Cage Warriors light-heavyweight champion Modestas Bukauskas (10-2) has been crowned The Scrap’s Regional Fighter of the Year.
At the last minute, we decided to combine our regional awards. So needless to say, the 25-year-old beat off stiff competition in Titan FC champion Jason Sores, Lights Out champion Cody Brundage, Michael Stack, Mitch Raposo, Combate Americas champion Rafa Garcia, Julija Stoliarenko, and Ian Garry.
So why Bukauskas over the others? Here’s why.
The London-based Lithuanian fighter enjoyed a breakout year in 2019. He entered the year already on a 3-fight win streak and has continued that fine form over the past 12 months. Another three fights and another three wins, Modestas is now a Cage Warriors champion and is on the cusp of earning a UFC call-up.
The year began with a match-up against tough Polish fighter Marcin Wojcik. After enduring almost two full rounds of heavy wrestling attacks from Wojick, Bukauskas was on his way to losing the fight. However, making the Pole fight for every takedown and continually getting up eventually took its toll.
Bukauskas put some strikes together on Wojick who by this point was gassed. A brutal spinning back kick to liver almost folded the ‘Giant’, before some follow up punches finished the fight. An impressive comeback win for Bukauskas, who earned a shot at the 205lb Cage Warriors belt as a result.
With the belt on the line the Lithuanian entered as a heavy under dog against highly touted wrestler Marthin Hamlet. At the time, the Norwegian was unbeaten, riding a five-fight win streak. After looking good early, Hamlet started to tire as Bukauskas relentlessly defended his takedowns.
By the championship rounds he was spent. After diving for a takedown, he stayed on his knees whilst Bukauskas hammered him with right hands. The referee eventually stepped in and we saw the first champion crowned at CW106.
The decade ended in style for Bukauskas, who made quick work of his first title defence. Riccardo Nossiglia like the others, came to wrestle. Clearly Bukauskas had enough grappling for one year. The Cage Warriors title holder blasted his opponent with nasty elbows as he held on for a takedown.
It truly was one of the most spectacular knockouts in a British cage this year. The celebrations where epic and rightly so. The young champion had put himself in a great position to move on to the big leagues. Speaking to The Scrap in the days following the fight he said. “We are looking at the UFC London card. I feel I am 100% ready to for the UFC right now.”
Let’s hope he gets the call and builds on a fantastic year by continuing his rise to the top of the sport.
Congratulations to Modestas Bukauskas, our inaugural Regional Fighter of the Year!