Cathal Pendred (12-2-1) will put his Cage Warriors welterweight title on the line for the first time when he meets UFC veteran Che Mills (15-5) in June.
Promotion officials on Friday announced the fight booking, which will headline the June 1 Cage Warriors 55 show.
Cage Warriors 55 takes place at The Helix in Dublin – the promotion’s fifth event in Ireland. The main card streams live and free on MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). Facebook carries the prelims.
Along with the welterweight title fight in the main event, Cage Warriors 55 will feature a recently announced one-night, four-man flyweight tournament. The semifinals will be on the preliminary card, and the final now likely takes the co-main event spot with the announcement of Pendred-Mills. The tourney winner will be the promotion’s inaugural 125-pound champ.
Pendred is 5-0-1 under the Cage Warriors banner, and he’ll defend his 170-pound belt in front of his hometown Dublin fans. He knocked off Gale Grimaud earlier this month at Cage Warriors 52, winning a five-round unanimous decision to claim the title. He earned that shot with back-to-back decision wins over David Bielkheden and Bruno Carvalho in 2012.
“Fighting in my own backyard in a venue full of crazy Irish fans against a guy who was in the UFC until very recently, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to defend my title for the first time,” Pendred stated. “I can guarantee that the caliber of my opponent and the atmosphere the Irish fans will create is going to bring out the best in me.”
Mills this past month was cut by the UFC following a unanimous decision loss to Matt Riddle at UFC on FUEL TV 7. Although that loss was overturned to a no contest when Riddle tested positive for marijuana after the fight – and himself was cut by the promotion – Mills’ release stood. He went 2-1, officially, with the UFC, though had the Riddle fight stood, he’d have been 2-2.
Now the Brit, who has 12 stoppages in his 15 career wins, returns to Cage Warriors for the first time since a win over Jake Hecht at Cage Warriors 38 in October 2010.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Mills stated. “This fight will be a war, but I’m not leaving without the belt.”
For more on Cage Warriors 55, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Che Mills)