Two of the top amateur fighters in Ohio will square off with welterweight gold on the line this weekend at Caged Thunder 13. The main event features Braden Liggett against J’Mar Moore and the event goes down at Chapparells Event Center in Akron.
Nicknamed “Kid Magic”, Liggett comes in with five stoppages in his career, including an impressive knockout of Anson Hunnell at Caged Thunder 12 to earn the title shot. He’s 7-3 overall with back-to-back wins.
“I think the matchup is good; looks like I’m the underground coming in according to Tapology, but that doesn’t bother me one bit – [it’s] just another day in the office,” Liggett said.
Six of Liggett’s ten bouts have come for the Caged Thunder promotion, and he actually competed for the promotion’s welterweight title in 2019. He came up short in that bout, as he suffered a knockout loss against Lucas Mast at Caged Thunder 6.
“I’m not going to let it slip through my hands this time,” Liggett said. “And I’m not to worried about how I finish the fight honestly as long as I walk out with that belt that’s all I care about.”
Moore comes in as likely the smaller fighter, as he’s spent the majority of his career competing at lightweight where he’s posted a 6-3 record. But “The Martian” believes that may actually be to his benefit coming into this fight.
“I feel like coming up in weight is an advantage in this specific fight,” Moore said. “I’ve been training with welterweights up to heavyweights my WHOLE career so I don’t feel like it’s going to be any different here.
“I wouldn’t consider myself big but I’m definitely not small compared to most amateur welterweights. He’s slightly taller and longer than me which is what I prefer anyway. Most of my opponents have been smaller than me and mainly grapplers so I’ve always had to use my distance. This fight I can mix it up and take the fight wherever I want to take it and be 100% comfortable.”
For Moore’s side, he looks for his second win of the year in what will mark his Caged Thunder debut. He won a lightweight title in Alabama earlier this year but dropped his next bout via decision in September. Now he returns to his home state looking for another title win.
“I feel like it’s a great match up for me, I know I can win this fight no matter where it goes,” Moore said. “I know I have the better striking and I’m confident that I have the better grappling and jiu-jitsu. I’ve watched most of his fights in-person so I see a lot of the good and bad habits and tendencies that he has.”
David McKinney has covered MMA since he was in high school in 2008. A former co-owner of BluegrassMMA, he currently hosts the Beers and Beards and Brewery Adventures podcasts. He covers regional MMA in the Midwest with a focus on Ohio.