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Irish fighter bids to emulate McGregor's two-weight Cage Warriors title triumph

There’s a big couple of months ahead on several fronts for Irish mixed martial arts.

Karl Moore celebrates after winning the Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title in March.
Karl Moore celebrates after winning the Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title in March.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

AFTER WINNING THE Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title back in March, Karl Moore vowed to challenge for the heavyweight belt next if a contract offer from the UFC didn’t arrive in the meantime.

With the UFC yet to make a move for the Belfast native, it has been confirmed that he’ll return to action with Cage Warriors on 25 November.

Moore (8-1) will headline the organisation’s first ever event in Belgium when he takes on Italian veteran Mauro Cerilli (10-2) at Cage Warriors 89 at the Lotto Arena in Antwerp.

The vacant heavyweight title will be on the line, which offers Moore an opportunity to emulate Conor McGregor by holding two Cage Warriors belts simultaneously.

McGregor won both the featherweight and lightweight titles for the UK-based organisation in 2012, before departing for the UFC where he repeated that feat last year.

Moore followed in the footsteps of another current UFC champion, Michael Bisping, by clinching the Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title with a unanimous-decision triumph against Josh Clark at Dublin’s 3Arena in March.

Instead of defending the belt, Moore — whose only professional defeat came against UFC light-heavyweight Paul Craig in 2015 — will now bid to win a second strap next month.

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship president Graham Boylan said: “Karl Moore has a huge opportunity to become our first two-weight world champion since Conor McGregor.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 14.26.31 Conor McGregor launched a successful career in the UFC by winning two Cage Warriors titles. Source: Dolly Clew

“If he’s successful in Antwerp on 25 November, I’m sure a lot of people — including the UFC — will be paying very close attention to him. But he has a tough test in front of him. Cerilli is tough and in good form. I’m looking forward to a great title fight.”

Moore’s heavyweight title bid is just one of several big fights on the horizon for some of the top Irish fighters outside the UFC.

On 22 October, popular Polish organisation KSW — who attracted over 57,000 spectators to an event in Warsaw earlier this year — will stage a show in Ireland for the first time.

There’s plenty of Irish interest on the card, which will be spearheaded by former Cage Warriors middleweight champion Chris Fields and ex-UFC duo Paul Redmond and Norman Parke.

Fields takes on Michal Fijalka, Redmond faces Lukasz Chlewicki and Parke will aim for revenge in a rematch against Mateusz Gamrot, who successfully defended the KSW lightweight title against the Antrim native via unanimous decision back in May.

The return to action of former KSW middleweight champion Michal Materla — who hasn’t fought since his KO win against Rousimar Palhares in October 2016 — is one of the other major attractions for what will be KSW’s second event outside Poland, following on from their 2015 visit to London’s Wembley Arena.

Source: KSW/YouTube

Another big night of MMA at the 3Arena will follow on 10 November, when Bellator and BAMMA team up once again for a joint promotion at the Dublin venue.

Undefeated featherweight James Gallagher will aim to pick up his eighth professional win when he goes up against Jeremiah Labiano in the main event on the Bellator 187 portion of the card.

Also on the Bellator bill, Wexford featherweight Brian Moore takes on Andre Goncalves and there’ll be an all-Irish affair between middleweights Charlie Ward and John Redmond.

Newtownards native Andy Young, the interim flyweight champion, will take on Daniel Barez at BAMMA 32, for which the card can be viewed here.

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