Analysis

Cage Warriors 164 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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No UFC over the extended Thanksgiving weekend? No problem! Just because MMA‘s top promotion is silent on the Saturday after the holiday, it doesn’t make it a Saturday without the best in competitive violence.

While some of college football’s top rivalries play out this weekend inside the United States, combat sports fans inside the United Kingdom will be looking forward to a different kind of kickoff this weekend: Either a leg kick or a kick to the head.

Graham Boylan‘s Cage Warriors sets up shop in Newcastle for Cage Warriors 164, the promotion’s penultimate card of 2023.

Middleweight Belt Up For Grabs in Cage Warriors 164 Co-Main Event

Cage Warriors 164 is currently slated to feature 11 total bouts, absent of any further cancellations between now and then. One title fight scheduled to take place during this card was lost when Cage Warriors blow-by-blow announcer Brad Wharton revealed that a planned light heavyweight bout matching Andy Clamp with Matthew Byfield got scrubbed when the latter withdrew from the show.

Directly before the battle for the Vacant Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship. part one of the doubleheader sees the middleweight title up for grabs. Incumbent champion Mick Stanton (12-7 MMA, 9-5 CWFC) puts his title on the line when he takes on challenger Dario Bellandi (6-1 MMA, 4-1 CWFC) in a five-round fight at five minutes per round.

Cage Warriors 164 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the Cage Warriors 164 co-main event on Saturday night, Dario Bellandi stands as the taller man at 6-foot-3, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Mick Stanton. The latter owns a 74-inch reach, with no such information available for the former at press time.

As of late Thursday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Mick Stanton installed as a -170 favorite on the money line, with Dario Bellandi countering as a +130 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Stanton Seeking Another Successful Defense of Strap in Cage Warriors 164 Co-Main Event

Champion Mick Stanton enters the Cage Warriors 164 co-main event having posted a record of 4-1 over his last five fights, with all four of those wins coming under the Cage Warriors banner. At the present time, he’s on a three-fight winning streak.

Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout (punches) of James Webb (9-5-1 MMA, 7-5-1 CWFC) on July 21 in Cage Warriors 157. After the fight, he discussed his maturation as a fighter with Edith LaBelle backstage.

“I am getting better,” Stanton said. “I’m evolving. My confidence is growing and you’ve seen the old boxing come out, you know? I’ve been at it for a very long time and I can do everything. The question is: ‘How do you beat Mick Stanton?'”

Throughout the better part of the past year, Mick Stanton has proven to be one difficult case to solve. The only man who’s gotten past Stanton of late was Marcin Wojcik (19-8 MMA), who stopped him by first-round submission (rear-naked choke) during a showcase bout at light heavyweight in August of 2022 during PFL 8. 

Bellandi to Play the Heel

In the other corner, Dario Bellandi has posted a 4-1 record of his own over the last five fights. Currently, he’s won four bouts in succession.

A pro since March of 2019, he most recently defeated Naglis Kanisauskas (6-3 MMA, 1-2 CWFC) by unanimous decision after three rounds in Cage Warriors 158 on July 29 Not only is Bellandi set to face a challenging adversary in the Cage Warriors 164 co-main event, he’ll need to win in hostile territory.

He’s picked up wins in his home country of Italy in each of his last two contests, but now he heads to the UK, where the fans won’t be in his corner. It will be a partisan crowd for Mick Stanton, who hails from Liverpool.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Expect plenty of fireworks in the Cage Warriors 164 co-main event this weekend. The fighter who lands the first big punch could be the one leaving Newcastle with the belt.

Look for Stanton to Land the Knockout

Mick Stanton mentioned that his boxing prowess came out in his last fight against James Webb. It stands to reason that he could score the knockout again this time.

During the first round of a scheduled three in July, Webb tested Stanton with punches before the latter walked against the cage fence while counterpunching with a shot of his own. The pace of the fight was slowed while both men stalked each other.

Webb briefly became the aggressor with a flurry of shots, but his momentum was ill-fated, despite Stanton absorbing strikes to the body. With about a minute to go in the round, Stanton landed a crisp punch to knock Webb down, finishing him off with some ground and pound.

Watch for Bellandi to Go to the Mat

In the other corner, Dario Bellandi is extremely adept at scoring the submission. Round two of his fight against Joan Arastey saw the latter catch a kick to go into half-guard, yet Bellandi reversed position and apply the torque for a triangle choke. He locked it up in 53 seconds

Final Thoughts

Who needs football on Saturday when you’ve got two championship fights to watch? Tell the running back to grab some pine.

Prediction: Mick Stanton by Unanimous Decision.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.

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