Cage Warriors 53, which is set for Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, will feature the meeting of Jim Alers and Joni Salovaara for the CWFC title, with Mats Nilsson and Chris Scott also scheduled to clash on the bill for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship’s second event of 2013.
With current champion Conor McGregor due to vacate the belt when he makes his UFC debut on April 6, the CWFC featherweight strap will be on the line when Alers and Salovaara collide a week later.
Alers (9-1) had been pencilled in to face McGregor twice last year but injuries to both fighters forced the postponement of their scheduled bouts at CWFC Fight Night 7 and Cage Warriors 51.
A four-fight Cage Warriors veteran, Alers has retained his status as the top contender in the organisation’s 145lbs division on the back of impressive wins over Matteus Lahdesmaki and Marcio Cesar in 2012.
Salovaara (12-5) earns his shot at the title following a run of good performances that have seen him ascend to the European top ten.
The 27-year-old Finn, a team-mate of top European lightweights Niko Puhakka and Juha-Pekka Vainikainen at Espoon Kehahait, is on a 10-1 run since November 2009, with his two most recent wins coming against CWFC veterans Olivier Pastor and Moktar Benkaci.
“This is a huge fight for me and I’m really excited about the opportunity,” said Salovaara. “I’ll give it my all and bring the championship belt back home. My opponent is very skilled but so am I, so this will be a tough fight for him.”
Alers, a 26-year-old Florida native, said: “I believe this belt belongs to me. I’ve fought for Cage Warriors four times now and I’ve come out with the win each time. Cage Warriors has been a great promotion by giving me this chance to become a world champion.
“I’m training hard every day with nothing but the thought of that belt around my waist. I’m not taking my opponent or this opportunity for granted, but I just can’t imagine myself not winning this fight. This is my dream and he can’t stop me from making it a reality.”
The Cage Warriors 53 card will also feature middleweight action, with Nilsson and Scott set to begin their 2013 campaigns in Scotland on April 13.
Nilsson (9-2-1) had been scheduled to fight Denniston Sutherland at Cage Warriors 50 in Glasgow in December but withdrew from the bout after sustaining an injury.
The 29-year-old Swede, who’s currently ranked ninth in Europe, submitted UFC veteran Tommy Speer at CWFC Fight Night 3 just over 12 months ago but will be keen to rebound from a decision loss to current TUF star Tor Troeng in his most recent outing.
“I’m expecting this fight to be both technical and wild,” said Nilsson. “Having similar strengths, it’ll come down to who wants it most; who’s willing to work that little bit harder for an inch of an advantage. I want it bad and I’m more than willing to work hard for it.”
Scott (6-1), who joined Nilsson as an exclusively contracted Cage Warriors fighter last month, is currently on a five-fight win streak and is ranked as one of the UK’s top 20 middleweights.
The 30-year-old, who hails from Sunderland in the north-east of England, has secured all six of his wins by submission.
Scott said: “I’ve watched a few of Mats’ fights and he looks clean and clinical on the floor, as any brown belt should be. He’s fought some very high-level fighters so I can’t wait to test myself against him. Mats also has his own website – how cool is that?”
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