Cage Warriors – Europe’s Leading MMA Organisation – has revealed a huge addition to its New Year’s Eve event, with Christian Leroy Duncan set to defend his middleweight title against former champion Jesse ‘JT Money’ Taylor.
The blockbuster clash will feature on the main card of CW 148 on December 31st, at London’s indigo at The O2.
Duncan (7-0) extended his formidable professional unbeaten streak last month in Manchester, stopping Bulgarian powerhouse Marian Dimitrov with a spinning elbow and a flurry of precision punches.
A multi-time IMMAF competitor as an amateur with over 20 high-level bouts to his name before entering the professional ranks, the Gloucester-based 27-year-old has taken the European scene by storm in recent years.
With all seven of his pro bouts taking place in the famous yellow gloves, CLD is one of the most battle-tested prospects on the circuit.
Prior to the win over Dimitrov – his first title defence – Duncan accumulated a pair of victories over Will Currie, a submission over Bellator veteran Justin Moore and a flying knee stoppage of Djati Milan to capture CW gold.
No stranger to the middleweight championship currently strapped around Duncan’s waist, California’s Jesse ‘JT Money’ Taylor has a long history with CW.
Debuting for the promotion in May 2012, Taylor came up short against welterweight champion Gael Grimaud.
He would return 7 months later, on the back of a three-fight winning streak, submitting Chris Fields to capture 185lb gold in Dublin on NYE.
Taylor would defend his title against another hometown hero, tapping Welshman John Phillips in the very first round at CW 54.
Outside of Cage Warriors, Taylor has earned notoriety for his exploits both inside and outside the cage.
A finalist on Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter, ‘JT Money’ was famously pulled from the season finale following a wild night of partying in Las Vegas.
He would eventually achieve redemption almost a decade later, defeating Mehdi Baghdad, Hayder Hassan, James Krause and Dhiego Lima to win Season 25 of the reality TV juggernaut.
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt and an NCAA Division 1 wrestler, Taylor has competed across the globe over a 16-year career; his bout with Duncan will mark his 50th professional contest.
“It’s great to have Jesse Taylor back in Cage Warriors…” said CW President Graham Boylan.
“He’s beaten a champion in their home nation on New Year’s Eve before, so he’ll know exactly what he’s up against on December 31st.”
“Jesse never lost his Cage Warriors title in the cage; he’s coming to London to reclaim what he feels is rightfully his.”
“Christian Leroy Duncan is one of the most talented prospects we’ve ever seen on Cage Warriors…” Boylan continued.
“Every time he fights, we see something special; a win against an internationally respected opponent of Jesse’s standing would be absolutely huge for his career.”
“I’m expecting both guys to bring the heat to an already stacked New Year’s Eve party…may the best man win!”
Also confirmed by CW officials over the weekend, former UFC title challenger Wilson Reis returns to face Finland’s Tuomas Gronvall.
Reis last saw action in the yellow gloves in March, outpointing Jeramiah Labiano, while the debuting Gronvall comes into the bout on the back of a three-fight winning streak, including a September victory over former CW title challenger Luca Iovine.
The pair will meet in a bantamweight bout as part of CW 148’s Team Europe vs Team USA series.
The entire event will stream live on UFC Fight Pass and international broadcast partners.