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Cage Titans 23 Event Preview

The single greatest promotion in New England continues to amaze fans with their outstanding matchmaking and storied titles, with this April's installment being no different. Professional champions will return, amateur titles will be contested for once again, and the brand will fold in a few cancelled bouts from outside the promotion and bring them back to life; showing what the regional fight game is all about. Read on and have a taste of what awaits us April 18th.

Frank Sforza vs Taylor Trahan

145lb Professional Title

Having taken time away to establish his career, Sforza was left content in all things except one; a competitive fire burning in his belly by the day. Putting on the gloves once again and dismantling his last opponent, Sforza broke off the ring rust and will now dust off his professional Featherweight title, daring anyone to step forward and pry it from his iron grip. One of the best functional wrestlers in the reg...ion, Sforza made a name for himself early on with blazing shots and tenacious grappling, not giving an inch of space once he’d gotten his hands on an opponent. A natural talent at blending his hard-nose wrestling with submissions and tight boxing, Sforza has all the pieces of the championship puzzle and will look to prove the time away simply hardened his resolve for perfection in the cage.

Opposite Sforza we have a steely competitor that fights like a buoy in a bucking sea; unshaken no matter what comes his way. Taylor Trahan is a rock within the chaotic maelstrom of MMA, being able to focus on the task at hand and work within his own game plans, a talent for patient execution that he’s used to great success in the cage. With a wealth of skill, outstanding physical conditioning, and all the X-factors of a championship fighter, Trahan will surely impress in his bid for title gold.

This is a thriller of a main event, as Sforza and Trahan are two sides of the same coin; both pressure-based wrestlers, with Sforza being the more aggressive and Trahan being the most patient. Gears will grind madly as Sforza puts pedal to the metal and looks to crush Trahan to pieces against the cage, while a moment of weakness is all that’s needed for Trahan to hurl Sforza to the mat and drop the hammer on the defending champ. Its five rounds of bone-jarring violence with gold and glory on the line, under the hot lights of Cage Titans.

Remo Cardarelli vs Andy Aiello

125lb Professional

Battered and broken in championship rounds, Cardarelli walked into the main event of Cage Titans 21 as iron, but tested in the crucible of combat, will return as true steel. A natural talent on the mat with innate balance and flow, Cardarelli is seldom out of options, even in a pitched battle, incrementally advancing and hunting for the win. With youth on his side and a hunger for knowledge and victory alike, Ca...rdarelli will look to silence the naysayers with a breakout performance.

While “technical brawler” is an oxymoron, it’s the most apt description of the granite-chinned, offense-minded Andy Aiello. A stalking fighter, Aiello forces opponents to meet him face-to-face; fighters stalling out on takedowns like a wave hitting a coastal cliff, or bouncing fists of his face and winding up staring up at the ceiling. It’s the recipe for a bad night for foes and a great night for fans, any time Aiello steps into the cage.

This is an interesting fight in terms of where Cardarelli is at in his career, having faced a similarly durable opponent last time out and being found wanting in late rounds. While this bout isn’t for a title, it is a major milestone for both fighters, with Cardarelli needing a show-stopping win to keep the dream alive, while Aiello needs to remind people of who he is with so few fights logged in his career. Cardarelli will need to break the unbreakable, while Aiello will need to force Cardarelli into a dog fight and beat him to a pulp; both angles making for a one-of-a-kind clash in the cage.

Fighter Profile: Manny Bermudez

Fighters can be born and fighters can be made; genetics and hardwork interchangeable to varying degrees. True champions, however, are those who are gifted right out of the gate, yet work as if they have every disadvantage; erasing every variable and replacing chance with success.

The qualities that define Manny Bermudez are the same that accent world-caliber fighters gracing marquees at the big show: Uncanny balance, surety o...f movement, and a mind on a swivel; no situation too confounding to find the advantage in the chaos. These birthrights are further tempered by a true passion for all things martial, needing combat knowledge as readily as oxygen. Hard-won skill and a desire for greatness will set his star to shine in Plymouth in his professional debut; a legendary path hewn into the Cage Titans history.

