Ireland’s Rhys McKee and England’s Justin Burlinson are set to fight for the vacant Cage Warriors welterweight title on Saturday, June 25 in Belfast. The Irish Mirror first reported the news, and sources confirmed it to MyMMANews.com this morning.
The matchup sees top contenders face off in an eagerly anticipated showdown, which is likely to headline the Cage Warriors 138 event.
Rhys “Skeletor” McKee was previously announced to fight for the title by the promotion in Belfast back in 2020. However, that never came to fruition. In turn, the Ballymena fighter would go on to sign for the UFC, losing to Khamzat Chimaev and Brandon Morono during his short tenure with the world-leading promotion. Following his release, McKee displayed arguably a career-best performance over Aleksi Mäntykivi en route to a 3rd-round TKO.
Justin Burlinson had UFC dreams of his own scuppered when he lost via 1st-round KO to undefeated Yohan Lainesse on Dana White’s Contender Series last November. Similarly, to McKee, Burlinson rebounded with a gutsy performance in his return to Cage Warriors, stopping Daniel Skibiński in the 2nd round.
In his post-fight interview with Cage Warriors, Burlinson called out McKee for the upcoming Belfast card. With McKee accepting the challenge, here we are.
Cage Warriors 138 takes place on Saturday 25th June in Belfast’s SSE Arena.
Andy Stevenson is an MMA writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster based in Dublin, Ireland.