Cage Warriors end their schedule for the year with a bang on Friday night, by putting on a show featuring three title holders and one of their most stacked undercards to date. Such is the quality of the event, recent welterweight title challenger, Alex Lohore, is the main feature on the preliminary portion of the show. He is eager to put on a statement performance to cement his standing in the division at a time when he feels he is being overlooked and under-promoted by the organisation.
Lohore (18-4) has battled to overcome many challenges in his life up to this point, so it is important to recognize his journey in order to best understand the man who he is today. During his childhood, Lohore was a keen footballer but later got turned off of the sport because he witnessed all of the support and materialistic items many of his teammates were used to — which was the polar opposite of what he had.
His father was never around, so Lohore lived a tough life where money was tight and he was often left to his own devices due to his mother working to provide for the pair. In search of the life that he saw many around him living, Lohore ended up on the streets and started traveling down the wrong path. He was arrested at the age of 13 on the streets of France.
“Back in those days, I was just trying to get money to buy myself the latest pair of air max shoes, which my mum couldn’t afford,” discussed Lohore. “That’s how I mostly got into trouble. I was already known as a good fighter as we often had territorial scraps to show which estate was the strongest. We had no choice because it was passed on from the older generation. It was like fight club but once you got mounted, it was game over and all hell broke loose. I’ve got some nasty moves which I’m not allowed to use in the cage unfortunately. Actually, no, maybe that’s a good thing for my opponents.”
After that run-in with the law, Lohore’s mother sent him to England to have a fresh start in an environment where no one knew about his past. He didn’t speak English, so at first Lohore found it hard to communicate and he didn’t know anyone to help him on his way. It took a great deal of perseverance and grit to establish himself in his new surroundings, which are attributes he still carries to this day. Lohore stumbled upon an MMA gym and from there he began to feel much more at home.
“Coming to England turned me into an independent man really quickly,” explained Lohore. “When I first arrived, it was very hard to learn the language and I was upset that I had left all of my friends behind. The hardest part of the whole move was just letting go, accepting that I was not going back and recognizing this would be my new life. However, it taught me that worrying is useless. You’ve got to dust yourself off and keep moving forwards. Life is great and full of adventures and for this reason I wear the British flag on my shoulder when I walk to the cage. The country contributed significantly to making me the man, person and fighter who I am today.”
Lohore has competed for Bellator in the past, and also picked up the BAMMA welterweight title on his road to joining the Cage Warriors roster. He came up short when challenging for the promotion’s interim title against Nicolas Dalby in Copenhagen back in March, but rebounded straight away when he submitted Aaron Khalid at Cage Warriors: Night of Champions.
On Friday night in the Indigo at the O2, he takes on the German, Joilton Lutterbach (30-8, 1NC), who will be looking to upset Lohore and progress in the division himself. Lutterbach likes to grind and wear his opponents down which Lohore has prepared for and the Frenchman is planning on turning in an impressive display.
“I think he is a great opponent who has loads of fight experience,” stated Lohore. “I’m expecting him to want to take the fight to the ground or keep me against the cage but I am ready for that. I’ve got some surprises I want to show him. They will be early Christmas presents from me to him. I’m going to knock him out in the first round - it’s as simple as that!”
The welterweight title picture in Cage Warriors is currently unclear as there is no sign of champion, Ross Houston returning to action anytime soon. In fact, Houston and the promotion don’t appear to be on the best of terms with Houston taking to social media the other week venting that the company didn’t allow him to grapple on Polaris like many fighters on the roster do. However, Cage Warriors president, Graham Boylan, responded by saying that the promotion never lets active champions compete in grappling tournaments due to the hit their stock would take if they were defeated.
Also, Rhys McKee made a lot of noise following his successful welterweight debut in the organisation and many suggested a fight with Lohore could make sense next. However, the 29-year-old was outspoken as ever and didn’t seem particularly interested in a clash with McKee.
“I don’t really have any views on the Ross Houston situation,” mentioned Lohore. “All I can say is it’s Cage Warriors - it’s not the first time you’ve heard about things like this. However, they don’t force you to sign any kind of contract. As for Rhys McKee, this guy doesn’t interest me at all. They are going to have to start begging me and pay me much more to even start paying attention to that guy. I am on a different path to all of the others. They don’t have any other names to mention which is why they always put my name in their mouth. I am the biggest star in the welterweight division at Cage Warriors and they don’t like it.”
This upcoming fight is the last on Lohore’s contract which he is happy about so he could well be a valuable commodity on the European circuit in the very near future. He has been frustrated with the organisation in the lead up to this fight and points to the lack of promotional material about himself on social media platforms as a sign of disrespect. In fact, a recent tweet from Lohore indicated that a last minute change to the show, which saw him drop from the main card down to the prelims was something he has come to expect.
With a victory on Friday night, Lohore believes he will be in store for a big 2020. His 15 finishes out of 18 professional victories demonstrates how quickly he can close the show, and if he can add to that record against Lutterbach, a big opportunity could well be just around the corner. MMA will be legal in France from 1st January 2020 and Lohore is already eyeing up the prospect of competing in the country deep in his roots and heritage.
“A Cage Warriors France card next year would be great but my goal is the UFC,” said Lohore. “I know the UFC are going to France in October so I’ve got to get on that show. I’m the number one welterweight in France but send me another name if you think I am wrong. On Friday night, I am going to prove that once again!”
Cage Warriors 111 prelims will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass and the Cage Warriors Facebook page at 5.30pm GMT on Friday evening. Fans in the US can watch from 12.30pmET/11.30c.