A vacant Cage Warriors welterweight title clash between Ballymena striker, Rhys McKee, and Sunderland finisher, Justin Burlinson is set to headline the promotion’s upcoming June 25. return to Belfast – from the SSE Arena.
McKee, who made a triumphant return to the Graham Boylan-led promotion back in October of last year following a two-fight stint with the UFC, stopped Aleksi Mantykivi with dominant eventual third round eventual strikes.
For the 7-1 Burlinson, the 24-year-old upstart featured just at the beginning of this month most recently – stopping Daniel Skibinski with a second round guillotine choke victory at Cage Warriors 135. News of McKee’s vacant welterweight title outing against Burlinson was first reported by the Irish Mirror.
11-4-1 as a professional, McKee enjoyed a three–fight promotional perfect run with Cage Warriors before his July 2020 call to the North American-based promotion, UFC.
McKee, 26, made his Octagon debut on short notice against the now-#3 ranked welterweight contender, Khamzat Chimaev, suffering a first round ground strikes loss to the Chechen-born phenom.
In a November return to the Octagon that same year, McKee tackled welterweight veteran, Alex Morono – suffering a unanimous decision loss over the course of three rounds, bringing an end to his UFC tenure.
Improving to 4-0 over the course of two stints under the Cage Warriors banner, McKee stopped the above mentioned, Mantykivi with strikes – adding the Fin to prior successes against Jefferson George, Perry-Andre Goodwin, and Hakon Foss.
In November of last year, Burlinson suffered his first professional loss in the form of an opening round knockout defeat against Yohann Lainesse on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Akin to McKee, Burlinson also competed under the now-defunct BAMMA banner, as well as landing a pair of victories during his two-fight tenure with Bellator MMA. Over the course of his eight fight professional career, Burlinson has managed to land a 100 percent finish rate – securing four submission stoppages to go with a trio of knockout wins.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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