Cage Warriors is set to return to the fighting city of Belfast, with Justin Burlinson’s call-out granted for the vacant welterweight strap in this high-stakes clash on the Emerald Isle. Cage Warriors 140: Belfast will take place Saturday the 25th of June at the SSE Arena Belfast, headlined by Northern Ireland’s Rhys McKee and Sunderland’s Justin Burlinson. The prelims will begin at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT/7:30 PM BST – The main card will start at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT/9:00 PM BST. The entire event will be available on the UFC Fight Pass.
Cage Warriors 140: Belfast Main Event – Rhys McKee vs Justin Burlinson
Hometown-hero, Rhys McKee takes on the talented Justin Burlinson for more than just bragging rights and hometown pride this Saturday, as the highly-acclaimed promotion looks to name either man king of the welterweight division. With a record of 11-4-1, the Cage Warriors veteran Rhys McKee aims to regain control of his career after a tough stint in the UFC (where ‘Skeletor’ took two losses to Alex Morono and Khamzat Chimaev). Now in the winner’s circle with a finish over Aleksi Mäntykivi, McKee looks well on his way to regaining some of the hype surrounding the Northern Irish fighter.
Justin Burlinson is also on a 1-fight win streak, after his submission victory over Daniel Skibinski at Cage Warriors 135. With a record of 7-1, Burlinson is still considered a solid prospect in British MMA due to his near-flawless and extensive amateur career, as well as his impressive pro career. Burlinson’s only loss of his pro career was to Lohan Lianesse on Dana White’s Contender Series. However, Justin Burlinson has been able to attain huge success in major promotions like Bellator and more recently Cage Warriors. A win over the talented Rhys McKee and a title around his waist may be the boost Justin Burlinson needs to start making a name for himself outside the UK.
Cage Warriors 140: Belfast Co-Main Event – Caolan Loughran vs Festus Ahorlu
The co-main takes us to bantamweight for an undefeated showdown when Ireland’s Caolan Loughran takes on Ghanaian, Festus Ahorlu. Both holding professional records of 5-0. Loughran has competed in the promotion once before at Cage Warriors 135 where he finished Bakhtyaar Oryakhail in round 2. Training out of Team Kaobon Liverpool, Loughran knows exactly what this opportunity with Cage Warriors means, as stated in his Cage Warriors debut, post-fight interview:
‘I know exactly what I have to do. I have to win the Cage Warriors belt, and I’m in the UFC.’
This fire in the young Irish talent will be tested against his equally ambitious counterpart, Festus Ahorlu. Hailing from Ghana, West Africa, Ahorlu mirrors Loughran’s record almost perfectly, with Loughran earning 4-finishes and Ahorlu earning 2-finishes in their short careers. This fight is a pivotal moment in both young fighters’ careers, with potential title implications in the near future.
Rest of the Card
McKee vs Burlinson isn’t the only welterweight bout on the main card, with Ireland’s James Sheehan taking on Frenchman Martin Causse, both competitors are early in their careers and both riding a 3-fight win streak.
Undefeated Italian prospect Federico Pasquali takes on the slightly more experienced Harry ‘Houdini’ Hardwick, in a test to see whether Pasquali has what it takes to compete at the high-end of the Cage Warriors featherweight division. The Italian has earned 4 straight finishes in his last few fights, a number he will look to increase this upcoming Saturday.
Undefeated Irishman Ryan Shelley looks to continue his record to 5-0 this weekend against Northern Ireland’s Matthew Elliot, who is also undefeated. Shelley’s last outing at Cage Warriors 135 saw him continue his 100% finish rate over Magdi Gereev, will Shelley claim another victim or will Elliot prevail as the victor? Tune in to Cage Warriors 140: Belfast to find out.