This week ex-WWE wrestler, ‘Gentleman’ Jack Claffey makes his return to the cage for his rescheduled bout at HEXAGONE MMA 8 in France, broadcast on DAZN (internationally) and TNT Sports (in UK & Ireland).
The open-air fight night, which takes place in Frances’ original bullfighting ring, Beziers Area, was rescheduled from June to this Friday 4 August due to unstable weather conditions.
Another second change to the match sees the Brit from Manchester up against a new opponent, Kevin Simon Césari (1 – 0) of France via Corsica.
Upbeat, Claffey commented:
“With the opponent change and the new date being a decent amount of time after the original, this felt as if I’d already fought, got out unscathed, and was preparing for something different. Not a continuation of what I’d already been doing. I was disappointed with the cancellation, but I’m excited now that it’s finally here. I’m feeling good. The first camp went extremely well, and it feels as though we rode that momentum into another successful preparation.”
Claffey is best known for performing with WWE between 2016 and 2020 with the NXT and 205 Live brands, following a 10-year career on the independent professional wrestling circuit. His professional break came with the tournament Cruiserweight Classic in 2016. In 2022, the 33-year-old took his first bare-knuckle boxing fight with BKFC to score a KO victory and holds a 2–0 record at amateur level in MMA. In Beziers, the Englishman will be looking to recover from the loss he incurred in his pro-MMA debut last year.
Kevin Simon Césari has a karate background. He enrolled in the discipline at a very young age and practised the sport for 20 years to become a member of the French national team, winning several international medals. After spells in full-contact and jiu-jitsu fighting, he transitioned to MMA about ten years ago. Not a member of any gym, Cesari travels from club to club to acquire new skills. He will be cornered by French MMA pioneer and legend, Anthony Rea.
On how he thinks the fight will go, Claffey predicts: “I’m going to overwhelm him with pressure. He’s going to be backing up or smothered with shots the entire night.”
The wait has clearly stoked a fire in Claffey. Heading into the original match in June he had commented, “I’m going to wipe this man from pillar to post and… I’m going to take him out for tea afterwards”. His message now to his new opponent? Simply, “I hope you like blood.”
If one thing is certain, Claffey is well ready to fight.
HEXAGONE MMA 8: FINALISED FIGHT CARD
World Featherweight CHAMPIONSHIP – Men’s 65.8kg / 145 lbs:
Dean Garnett (UK, 10-2-1) vs. Lucas Corbage (11-1, Argentina)
Lightweight Bout – Men’s 70.3 kg / 155lbs:
Wilson Varela (9-5, Portugal) vs. Alisson Marreira (7-4-1, Spain via Brazil)
Strawweight Bout – Women’s 52.2 kg / 115lbs: Karla Benitez (19-16-1, Venezuela) vs. Ielo Page (7-5, France)
Featherweight Bout – Men’s 65.8 kg / 145 lbs: Jack Claffey (0-1, England) vs. Kevin Simon Césari (1-0, France)
Middleweight Bout – Men’s 83.9 kg / 185 lbs: Gyorgy Komuves (1-1, Hungary) vs. Lazaro Maza Blanco (0-0, Spain)
Catchweight Bout – Men’s 80 kg:
Frankie Rollandt (4-6, France) vs. Allan Taibi (2-5, France)
Welterweight Bout – Men’s -77.1 kg/ 170 lbs : Mathieu Rakotondrazanany (2-3, France) vs. Faudel Bentaieb (2-3, France)
Catchweight Bout – Men’s -59kg:
Boualem Sahraoui (2-2, France) vs. Shekibulah Waris (0-0, Afghanistan)
Bantamweight Bout – Men’s -61kg /135 lbs: Georges Ngoma (0-1, France) vs. Adel Khaldoune (0-1, France)
UPCOMING HEXAGONE MMA DATES:
August 4, 2023: HEXAGONE MMA 8 at the Arena of Béziers
September 7, 2023: HEXAGONE MMA X BRAVE CF at the H – Arena, Nantes
Tickets for HEXAGONE MMA 8 can be purchased here