Cage Warriors return to Cardiff, Wales on Saturday 27th April 2019 for a night they are billing as ‘The biggest night of MMA in Welsh history’. As expected, young talent from the country are featured all over the card as the promotion look to continue to cultivate the next generation of regional stars. One of their current biggest draws and one of the major reasons why MMA is receiving mainstream media attention in Wales, Jack Shore (10-0), defends his bantamweight title in the evening’s headliner. He is taking on surging contender, Scott Malone (6-1), who is riding a six fight winning streak and looking to go into enemy territory to spring an upset that will silence the partisan crowd.
After his last fight at Cage Warriors 100, many fans were calling for Malone to receive the next shot at the title as he was the only bantamweight in the promotion that looked to have staked a serious claim for the opportunity. Going into a fight with the whole crowd rooting against him is something that Malone is used to as he took out fan favourite, Josh Reed, in The Viola Arena last time out. It was a dominant grappling display as Malone took his adversary down early before quickly establishing mount position. From there he transitioned to Reed’s arm, spent a while adjusting his body position to get the correct angle and got the tap shortly thereafter. He displayed different skills than when he outstruck Adam Amarasinghe in October of last year so he will be a threat wherever the fight takes place. Malone was pleased with his performance against Reed and was surprised that he took the Welshman out as quickly as he did.
“No, I didn’t expect it to be over so quickly,” said Malone. “I was preparing for a war but came out unharmed which is so much better for my longevity in the sport. I knew the arm was in tight when working to finish the armbar. I was just struggling to get the hip pressure to drive down but once I adjusted the arm under my armpit I knew it was very tight and possibly about to snap. He’s a tough dude for hanging in there for so long.”
During this camp for the biggest fight of his life, Malone has travelled to put in some work at the famed Team Alpha Male gym in Sacramento, California which he feels benefits him greatly. Being from Scotland, there isn’t always a huge number of high calibre fighters to train alongside with experience at the highest level so he believes that going to the US plays a vital part in his preparation. Although Malone has stated he does get humbled sometimes when sparring with top level UFC guys, he believes it is this which will elevate his game to a whole other level.
“This has been the third time that I have been out to Team Alpha Male and every time is amazing,” explained Malone. “I love going over there as I get a lot of top quality coaching and top UFC level guys to train alongside. All I need to think about is training when I’m there so there are no distractions.”
Being able to focus solely on fighting when going abroad makes a welcome change for the Scotsman who unfortunately, like many fighters on the UK scene, has to work a full time job whilst chasing his dream to make it as a world champion. Malone is a scaffolder by day so juggling these responsibilities can be a challenge but he tries to see the positives from the situation.
“It is not easy having a full time job while trying to win a world title,” stated Malone. “However, sometimes these things need to be done as I have a family to feed at the end of the day. It just spurs me on more to make it. I know that no one works as hard as me!”
So far in his Cage Warriors tenure, champion Jack Shore has looked pretty much unbeatable displaying no real weaknesses in his game. He is unbeaten and has finished nine out of the ten professional wins he has on his record. Some don’t see many challenges left in the promotion for Shore if he defends his title yet again but Malone thinks he has studied the champion’s game enough where he can now see some openings. He believes he has all the capabilities to silence the hometown crowd.
“There is no game plan as such for this fight but there are some holes we can see in his game that we have worked to try and exploit,” explained Malone. “However, mostly I have worked to my advantages rather than his weaknesses. This fight has been a long time coming for me and what a lot of people don’t know is that I have had over 10 cancellations for fights over the past three/fours years of being pro. All I needed was a few good names on my record to earn this shot which I think I have 100%. The people who have questioned whether I am ready for this opportunity or not will see why I am come fight night.”
With a victory, the man also known as ‘Boom Boom’ would become the second Scottish champion on the Cage Warriors roster and would complete the invasion of the bantamweight division. Malone has absolute confidence that he will walk out of The Viola Arena with the belt hung over his shoulder and is certain the bout won’t reach the final horn.
“I definitely think it will be a finish from myself and possibly even a quick finish,” stated Malone. “I don’t see this going past the third round!”
Cage Warriors 104 can be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass and tickets can still be purchased here.