Cage Warriors continue their expansion across Europe as they return to Denmark for the first time in five years on Saturday 9th March 2019. The show not only holds interest for domestic fans but has also captured the attention of fans all over the continent due to some of the notable names competing on the card. The promotion have carefully tried to cultivate the market through their academy shows to produce home grown talent that can move up the ladder and become big stars for the company. Many of this talent will be on display on Saturday night but the fight that stands out above the rest is an intriguing bout for the interim welterweight title between hometown favourite, Nicolas Dalby, and dangerous Frenchman, Alex Lohore.
Since returning to the promotion where he once reigned as champion, Dalby has gone 2-1 and has climbed back to the top of arguably the most talent rich division in Cage Warriors. He is coming off of a third round TKO victory against Philip Mulpeter at Cage Warriors 100 in a bout that cemented his headlining status. The bout began with Mulpeter taking Dalby down early and gaining some control time on the top before Dalby began to get to his feet quicker and reverse position before his opponent could establish position. Dalby (16-3-1) ended the second round on top after some grappling dominance and put Mulpeter away after landing some big strikes on the feet in the final round. The fight didn’t totally go as the Dane expected but he was pleased that he got the job done.
“I was expecting that he’d try and take me down at some point but not that he’d go for it right off the bat,” explained Dalby. “The lesson I learnt from that fight was to adapt even faster and be more precise.”
After fans started to discuss the possibility of Dalby fighting for the welterweight title in his home country, it was announced that he would be fighting Alex Lohore for the interim strap due to champion, Ross Houston, not being ready to compete in early March. Alex Lohore (17-3) has won his first two fights in the promotion by TKO and will be looking to be the first man to ever stop Dalby inside the cage. Dalby is very aware of the tough challenge in front of him but is confident he has identified where he can find the most success against his adversary.
“Lohore is no doubt a very strong opponent both physically and mentally. But we (my team and I) have seen some major holes in his game that we will be exploiting in the fight,” Dalby said. “The fight will go well and at some point I will use the openings he shows time and time again to come out on top.”
In a recent interview with WHOA TV, Lohore explained that he views this contest as the real title fight because he considers Dalby to be a better opponent than Ross Houston. This is a sentiment that Dalby echos.
“I respect Houston. He managed to win the title fair and square. However, I have to agree with Lohore here,” Dalby discussed. “The fight between Alex and I is a tougher fight for each guy than it will be against Houston.”
The welterweight champion, Ross Houston, at first didn’t believe he needed to travel to the challenger’s backyard to defend his belt. He then also made it clear that due to opening a new gym, competing on this event wouldn’t fit the timescale for his return. Dalby wasn’t surprised that Houston didn’t want to fight him on this card but said that this didn’t make him any less excited for the event.
“Honestly, I had a feeling he (Houston) wasn’t up for it. I’m not the slightest bit disappointed though as I get to fight a better opponent,” Dalby acknowledged. “Of course titles are nice but in the end it’s the fight that matters the most to me. A title is ‘just’ a cherry on the top. I’m happy that I still get to go possibly five rounds doing what I love the most, even when Houston couldn’t be bothered.”
Houston made in clear in an interview with WHOA TV last month that he is absolutely willing to fight the winner of Saturday’s main event as he believes he is on a different level to both men. When offering a prediction for the fight, the Scotsman added that he can see Lohore coming out on top as he thinks that Dalby isn’t physically strong enough. The former UFC competitor didn’t think much of that prediction.
“He should get an appointment at an optometrist and I’ll have to ask Safe MMA as to how he ever managed to get licensed with that poor eyesight,” stated Dalby.
Leading up to this fight, Dalby is extremely happy with how his training and game-planning has gone and he thinks he is in the best possible position to show a high level performance in Copenhagen. He spent some time in Iceland for part of this camp which he believes is a move that will take his game to a whole new level come fight night.
“Preparations have been immensely good! The trip to Iceland was an absolute highlight of the camp since I learnt so many things and sparred with an incredible amount of really skilled fighters,” noted Dalby.
On his return to Cage Warriors in April 2018, Nicolas proposed to his then girlfriend straight after the fight which shows how important those close to him are. Dalby recently became a father for the first time which is a role that he is fully embracing. Unlike other fighters in similar positions, this landmark event in his life hasn’t changed his motivation to fight but it has changed how he approaches other aspects of his business outside of the cage.
“I now spend more time taking care of this amazing, cute little baby and less time watching Netflix. I mostly still fight for the same reasons which is because I enjoy it and get a kick out of it,” acknowledged Dalby. “However, I have felt a sharper focus in daily life, when preparing for fights and when competing which seems to be a natural thing for most parents in whatever they do. You learn to prioritize better!”
On Saturday night at K.B Hallen, it will be the first time that Dalby has competed in front of his own fans since March 2014 after travelling to fight in countries all over the world including Brazil, Sweden and Germany. He is relishing the chance to put on a show for his local crowd as well as being thankful that Danish up and coming fighters will get the chance to showcase their skills.
“It is going to be f*****g amazing! It’s been 5 long years since I last had the opportunity to fight in Denmark so I am looking forward to this fight even more,” Dalby exclaimed. “The venue is sold out so will be full of Danish-Viking fans supporting their fighters. The atmosphere will be electric!”
The Dane will be looking to fend off the French invasion on Saturday and lay claim to a unification bout later this year. Only then will the Viking takeover of the division be on the brink of completion.
Cage Warriors 103 can be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.