Cage Warriors 153
29th April 2023 // Dublin, Ireland.
Before their Belfast event in June of 2022, it had been three years since Cage Warriors last visited the shores of Ireland. Over six years since they hosted an event in the infamous 3Arena in Dublin. So when they made their return to the iconic venue along the shore of the River Liffey, they ensured to make their presence felt. A stacked card from top to bottom, packed with both local talent and some of the biggest names on the European scene at that moment, topped with a title fight for the ages. A unification bout for the welterweight crown, with reigning champion and UFC veteran, Rhys McKee putting his belt on the line against UK MMA pioneer, and fellow UFC vet, Jimmy Wallhead.
I've been lucky enough to work a lot of big events in my career, both as a photographer and as a journalist, and this one is right up there as one of the best I have ever experienced. This entire event had that special feeling about it. The excitement in the build-up, the anticipation from the crowd in attendance, and the atmosphere from the first fight to the last. This had that "big night" feel about it, and it was capped off with a performance worthy of the stage from Rhys "Skeletor" McKee. Dominating a stalwart of the sport, as he cemented his place as one of the best welterweights in the world, with a UFC call in his post-fight interview that could not be ignored.
Below are a selection of some of my standout images from the night. I really hope I've done the event, and the fighters who made it all possible, justice with my work.
Cage Warriors 153 // © JAMES MCCANN
Rhys McKee (C) def. Jimmy Wallhead // TKO (5:00 Round 4)
Tobias Harila def. Ryan Shelley // TKO (1:40 Round 3)
Morgan Charrière def. Pedro Souza // TKO (5:00 of Round 1)
Oban Elliott def. James Sheehan // Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Decky McAleenan def. Wasiu Adeshina // Submission - Armbar (4:54 Round 1)
Benoit Blanc def. Taka Mhandu // Submission - D’arce (4:05 Round 1)
Paddy McCorry def. Angus Hewett // KO (1:59 Round 1)
Adam Darby def. Jack Tucker // Submission - Triangle (2:15 Round 1)
Leon Hill def. Marcin Zembala // TKO (4:08 Round 2)
Solomon Simon def. Dorian Cliucinicov // TKO (4:46 Round 2)
Adam Shelley def. Muhammed Kir Ahmet // TKO (1:17 Round 2)
Nicolas Leblond def. Ryan Curtis // Technical Submission - Bulldog Choke (3:05 Round 1)
Alexander O’Sullivan def. Afrim Thaqi // Submission - Armbar (1:18 Round 1)
Kyle McClurkin def. Owain Williams // Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Photos captured using Nikon equipment.