass – which is no massive surprise considering Cage Warriors events are live streamed on UFC’s Fightpass service. The first bout to jump over to the Cage Warriors card is the middleweight bout between John Phillips and Dusko Todorovic, and more could soon follow.
— Graham Boylan 🇮🇪 ☘️ (@GrahamBoylan) March 16, 2020
BettingPro.com will be previewing those fights as they are announced, so read on for our free UFC London (via Cage Warriors 113) predictions & tips for FRIDAY NIGHT (not Saturday night)…
John Phillips v Dusko Todorovic
When a fighter has nicknames like ‘The White Mike Tyson’ and ‘The Welsh Wrecking Machine’ you know what you are going to get from them. John Phillips made a career out of his heavy hands as he knocked out opponent after opponent in the minor leagues of MMA, but the transition to the UFC has been a difficult one for the 34-year-old.
Phillips began his career in the ‘premier league’ of mixed martial arts with three straight defeats, tapping out to both Charles Byrd and Kevin Holland before dropping a split decision to fellow countryman Jack Marshman a year ago, but he brought a halt to the worst losing run of his career as he destroyed Alen Amedovski inside 17 seconds last September and he will now look to win back-to-back fights for the first time since 2016 when he takes on Dusko Todorovic in a fight that was supposed to take place on the UFC’s London card but is now being hosted on the behind-closed-doors Cage Warriors 113 event.
So will Phillips be successful against UFC newcomer Todorovic? The 25-year-old Serbian landed his shot with the UFC last August when he claimed a decision win over Teddy Ash as part of the Dana White’s Contender Series, and he goes into this contest boasting a perfect record of 9-0. He does have a couple of notable names on his record in Kazuo Takahashi and Michel Pereira, but Tanahashi is a washed up 51-year-old and Pereira is hardly a stand-out. So how much we can ready into those victories, I am not so sure.
Phillips is hardly an in-his-prime, upper echelon fighter but this is good match-making for him. The Welshman’s weakness is his ground game, as evidenced by his five submission losses, but Todorovic is a kickboxer at heart so this should be a stand-up scrap. If that is the case then anything can happen. The Serbian is the bookmakers’ favourite, but Phillips has 20 KO/TKO wins in his career and he has been stopped by TKO on only two occasions – once in only his second professional fight 14 years ago and once via doctor’s stoppage due to a nasty cut. Could Todorovic outpoint him over three rounds? Yes. But could Phillips land one big bomb to spring an upset? Of course. I like the chances of him doing just that.
Darren Stewart v Bartosz Fabianski
This fight has been cobbled together at short notice after the UFC scrapped its London card, so there is an element of the unknown because Darren Stewart and Bartosz Fabianski have not had much time to prepare for each other. Could we see an upset? Stranger things have happened. But I simply have to go with Stewart here. ‘The Dentist’ is enjoying a solid run of form right now, having gone 4-1 in his last five fights for the UFC, while Fabianski has been out of action since tapping out to Michel Prazeres almost 18 months ago. Stewart will use his superior striking and power to keep Fabianski at bay, prevent the takedowns and grind out a decision win on the scorecards.
Paddy Pimblett v Decky Dalton
There was a time were Paddy Pimblett was being hailed as one of the next big stars to come out of the UK scene, but despite Cage Warriors’ insistence on pushing him as a star his stock has dropped off in recent years. First there was the lucky decision win over Julian Erosa that concluded with him vomiting in the cage post-fight, and in his very next outing he suffered the first defeat of his career. Pimblett has now lost two of his last three outings and he will be desperate to stop the rot against late stand-in Decky Dalton. He should do just that. While Pimblett is in a funk results-wise, he should have too much for Dalton here and a submission victory is the most likely outcome.