Sean Lally vs Addison O'Neil

170lb Professional

A warrior that has honed his craft, both inside the gym and in the United States Army, Sean Lally will show his hard-won skills in the CT cage. A high-octane striker with opportunistic takedowns, Lally sets a blistering pace, throwing a stream of hooks with ill intentions attached to each one. Nerves of steel and fists of stone, Lally stands as a brutal test for anyone in the 170lb division.

A fighter moving up fro...m Lightweight, Addison O’Neil will seek to harness his blazing speed and use it against the larger fighters of the welterweight division. O’Neil moves like a bullet, able to close distance and lay knuckles on his foe before they know they’re in danger; momentum just as easily directed into scoop and drive that sees opponents crushed the mat. Now waging war at a weight class more appropriate to his size, O’Neil comes to the cage as a true threat, with three rounds of endurance, but a savage edge that could see it over in a mere second.

This is a great test for both fighters, as Lally is jumping into the deep end in an attempt to get back on track in his fight career, while O’Neil is testing a new division and taking on someone guaranteed to try his heart and stamina. While Lally has that innate power a lucky few are born with, O’Neil has the larger bag of tricks and significant ring time with dangerous competitors. It’s a fight that can play out over three rounds or see one man abruptly sent to the canvas, the potential for violence heavy in the air when these two face off.

Pat McCrohan vs Shane Mulligan

185lb Amateur Title

While some people fight like a submarine; launching sneaky attacks before floating out of range, McCrohan fights like an ole-tyme battle ship; pulling up alongside a foe and unloading the cannons until there’s nothing left of them. Using his footwork to remain firmly in an opponent’s face, being able to withstanding a hellish amount of damage, and more than happy to throw punches from bell to bell, McCrohan is as ...relentless as the tides. With a hard-nose wrestling style to round out his killer offensive game, McCrohan will enter the CT cage and look to hoist the vacant Middleweight title.

With simmering eyes locked on that same strap, Shane “The Future” Mulligan will take that walk with decades of elite tutelage at his back. Hand-groomed by the sharpest fight minds in New England combat sports and from a bloodline of battle-hardened madmen, Mulligan will look to showcase years of polish under the bright Cage Titan lights.

This is a major sink or swim moment for both undefeated fighters, with McCrohan having had the rougher road to this title opportunity, while Mulligan has been rehabbing and grinding the axe outside of competition. It comes down to Mulligan being able to execute his high-level arsenal in the face of someone intent on shattering the returning fighter and walking away unblemished. With raw power and heart at maximum capacity, this is a fight where all cylinders must be firing for one man to snatch victory from hungry hands.

Jeff Perez vs Mark Cardarelli

145lb Amateur Title

A fighter patiently honing his craft day by day, Perez snatched the amateur Featherweight title in his last bout, and isn’t keen to give it away anytime soon. A highly technical martial artist across all aspects of the fight game, Perez has meticulous ground control and some of the most underrated pure boxing in the region, his strikes tinged with a bit of kung fu flair. A crushing puncher and resilient like an oa...k tree, Perez will test Cardarelli every step of the way in this title tilt.

Knuckles that read like road map of the Rocky Mountains; arms like knotted wood; black eyes that have seen it all in the gym with the fight game holding no more surprises; Mark Cardarelli is seeking a mighty trophy. A late-comer to the sport, Cardarelli makes up for lost time by packing action into every moment of his bouts, never sitting still and setting a grueling pace for opponents.

This is a tremendous jump in competition for Cardarelli, yet with age comes confidence and wisdom; the mental pitfalls that trip other fighters long ago ironed out of his psyche. Matching raw strength, punching power and pure heart, Cardarelli could set a pace and tone to the fight that makes Perez regret he ever won a coveted title, while Perez will need to showcase the technical edge that’s seen him rip apart the best in the division. Regardless of outcome, we’re treated to two of the heartiest competitors in the division on one of New England’s biggest stages.

Devin Carrier vs Jacob Weeks

155lb Amateur

One of the brightest young fighters in the Lauzon MMA stable, Devin Carrier will continue his run in the Lightweight division, stacking up scalps and accolades along the way. A kickboxer that fights like a human metronome, Carrier seamlessly snakes through his foe’s defense and rips combination after combination into his target. A wily grappler with a knack for scrambles and smart use of his long limbs, Carrier is ...built to finish fights, with only the toughest Lightweights able to withstand his fury.

