By Calum Grant
Jack Shore makes his maiden defence of his world bantamweight title this Saturday when he takes on Scotland’s Scott Malone in Saturday’s co-main event of Cage Warriors 104.
The Abertillery-born fighter is in the spotlight once again after dethroning former bantamweight champion Mike Ekundayo, in December.
On the back of his 10th consecutive professional win, the undefeated Shore is aiming to make it 11 in a row at the Viola Arena.
His opponent this weekend is fellow Celt Scott ‘Boom Boom’ Malone, who’s looking to be a banana peel in the Welshman’s meteoric rise to the top of the domestic bantamweight division.
Malone’s singular defeat inside the cage was in his first professional fight and he has since gone on to put an impressive win-streak of his own together, having his armed raised as the victor in his last six bouts.
It’s no secret that Jack ‘Tank’ Shore has his eyes on a ludicrous multi-fight contract with MMA’s global franchise ‘UFC’ and another emphatic showing this weekend will undoubtedly bring him closer to his goal of battling the world’s best combat athletes inside the octagon under the UFC banner.
Shore’s greatest attributes are his ground game and his fight finishing ability.
The Welshman’s calculated striking combos would hardly set any YouTube highlight reel alight. However, his simple strikes set up his takedowns, which he completes with ease.
Shore is also an intelligent fighter. Those who have followed his career know that he uses good timing to undo his opponent’s advances and send them to the canvas.
When on the ground, his ability to transition into different guards is why he’s the top rated domestic bantamweight.
A variety of striking and feints allows him to advance on his opponents and synch in the rear naked choke, a submission move he’s used to submit four other competitors.
This leads on to Shore’s second and arguably most important trait. He has only gone the distance once in his 10 professional bouts.
Shore likes to make the judges’ work easy. His ability to finish fights as well as his talent is why he’s amassed a strong following in Europe’s leading MMA promotion.
With five wins via submission and four victories by TKO, like a great white shark, when Shore smells blood he’s clinical in victory.
However, Shore isn’t the finished article just yet. Whilst acknowledging his ability as a technician, with his ground striking, his critics point out that his kickboxing is an element that the champion needs to improve.
His striking can become lapsed, leaving Shore susceptible to counters and that could be the opening Malone needs to score an upset in the Welsh capital this weekend.
Lewis Smith, of MMA UK, says: “What Jack Shore represents is the next stage of evolution of Mixed Martial Arts in Wales.
“With a clinical and well-rounded skill set, the life-long fighter has thus far been able to adapt and overcome any opponent that’s come his way,
“If he wins at Cage Warriors 104, I see nothing for him but a move to the UFC. Though it won’t be easy.
“Malone is a game opponent with an aggressive style of grappling and knockout power. Added to a six-fight win-streak he will arrive in Cardiff confident of upsetting the home crowd on Saturday.”
Smith also considers there is plenty of interest in the rest of the card.
“Expect fireworks from Blaenavon’s Mason Jones as he takes on heavy hitting lightweight Donovan Desmae. Fans should definitely watch out for that one.”
Cardiff’s Aaron Khalid is also on the card as the other co-main event of the night as he takes on former UFC fighter Tom ‘Kong’ Watson.
The hometown hero – who’s won his three last fights – just highlights how many talented fighters Wales has to offer, with the likes of Cage Warriors alumni Brett Johns and Jack Marshman, who now fight in the UFC.
"To all the fighters on the roster… if you want to deny me a title shot, fight me!"@KhalidMMA is fired up ahead of his clash with @TomKongWatson this Saturday 🔥🏴 #CW104 pic.twitter.com/2vthscc8Hj
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) April 24, 2019
It seems to be a matter of when and not if Shore makes his debut for the UFC, whilst that would be massive blow to the Cage Warriors roster.
But it does leave Welsh MMA fans salivating at the prospect of an all-Welsh bout between Shore and Swansea’s Brett Johns on the biggest stage of all.
Date: 27th April 2019
Venue: Viola Arena, Cardiff
Jack Shore (10-0-0)
Scott Malone (6-1-0)
Main Card (9PM)
Jack Shore vs Scott Malone – Bantamweight Title Fight
Tom ‘Kong’ Watson vs Aaron Khalid – Welterweight
Mason Jones vs Donovan Desmae – Lightweight
Cory McKenna vs Fannie Redman – Strawweight
Jamie Richardson vs Phil Wells – Welterweight
Pro Prelims (7PM)
Josh Reed vs Ayton de Paepe – Bantamweight
Kris Edwards vs Josh Abraham – Featherweight
Oban Elliott vs Bouali Skikem – Lightweight
Brad Evans vs Ben Ellis – Featherweight
How to Watch
Main Card (from 9PM) will be broadcast live on UFC FightPass and a host of premium global partners.
Pro Prelims (from 7PM) will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass, free for non-subscribers as well as account holders.