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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 1 November 2020

Uncaged: Cage Warriors 72 title fight rocked by late withdrawal but still plenty on offer

Nicolas Dalby won’t now defend his welterweight title against Gael Grimaud but Cory Tait and Toni Tarau do meet for the vacant bantamweight belt.

Welterweight champion Nicolas Dalby will have to wait until November.
Welterweight champion Nicolas Dalby will have to wait until November.

THE HEX OF fighter injuries that has plagued the UFC of late has spread to Cage Warriors, as news emerged yesterday that Gael Grimaud has been forced to withdraw from his headlining welterweight title bout with the champion Nicolas Dalby at CWFC 72 in Newport, Wales.

Grimaud informed Cage Warriors officials on Friday that he would be unable compete after an injury to the lumber region of his back recurred. The former champion, who was dethroned by Cathal Pendred last year, was on a two-fight winning streak ahead of his showdown with undefeated Dalby. Subsequently, there had been plenty of anticipation surrounding the match-up.

It was to be Dalby’s first title defence, which will now take place in November at the Copper Box Arena, London. However, it will not be against Grimaud, because the challenger has now twice pulled out of the bout due to the same injury, so Dalby will defend his belt against Mohsen Bahari on 15 November.

Although such a late setback is a massive blow for the event, all is not lost. The show at the Newport Centre will now be closed out by Cory Tait and Toni Tarau as they square off for the vacant bantamweight title.

Source: Cage Warriors TV/YouTube

Superficially at least, this one has all the hallmarks of the classic striker vs grappler match-up. Tait is a dynamic and powerful kick-boxer, while Tarau has one of the most lethal submission games on the European circuit.

If Tait is to overcome this considerable obstacle he will become the first English Cage Warriors’ champion in three years. However, Tarau’s previous six opponents have all been unable to do so. He must utilise his superior athleticism and size, thwart the Fin’s takedown attempts, and ensure things play out on the feet, where he enjoys a notable advantage.

Tait may have submission wins on his resume, including his previous fight, but he should be acutely aware that engaging Tarau in a grappling contest would be ill-advised. Both men will be making their sophomore appearance for the promotion, with each having won their respective debuts in impressive fashion. So, to fight for a title at such an early stage, represents a fantastic opportunity.

Source: Cage Warriors TV/YouTube

Keep an eye out for former UFC fighter Che Mills, another vanquished foe of Cathal Pendred, as he fights at middleweight for the second time against Jack Marshman. A convincing win for either is likely to put them in the discussion for a shot at Jack Hermansson’s title.

Additionally, in the lightweight division, 6-0 Pole Mateusz Gamrot faces the local lad Tim Newman, who is returning to the promotion after almost two years fighting elsewhere. Still relatively unknown, Gamrot has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Conversely, Newman will have a triple threat of pressure on his shoulders in bouncing back from a loss, impressing his new employers and satisfying his hometown crowd, which may prove pivotal.

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About the author:

Tom Rooney

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