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Cage Titans 24 Fight Preview

Pound for pound, the best promotion in New England, Cage Titans will give us the amateur fights we crave, gritty pros doing battle, and the title bouts that shake the heavens. With another surefire sell-out this Saturday, check out what we're in store for:

Steve McCabe vs Fernando Perez:

145lb Professional

A savage, all-action striker, McCabe is set to show off the goods in Cage Titans yet again. Possessing a sharp eye from nearly a decade in the sport and harnessing searing hand speed, no defensive holes go unnoticed; McCabe’s fists screaming home with regularity. Armed with an exceptional right kick that deadens legs or strikes high and sends foes to the canvas in a pile, McCabe is geared for the KO from bell to bell.

A well-traveled battler that splits his cage time between the US and Peru, Perez is back stateside to ply his trade at Cage Titans once again. Perez is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, having a strong muay thai arsenal, quick wrestling takedowns and a deft submission grappling game. Using an uncanny ability to read opponents in the thick of the fight, Perez keeps his pace just a hair above the oppositions, stepping on the gas when the time is right to leave them in war-torn pieces.

There are few fighters in the region that will answer the phone and fight literally anyone put in front of them, yet these two have stepped in, sometimes on hours notice, and battled their hearts out for the fans. Now given a full camp, these two utterly fearless gentleman warriors will see who is truly the best of a dying breed.

Timothy Wheeler vs Nick Iaciofano:

125lb Professional

A hyper athlete looking to fight his way into the big show, Timothy Wheeler’s path to the UFC will take a turn up I-95 N and straight into Cage Titans. A fighter with reflexes on a hair trigger and true killer instinct, Wheeler has gutted the competition no matter if he finds himself waging war in MMA, kickboxing, or in the professional boxing ring. Set to shoot to the top like a rocket, Wheeler will explode on the CT cage and leave his adversary in bloody pieces.

A fighter who is always the hammer and never a nail, Iaciofano moved into the professional ranks with a pile of crumpled amateurs in his wake, and will seek to meet force with force on the 20th. A full-throttle offensive fighter, Iaciofano has never taken a step back his entire career, moving forward with the undeniable fury of a tidal wave and dashing foes across the canvas until there is nothing left.

This bout features an interesting dynamic, as both fighters have spent their careers moving ever forward, yet someone has to give on Saturday night. Whether it’s Wheeler who sees himself planted to the mat by the murderous might of Iaciofano, or the local who winds up scrambling on his heels in the face of the New Yorkers fistic fury, fans will be amazed at the sheer ferocity of this pairing. Flyweights move like nothing else in the cage, and these two have come too far to lay down their undefeated records without a vicious fight.

Steven Stengel vs Sean Lally:

180lb Professional

If idol hands do the Devil’s work, Stengel might be the saintliest fighter in New England; his fists never staying still long. A one-man riot, Stengel brings a brawler’s all-offense mentality with a bit of refined MMA flair, hunting for KO shots or the opportunity to hit a slam and drive his foe’s face into the mat. Rough around the edges and wild beyond belief when the bell sounds, you always know how he’ll play the game, regardless of opponent: Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

While Stengel has been putting in rounds in the cage, Sean Lally has been serving his country and will enter the CT cage looking to make up for lost time. A natural striker with terrifying power in both hands, no one has managed to stand toe-to-toe with Lally and come away with anything to show for it other than a battered face and a bruised record. Now logging his third fight in just five months, Lally will keep his star rising in the sport at the expense of his opponent.

Some fights play out like poetry in motion, but don’t count on this pairing producing anything other than bloodshed. Both beyond the idea of discomfort in pitched battle and with self-preservation fled as soon as the bell rings, this will be a mad cacophony of leather on flesh; bone on bone; blood on canvas, neither giving anything until bodies quit under the pressure.

Manny Bermudez vs Manny Torres:

145lb Professional

Fighters can be born and fighters can be made; genetics and hardwork interchangeable to varying degrees. To be gifted right out of the gate, yet work as if you have every disadvantage, takes a championship mindset; erasing every variable and replacing chance with success. The qualities that define Manny Bermudez are the same that accent elite fighters the world over: Uncanny balance, surety of movement, and a mind on a swivel; no situation too confounding to lose the advantage in the chaos. Tempered by a true passion for all things martial and devouring combat knowledge with every breath, Bermudez’s star is set to shine in Plymouth where he takes the next step in his great journey; a legendary path hewn into Cage Titans history.

While Bermudez will make the jump to the professional circuit, Manny Torres cut his teeth in a time before amateurs existed, where getting your feet wet required the guts to jump into the deep end. A boxer who found MMA on TV, Torres turned from fan to MMA fighter in short order, and never looked back. With a thousand miles of road work having disappeared under his heels and the thud of a million punches intoned on the heavy bag, Torres will tread fearlessly into the cage yet again.

This is the classic youth vs experience; grappler vs striker; rising star vs established presence fight, with Torres having been in the gym longer than Bermudez has been alive, and more than happy to put a young buck in his place. For Bermudez comes the pressure of new weapons, new rounds and the idea that failure isn’t buried in the past any longer, but indelible for the rest of his life, making it the ultimate “put up or shut up” moment of his budding career.

Pat McCrohan vs Sean Evans:

185lb Amateur Title

Having earned the Cage Titans Amateur Middleweight Title with a stand-out performance, McCrohan will look to crush any who come for his hard-earned title gold. A fighter who turned the corner from brutal wrestler/boxer to a refined all-around competitor, McCrohan can dump opponents on the mat whether it be with savvy technical wrestling or the sharp crack of knuckles across the jaw. Honing his craft by the day, it’ll take a herculean effort to rip the title from his hands.

A physical force of nature, Sean Evans has rolled though the heavyweight and light heavyweight ranks with dominating performances, and will now seek his place atop the 185lb division. A startlingly powerful grappler, Evans has lost none of his brawn in his decent in weight, able to hurl fighter to the mat and break them with sheer pressure and physicality; impossible to shake once he’s taken hold of the opposition.

This is a fight between two men on divergent paths; McCrohan branching away from his role as a crushing brute to diversify his skill sets, while Evans has embraced his own part as a living vice who presses the will out of opponents. In this, McCrohan will need to dig deeply into his toolbox and find the slick passes, takedowns and angles needed to deal with someone with insurmountable physical ability. Meanwhile, Evans will need to be one step ahead and close doors as quickly as they appear, putting McCrohan into a proverbial dead end before smashing him flat on the canvas. With no quick wins in the cards for either fighter, this is a test of endurance and fortitude beyond all else, with mistakes having dire consequences and no weakness tolerated in the cage of champions.

Kris Moutinho vs Will Smith:

135lb Amateur Title

One of the most avoided opponents in the region, Kris Moutinho’s phone has gone silent with options at Flyweight, prompting him to test himself at 135lbs yet again. A devastating fighter, Moutinho works well at range with blazing hand speed, but his bread and butter is his merciless matwork, dragging adversaries to the canvas and systematically destroying them. Wicked entanglements, stunning pressure, and a gas tank that won’t quit before the clock runs out, it’s always full speed ahead for Moutinho, with opponents merely speed bumps on his way to stardom.

One of the best natural talents to hit the cage in some time, Will Smith has had a meteoric rise; smashing elite opposition and snatching titles. Speed and power in equal measure, Smith’s game works off a set of legs like rockets, propelling him forward to punishing double legs or sending him into range to let his hands fly. Gaining skills and confidence by the day, Smith will look to grab another title and dispatch a highly-respected foe with precision blitzes.

This is an opportunity to see two future stars in this sport compete in their relative infancy, as both men are poised to be major players in the MMA world. Moutinho is one of the most difficult stylistic fighters to compete with, but will give up physicality, both in terms of size and athletic potential when he faces Smith. It’s a matter of smart defense when needed and razor-sharp offensive timing for both fighters; no easy victories in sight in a battle that will live on as one of Cage Titans’ all-time classics.

Don Shainis vs Jacob Weeks:

155lb Amateur Title

A fighter as hard and remorseless as Boston bricks, Don Shainis took the title home in his last fight, and makes the quick turnaround to cement his place atop the division. A fast shooter and hellacious pressure fighter, Shainis doesn’t use wet blanket tactics to control his bouts, but rather the constant threat of annihilation. Thunderous ground and pound and the ubiquitous arm working under his opponent’s neck, Shainis leaves no question as to who owned every bout he’s participated in.

A quiet killer in the 155lb division, Weeks has gone from serviceable technician to undeniable force within the sport, with his last win placing him one crushing choke away from title gold. A martial artist to the core, Weeks lives and breathes combat, with the fruits of his labor evident fight after fight. A masterful jiu-jitsu player with amazing top-pressure and deceptive strength in his limbs, minor

mistakes on the mat become irreversible misfortune; no space in his game to regain what was lost.

