Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood will step into the Cage Warriors cage as a champion for the very first time when he steps onto the canvas at the Indigo at The O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Wood headlines Cage Warriors 86, shown live around the world on UFC Fight Pass as the final act of a stacked MMA fight weekend in the capital.
‘The Prospect’ (he may fancy upgrading that nickname now) will take on undefeated Welshman Josh ‘Crazy Horse’ Reed in his maiden title defence since capturing the Cage Warriors bantamweight title earlier this summer.
Wood produced a career-best display to demolish Swiss submission ace Marko Kovacevic at Cage Warriors 84, snapping the Swiss fighter’s eight-fight win streak and handing him the first stoppage defeat of his career.
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) June 2, 2017
It was a breakout performance by Wood, a protege of British MMA legend and former UFC and WEC star Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett.
Pickett, himself a bantamweight in his prime, is the perfect coach and mentor. London based, universally respected and blessed with a wealth of experience from a 13-year career, Pickett has moulded Wood into a world championship-winning fighter.
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) September 12, 2017
Now Wood, backed by Pickett, goes into his first title defence looking to cement himself as one of the faces of the Cage Warriors promotion.
He faces a tough task in Reed, a hard-charging contender from Wales who is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Welsh stars Brett Johns and Jack Marshman by becoming a Cage Warriors champion and going on to earn a shot in the UFC.
Reed has a perfect 7-0 record and has finished six opponents, including a heavy-handed TKO finish of Gavin Kelly in his last outing.
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) August 29, 2017
Now the pair will do battle for Cage Warriors gold in a bout that looks sure to deliver fireworks from the off.
CAGE WARRIORS 86: FIGHT CARD
Bout order TBC
Nathaniel Wood vs Josh Reed (bantamweight title)
Sam Creasey vs Paul Marin (flyweight bout)
Sean Carter vs Joe McColgan (lightweight bout)
Junior Karanta vs Adel Ghaddou (heavyweight bout)
Fabien Gallinaro vs Jean N’Doye (150lbs catchweight bout)
Darren O’Gorman vs Brian Bouland (bantamweight bout)
Jamie Richardson vs Håkon Foss (welterweight bout)
Arvydas Juska vs Alex Thorne (middleweight bout)
Marcus Paul vs Maciej Gierszewski (middleweight bout)
Eric Nolan vs Mehdi Saadi (150lb catchweight bout)
Follow live cageside updates from Cage Warriors 86 via my Twitter account @simonhead on Saturday night, September 16