Luke Riley: Fighting at Cage Warriors 168, Aiming for the UFC

Luke Riley: Fighting at Cage Warriors 168, Aiming for the UFC

Luke Riley is the most exciting fighter to watch in Cage Warriors right now. He featured in both fights that were voted first and second in the Fight of the Year category at the promotion’s end of year awards for 2023. He was also voted Fighter of the Year.

Luke is fighting on the co-main event in the Featherweight division at Cage Warriors 168, which is being held at the BEC Arena in Manchester on Saturday. He will be testing his so far unblemished MMA record (4-0-0 as an amateur, 8-0-0 as a professional) against the experienced striker, John De Jesus, whose record is 17-11-0.

This is what you need to know about the increasingly popular fighter.


Riley was born in Widnes, Cheshire on 30 June 1999. He is 24 years old.

He has a Muay Thai background and started MMA in 2019. After winning all four of his amateur fights, he signed for Cage Warriors and turned professional in 2021.

He fights out of Next Generation MMA gym in Liverpool, which is famous for producing the UFC fighters Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann.

Fighting Style

Luke Riley is an energetic, all-action striker, who always goes forward and is never in a bad fight.

He has very quick hands and punches in combinations, with both accuracy and power. His good footwork and movement allow him to create angles and vary his punches to the head and body. Once Luke has his opponent hurt, he typically overwhelms him with a furious barrage of punches to secure a stoppage.

With his background in Muay Thai, Riley is very effective with knees to the head and body, and with his elbows. He makes good use of these weapons when fighting at close quarters.

Although he isn’t a grappler, he is effective at defending takedowns. He is also physically strong in clinch positions. When he is taken down, he is good at getting back to his feet. Next Generation MMA is well known for its grappling and Luke will get a lot of practice against high-level grapplers on a day-to-day basis.

Riley has a very good chin. He can soak up a lot of punishment in a fight, recover and come back strong. As well as being tough and durable, he also has excellent stamina and often outlasts his opponents.

Luke Riley’s fighting style and attributes lead to him being involved in crazy, wild, exciting fights. It’s no wonder he’s such a fan favourite.

Professional Record

Luke has had eight professional fights, all of which have been with Cage Warriors. They were as follows:

Fight 1

Cage Warriors 128 at York Hall, London on 1 October 2021 – Bantamweight fight against Kamil Wincenciak. Scored two knockdowns and secured the stoppage at 3:39 of the first round.

Fight 2

Cage Warriors 131 at York Hall, London on 10 December 2021 – Bantamweight fight against Yuki Angdembe. Knocked his opponent down twice before finishing him off with ground and pound at 3:19 of the first round.

Fight 3

Cage Warriors 136 at BEC Arena, Manchester on 2 April 2022 – 137.5 lb Catchweight fight against Jack Eglin. A tougher fight for Riley. He was taken down twice in the first round and took some heavy punches. Was dominant in the second round though and won by stoppage at 4:44 after unleashing a barrage of punches, knees and elbows.

Fight 4

Cage Warriors 142 at Ebbw Vale Centre, Ebbw Vale on 13 August 2022 – Featherweight fight against Cherif Larossi. Luke Riley was very dominant throughout this fight, again scoring well with punches, knees and elbows. He finally finished off his opponent with a vicious punch to the body at 4:18 of the second round.

Fight 5

Cage Warriors 146 at BEC Arena, Manchester on 21 November 2022 – Featherweight fight against Karol Kutyła. Dropped his opponent with a vicious left hook and unleashed a barrage of punches, leading to the referee stopping the fight at 2:00 of the first round.

Fight 6

Cage Warriors 152 at BEC Arena, Manchester on 15 April 2023 – 150 lb Catchweight fight against late replacement Kallum Parker. A difficult first round for Riley, He was rocked twice by heavy punches at the start of the round and was dropped at around the 3:00 mark. He started to gain control of the fight by the end of the round though. Riley took over in the second round and pounded Parker with brutal body shots. He also won the third round by scoring well with combinations of punches and heavy knees to the body. Luke Riley won the fight by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 30-27. This was a great fight to watch and was voted the second best fight of 2023 in the Cage Warriors end of year awards.

Fight 7

Cage Warriors 157 at Indigo at the O2, London on 21 July 2023 – Featherweight fight against Matheus Malta. Although Riley was unable to force a stoppage, he scored well throughout this fight with punches, knees and elbows. He won by a comfortable unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-26.

Fight 8

Cage Warriors 160 at BEC Arena, Manchester on 29 September 2023 – Featherweight fight against the unbeaten Alexander Lööf. This was an absolute war. It was a wild, crazy and brutal fight, and one of the best MMA fights of 2023 across all promotions.

Riley took a head kick and heavy punches at the start of the first round. Towards the end of the round, he dropped Lööf and went in to finish him off, but didn’t manage to do so before the round ended. The second round ebbed and flowed. Riley took a lot of heavy punches and ground and pound from Lööf and it looked as if his unbeaten record was going to be broken. He somehow recovered and dominated the end of the round, hurting Lööf with several punches. Luke went straight on the attack at the start of the third round, hitting his opponent with multiple unanswered punches, leading to the referee stopping the fight at 0:58.

This was voted the best fight of 2023 in the Cage Warriors end of year awards and many have said it was the best Cage Warriors fight of all-time. If you want to check out the fight for yourself, you can watch it below.

What Does the Future Hold for Luke Riley?

The next challenge for Luke Riley is his fight against John De Jesus at Cage Warriors 168 on Saturday. De Jesus will be his most difficult opponent to date. As both fighters have a preference for striking, this should be another great fight, which you can watch on UFC Fight Pass.

In the longer term, Riley has said before that his ultimate aim is to fight in the UFC. If he continues improving, winning and entertaining fans, there is every chance he will get his wish.

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