It’s that time of the week again folks. Fighters are stepping up to the scales, going over last minute techniques and preparing for battle. Yes, it’s Pundit Arena’s weekly preview of all the best MMA fights on offer this weekend.
Cage Warriors and Invicta are on the menu this weekend with the former dishing up two main card attractions on the one night. Two belts are on the line from Newcastle’s Metro Centre tomorrow night. Meanwhile overseas, Invicta’s Flyweight title is up for grabs.
Let’s get right to it.
Alex Enlund (10-2) V Nad Narimani (7-1) – Cage Warriors 73 – From 7pm – Setanta Sports 1 & www.irishmma.tv
In the first of two belts on the line, Enlund takes on Narimani for the promotion’s vacant featherweight belt. Enlund is coming off a three fight win streak and hopes to make it a memorable fourth victory by obtaining gold. Enlund has 9 submissions to his credit and has never been to the judges. Coming off back to back wins via rear naked choke against Artem Lobev and Danny Lawson, the Brit is a firm favourite to win this contest.
It would however be foolish to discount his opponent Nad Narimani who is also coming off two submission victories, also by rear naked choke. It is certainly a contest that will delight fans and promises to be a very technical battle.
Should the contest stay on the feet, I would give the edge to Narimani who delivers some textbook boxing technique and certainly displayed that in his fight against Harvey Dines.
An intriguing contest and one certainly not to be missed.
Steven Ray (C) (15-5) V Curt Warburton (13-5) – Cage Warriors 73 – From 7pm – Setanta Sports 1 & www.irishmma.tv
In the second main event of the evening, a heated and very tasty trilogy will come to a close as Scottish lightweight champion Steven Ray takes on Newcastle born, Curt Warburton.
Trilogies are a rarity in mixed martial arts and this is certainly one that has been boiling over for quite some time going back to British promotion BAMMA when Warburton first beat the current champion by unanimous decision.
Revenge is certainly a dish best served cold and in the second encounter between the two earlier on this year when Ray beat Warburton by split decision to take the belt back to Scottish soil.
The decider takes place tomorrow and in truth there really is nothing to separate these two fighters.
Ray however, is an excellent submission fighter with 7 submission victories to his record. Warburton has excellent knock out power and has 4 big KO/TKO victories in his fighting career.
Steven Ray has never been knocked out in his professional career and this may be something that will play on the mind of the challenger. Ray is such an elusive fighter on the feet but with a home crowd backing Warburton to the hilt, anything could happen on the night.
It’s a toss up fight in truth and one that will end a fiercely competitive trilogy between two excellent lightweight fighters.
Barb Honchak (C) (9-2) V Takayo Hashi (15-4-1) – Invicta FC 9 – From 2am – UFC Fight Pass
There are those fighters that go on streaks and everybody takes notice. In the case of current flyweight champion, Barb Honchak, she may as well have taken a bulldozer through the division. This is how incredibly gifted this 35 year old is. With so much heart and desire, she brings a huge wealth of experience into the cage and she may very well need it against Japan’s Takayo Hashi.
Since joining Invicta FC in 2012, Honchak is on a four fight win streak and looks to successfully defend her title yet again. There have been critics of Honchak however who state that she hasn’t delivered that killer blow. Her last 3 fights have all gone her way by unanimous decision and the American will look to silence the critics by finishing Hashi in devastating fashion.
Hashi makes her Invicta FC debut and what a way to do it in the main event. Hashi’s form has not been as clear cut as her opponent and comes into this fight with two wins and a draw already this year.
Hashi had been out of action for almost 2 years prior to 2014 and ring rust may be a factor in this contest especially against a high level opponent such as Honchak.
The 37 year old brings in a lot of fight experience into this contest and also has a very dangerous ground game. Hashi did change her training camp to focus more on her boxing and power shots and she recorded her first TKO victory earlier on this year which is something that Honchak will need to be wary of.
This writer feels that Honchak has a far better skill set and is an all rounder. Having dispatched some of the big names in the flyweight division, this should be a comfortable victory for the current champion.
And there we have it fight fans. Three of the biggest fights of the weekend have been previewed but there are still a lot of explosive bouts on offer. Of course, all of the biggest talking points will follow this Tuesday for ‘The Tuesday Takedown’.
Until then, enjoy the fights.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena.