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Cage Warriors 51: Daly v Kankaanpaa, James v Philpott


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Liam James will aim for his first win at bantamweight in Dublin on December 31 (Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors).

THE card for Cage Warriors 51 in Dublin on New Year’s Eve is beginning to take shape with today’s addition of two exciting bouts to the end-of-year extravaganza in the Irish capital.

Cage Warriors 51, which will take place at The Helix on Monday, December 31, is set to be headlined by a highly-anticipated featherweight title bout between Jim Alers and defending champion Conor McGregor.

That clash will be joined on the main card by a women’s 120lbs catchweight bout, with McGregor’s SBGi team-mate Aisling Daly returning to Cage Warriors action against CWFC debutant Katja Kankaanpaa.

On the preliminary card, Liam James will collide with top Northern Irish bantamweight Alan Philpott.

Daly (13-4), who’s currently eighth in the world in the women’s flyweight rankings, will be fighting under the Cage Warriors banner for the fifth time in her decorated career.

Aisling Daly will look to return to winning ways at Cage Warriors 51 (Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors).

The 24-year-old Dubliner will be keen to secure a victory in front of her hometown crowd after suffering a decision loss to Rosi Sexton at June’s Cage Warriors 47 in Dublin.

Daly, who has also fought for the likes of Bellator and Invicta, defeated fourth-ranked women’s flyweight Jessica Eye to capture the NAAFS title last year.

Kankaanpaa (6-0-1) has yet to taste defeat since making her professional debut in March 2010.

A native of Finland, Kankaanpaa’s last outing was against Simona Soukupova in the main event at Botnia Punishment 12, which ended in a draw.

Unbeaten Katja Kankaanpaa is one of the world’s top female fighters in the 115lbs division (Photo: Marko Tuominiemi).

Sixth in the women’s world strawweight rankings, Kankaanpaa will be making her first appearance on a Cage Warriors card in Ireland next month.

Meanwhile, the meeting of James and Philpott on the Cage Warriors 51 prelims is a significant bout in the organisation’s bantamweight division.

Philpott (7-3) had a stunning victory over highly-ranked Welshman Kris Edwards at Cage Warriors 49 in Cardiff last month.

The 21-year-old, who hails from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, submitted Edwards in the first round despite taking the fight on less than a week’s notice following the withdrawal of Mark Platts due to injury.

The exciting Alan Philpott at will be back in action at Cage Warriors 51 on New Year’s Eve (Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors).

That victory catapulted Philpott into 14th place in the UK’s bantamweight rankings.

James (6-4), who’s 18th in the rankings, will be fighting on a Cage Warriors event for the third time in 2012.

Hailing from Newcastle in England, the 28-year-old earned a Fight of the Night bonus and an exclusive Cage Warriors contract following his dramatic featherweight win over Jean N’Doye at CWFC Fight Night 5 back in April.

James then dropped to 135lbs for his clash with French veteran Olivier Pastor at September’s CWFC Fight Night 7 but suffered a second-round submission defeat.

Tickets for Cage Warriors 51 will go on sale later this month, with more bouts to be announced shortly. Keep track of Cage Warriors on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

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