The only certainty here is that Shainis will shoot, grind, and attempt to destroy, with the pressure on Weeks to change the direction of this fight and seize victory from a relentless aggressor. It’s a classic case of wrestling’s unforgiving pace playing against the undeniable flow of BJJ, with victory hinging on balance, pressure, and timing between two of the sharpest grapplers in New England.

Mike Brown vs Max Barrett:

125lb Amateur

A dynamic fighter who has walked an unforgiving path as an amateur, Mike Brown will continue to fight the best warriors the promotion is willing to put against him. A wizard in terms of his transition phases, being within arm’s reach of Brown is to be in constant danger; confounding takedowns, a serious technical bottom game and veteran composure under duress. No matter the opposition, Brown had weapons for all occasions, and stands as a firm test for anyone looking to tangle in the Flyweight ranks.

A reinvigorated fighter at 125lbs, Max Barrett will look to bring his bone-crushing power to a new division. Barrett has one of the nastiest striking styles to contend with in the region; surgical precision in his attacks, smooth defensive movement, with a granite chin and a mad man’s disregard for his own safety. Strong-man wrestling tactics and a knack for inflicting harm in any transitional phase, Barrett is a living nightmare to contend with, and a true joy to watch operate in the cage.

There are a great deal of X-factors going into this fight, from virgin territory in weight, to world-class striking and grappling coaches on opposing sides, to the fact both amateur careers are winding down. Expect the unexpected, as both battlers have comprehensive toolboxes and no reason left to take their time and play it safe. Blood will flow, fans will roar, and the cage will be tested in keeping these two ferocious fighters inside.

Devin Carrier vs Chris Taylor:

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 wrestler who will make the drop to 155lbs for his second fight, Chris Taylor hit the CT cage in his debut like a seasoned veteran, engaging in a fight that showed his grappling chops and spoke of dedication to endurance and athletic lifestyle. A sharp takedown artist, Taylor works a backbreaking pace on opponents; wrestling pressure mixed with a desire to create scrambles that can see him advance on and punish his foe. Now coming into the fight as one of the larger men in the division, Taylor will seek to press the advantage as he imposes his will on the opposition.

What Carrier brings in the stand-up world; innovative strings of technique and remorseless pacing, is mirrored by Taylor with his spastic grappling phases, making for a bout that should easily garner Fight Of The Night for the pendulum-esque give and take of two crafty fighters looking for title gold in their futures.

Fighter Profile: Joe Gianetti

Working his skills deep in the bowels of Snake Mountain (SSSF), Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti will bust out the Havoc Staff and look to smite anyone brave enough to step into his world. A fast striker with equal skill moving forward or backwards, Giannetti has a knack for landing from all angles; long reach zapping fighters from afar or ripping hooks in tight. A mat game built on vicious chain submissions with no time granted for foes to catch a breather, Giannetti is absolute poison anywhere the fight goes.

Fighter Profile: Bobby Gasdia

Some young adults use their school vacation for friends, family, travel and relaxation; reveling in a job well done and recharging the batteries for the next semester. Yet some determined individuals use those scant weeks of rest, not to idly swing in a hammock and watch time creep by, but to throw themselves into the thick of battle and show their fans that rest is for the weak. Balancing his time between school work, wrestling and the MMA world, Gasdia gets but one chance a summer to hit the cage and test himself in the most arduous way possible, and on June 20th, we’ll see what the relentless grind has produced in this young man. Sweat-drenched singlets, aching bones, and countless hours of toil on mats that see more of him than his own bed, those sleepless nights will translate to a quick nap for his opponent, and a hand raised in victory at Plymouth Memorial Hall.

Fighter Profile: Ryan Cushing

A small fighter in a gym of beasts, one must learn to work every advantage they have and be double tough, lest they’re crumpled and discarded like a paper bag. Tearing up the mats at Victory Athletics as a bantamweight in a room of men walking over the 200lb mark, Ryan Cushing has taken his bruises with pride and will seek to inflict them ten fold on whomever shows up opposite him in the cage. A smooth hybrid wrestler, Cushing is fast on the shot yet eager to tear it up in the pocket; failing takedowns becoming opportunities to unleash a potent stand-up arsenal. Substantial wrestling pressure for a smaller fighter, with MMA sensibilities in his positioning and submission offense, Cushing is hunting for a stunning finish in a fight where a scorecard is just wasted paper.

Cage Titans takes place June 20th at the Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth Mass. Visit www.cagetitansfc.com for full event card and ticket information.

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