A skillful fighter in his own right, Jacob Weeks will return to Cage Titans and seek to derail the surging Carrier. Weeks greatest attribute is his level of comfort in any situation, always working towards improving position or attacking, no matter what is thrown his way. Adept off his back, with takedowns and with a functional striking game, Weeks makes for a hard night for fighting for any man walking into the cage to face him.

This is a fantastic pairing of two young talents, with Carrier having the ultra-crisp striking game and scrambles, while Weeks has a larger overall tool box and has been in there with the stiffer competition. Win, lose, or draw, these fighters will elevate each other to new heights within the amateur ranks; iron sharpening iron and the victor being a short step away from the Cage Titans championship.

Yorgan De Castro vs Sean Evans

205lb Amateur

One of the many quality products from Lauzon MMA, Yorgen De Castro will put it on the line again at Cage Titans. A pinpoint accurate boxer, Castro is a cannon when he needs to be, battering his opponent with frightening power, yet a ghost when his adversary is looking to counter; infuriating in his persistence to hit and avoid the same. Using his long shots to touch on his foes, Castro looks to create a no man’s ...land that extends to the end of his hands, keeping fighters from doing anything but weathering his constant offense.

If anyone is equipped to deal with the consequences of Castro’s barrages, Sean Evans is that man. A fighter built like a block of iron, yet no stranger to the technical side, Castro can put the bone-jarring crush on foes or be feather light as he moves through positions with deceptive grace. A pure student of the game and with dedication to his craft, Evans looks to be better with every journey up those stairs into the cage.

This is a classic pairing, with Castro needing to stay busy with his hands and keep his bruising adversary at arm’s length, while Evans has to find smart entry to work his own game plan. With this being an astounding third attempt to put these two in the cage, expect little wasted time with nerves and tempers set to explode; months and months of training coming to a violent climax in Plymouth.

Arslan Otchiyev vs Max Barrett

135lb Amateur

A unique soul in the MMA world, Arslan Otciev will wield rarely seen judoka flare in the CT cage. A man built for functional strength and with a knack for the foot sweeps and throws that are a trademark to his art, Otciev will look to put on an exhibition, leaving his opponent in a heaving pile of twisted limbs on the mat.

As fearless a warrior as you’ll find, Max Barrett will dust himself off from his failed ti...tle bid and look to kick his adversary to bloody pieces. A ferociously powerful striker with an eagle eye for spotting openings, Barrett has an arm like a rifle and will always find the chin when it presents itself. Wicked on the counter and insurmountable when going toe-to-toe, playing a game of fisticuffs with Barrett is like playing Russian roulette with every chamber loaded.

This is my personal favorite pairing of the night, as Otciev has tremendous potential at Bantamweight, while Barrett is a proven commodity with a vicious temperament in the cage. Two distinct styles and both with their own flash and function, the winner of this contest will truly set themselves apart from the rest of the deadly pack, paving their way to greatness with the blood of tumultuous battle.

Fighter Profile: Alex Ortiz

A rare treasure in the Lightweight world, Ortiz will look to shine in his first venture at Cage Titans; title gold there for the taking. A unique offensive fighter, Ortiz has an understanding of range and angles that makes him entertaining to watch and miserable to fight; a weapon at the ready for any distance or situation. Opponents find themselves in a bewildering world of invisible jabs and vicious power snaking behind, with th...e senses overloaded in the face of mechanical fury. Adrenaline washed out by fear and options disappearing with every set of knuckles that lands home, Ortiz's opponents practically beg for the sweet surrender of unconsciousness, with the cheers for his victory a bitter lullaby.

Fighter Profile: Chris Mehu

One of the secret weapons in Nuri Shakir’s war chest, Chris Mehu will take the steps into the cage once again in Plymouth. Half spring and half vice, Mehu is poised to launch at a moment’s notice, with a slick takedown game and knack for hitting crushing chokeholds from dominant position. With intelligent use of his reach and an unparalleled work ethic, few fighters can step into the cage with Mehu and walk away in one piece; drea...ms of victory dashed cross the canvas in a heartbeat.

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Come out and support your favorite fighters at Cage Titans 23. The event takes place Saturday, April 18th at the Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Mass. Visit www.cagetitansfc.com for full event card and ticket information.

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