In a little more than two weeks time, an important landmark event takes place for the Cage Titans promotion, Cage Titans 40. For the promotions 40th event, the crew returns to its hub, Plymouth Memorial Hall. On August 18th, nearly every active Cage Titans champion defends their title. Making for an extraordinarily anticipated card.
Champions not Defending
Those who aren’t set to defend on August 18th, professional lightweight champion, Dan Dubuque and women’s amateur bantamweight Taylor Thompson. Thompson withdrew from the previous Cage Titans card, CTFC 39 due to a foot injury and is still in the recovery process. As for Dubuque, other conflicts held him from defending on the August card.
Cage Titans 40 Features 5 Title Fights
Four champions defend their titles at Cage Titans 40. The amateur flyweight, lightweight, and welterweight belts are on the line as well as the professional bantamweight title. Additionally, a fifth vacant belt will be fought for, the amateur featherweight title. Fighting for that belt is surging amateur prospect, Aaron Hughes and Kenny Champion.
Hughes vs. Champion
Hughes began his MMA career with a frustrating 0-3 start. His struggles didn’t continue as he went on to claim three consecutive victories all by way of stoppage. Fighting out of Regiment Training Center and occasionally getting looks at Sityodtong Boston, Hughes looks to continue his resurgence.
Kenny Champion makes his return to Cage Titans upon challenging for the vacant amateur featherweight belt. Champion made his Cage Titans debut at CTFC 35 when he took on Antoine Caparotta. Unfortunately for the man named Champion, he lost his only Cage Titans bout. Since his disappointing performance in Plymouth, Champion earned a unanimous decision victory over Justin Kristie at Premier FC 25.
This opportunity to fight for the vacant title came to fruition when the previous Cage Titans amateur featherweight champion, Chris Sniger vacated his belt. Sniger chose to vacate his belt in favor of turning pro. His story is not dissimilar to the story of the amateur bantamweight title and the women’s amateur flyweight title.
Disappointment also struck the women’s amateur flyweight title. Former titleholder, Kylie O’Hearn suffered a last minute withdrawal from her last scheduled title fight. O’Hearn was set to face Taylor Thompson at Cage Titans 39 for Thompson’s bantamweight title. A foot injury forced Thompson from the fight just three days before the event.
For the bantamweight title, Jacobo Apito also decided to turn pro. In his circumstance, the decision comes after a disappointing few months. Apito earned the amateur bantamweight belt when he defeated highly touted Will Smith. At the time, the title was vacant. The victory was satisfying as the two put on a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance. What didn’t satisfy the Redline Fight Sports fighter was the matchmaking following his victory.
Immediately after earning the bantamweight title, Apito aggressively went after amateur lightweight champion, Chris O’Brien. In interviews and social media, the Boston fighter attempted to coerce a showdown between the two.
Raposo v. Graustuck
Raposo looks to retain his title when he faces William Graustuck. This bout represents a rematch. The two squared off in January at CTFC 37. Raposo dominated the matchup, earning a unanimous decision victory. The win set up the highly ranked Raposo to a matchup with John Lessard for the vacant amateur flyweight title. With a 3-0 record and top New England ranking, there is not much left for the dominant fighter to capture in the amateur ranks.
For Graustuck, this is an important opportunity. There were not many suitors willing to challenge Raposo for his flyweight title. Graustuck was the one who stepped up in the midst of crickets to accept the challenge. It is quite possible his stock could rise even without a victory.
His last performance against Raposo saw him get utterly dominated. The now amateur champion controlled the entirety of three rounds in the first matchup. Anything improving upon that against an extremely dominant and young fighter would outline improvements in his game.
O’Brien v. Bienia
When it comes to the amateur lightweight title, the New England rankings are to thank for the Cage Titans 40 matchup. South Shore Sportfighting product Chris O’Brien has coveted the #1 amateur lightweight ranking since the beginning of his MMA journey and the challenger, Matt Bienia occupies a top ten spot on that list*.
Bienia is the Reality Fighting amateur lightweight champion. He earned the belt by defeating Nathan Ghareeb by submission in the third round of the fight for the promotions vacant title. He makes his Cage Titans debut alongside Zen Quest teammate Neil von Flatern whom also challenges for a title.
Gudde v. Von Flatern
Von Flatern challenges for the amateur welterweight title, currently held by Trevor Gudde. Gudde earned his title at CFTC 38 when he defeated Marty Navis by unanimous decision. His victory over Navis was the second in the amateur ranks. The two battled out to a split decision result in favor of Gudde the first time the two met. Gudde trains out of Florian Martial Arts in Boston and holds an undefeated record of 5-0.
His challenger, Von Flatern comes into the matchup following the first loss of his career. At Kaged Kombat FC 25, Travis Simpson defeated Von Flatern by retirement in between the 2nd and 3rd round. The victory earned Simpson the promotions welterweight title.
‘Cupcakes’ v. Perrin
The main event of Cage Titans 40 puts the professional bantamweight title on the line. Johnny ‘Cupcakes’ Campbell holds the professional bantamweight strap. His challenger, Jay Perrin occupies the number one contender position in the division.
This matchup has been waiting to be made for a long time. In January, at Cage Titans 37, after Perrin defeated Mark Frisk by submission, promotion owner, and match-maker, Mike Polvere, brought Johnny Campbell into the cage. The group spoke as if a bantamweight title fight was on the horizon. Yet, it took Perrin one more victory to solidify a title shot and the promotion two events to schedule the matchup.
With 5 titles on the line, Cage Titans 40 should be an exciting ride from start to finish. Besides the 5 title fights, other exciting prospects make the walk at the promotions 40th event. Randy Costa makes a quick return to the cage after earning a dominant 46 second TKO victory at CTFC 39. Elsewhere on the card, South Shore Sportfighting’s undefeated Danielle Hindley takes on Vanessa Marie-Grimes.
*Rankings by Tapology.com