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Cage Rage 11: Face Off review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on February 28, 2007, 7:47 AM

Cage Rage 11: Face Off

London, England

-Your hosts are Malcolm Martin, Rob Nutley and Stephen Quadros, with Richard Blackwood “hosting” the actual programme as such.

-This was the show, additionally that saw the switchover involving the Cage Rage titles, as firstly the old title belts (which looked like really aged boxing belts) were replaced by proper, pro-wrestling style title belts. The main switch though was that due to the burgeoning international talent entering Cage Rage, each division’s title was split into a British Title, and then a World Title. Basically any non-British fighter holding a title at this time (Jean Silva, Anderson Silva) saw their title renamed to a ‘World Title’ with the British equivalent being vacant, while the British titleholders (Paul Jenkins, Michael Bisping) became British champions, with the World equivalent being declared vacant. Hope that makes sense.

Heavyweight Fight: Tom Blackledge vs Kuljit Degun

The arena is DEAD at this point, like, it looks completely empty pretty much. Degun is the guy who lost to Ryan Robinson for the Heavyweight Title back at Cage Rage 8, while Blackledge is a fighter out of Mike Bisping’s Wolfslair camp.

They press forward and Blackledge throws a couple of high kicks with both legs, each glancing off Degun’s head. Degun answers with a low kick, so Blackledge closes the distance with a double jab and then gets a slam to a side mount. He crossfaces Degun, and then twists his head to the side, and Degun taps out there.

Really weird sub, announcers can’t figure out via the replay quite what Degun tapped to. Ring announcer calls it a neck crank, but it looked more like Blackledge forced his forearm down into Degun’s face. Huh. Total squash, at any rate.

Welterweight Fight: Abdul Mohamed vs Jess Liaudin

Mohamed is a seriously big dude, looking at him here at Welterweight I cannot fathom how the guy manages to get to 155lbs. Liaudin actually retired a few shows back, and they never really explain exactly why he’s come back here.

They circle to open, and Liaudin misses a wild spinning kick. Mohamed shoots in and grabs him, getting a takedown into a side mount, but Jess quickly gets a half-guard back. Liaudin looks for a kimura, and gets into full guard, but Abdul stands up to avoid the submission and drops some punches. Standing back, Mohamed kicks the legs for a moment before landing a DIVING PUNCH into the guard. Liaudin tries a triangle, but Mohamed avoids and starts to drop some shots, so Jess rolls for a kneebar from the bottom. Mohamed tries the Ian Freeman route of avoiding – dropping huge bombs down onto his opponent, bloodying Liaudin up, but the Frenchman pulls him down and aaaaalmost straightens it out, only for Mohamed to pull out at the last second. Mohamed rains down some brutal ground-and-pound from here, really working Liaudin over. Jess rolls and manages to survive, but his nose is clearly broken at this point, just as it was in his last two appearances. They come back to standing, and Liaudin gets desperate, charging forward with an attempt at a flying punch, and they go into a clinch with Jess blocking a takedown to end the round.

No surprises though, the doctors stop the fight between rounds for Liaudin’s broken nose, third time in a row that’s happened to him. No way he was winning this one though – Mohamed was beating the hell out of him with some of those shots. Pretty exciting fight while it lasted, actually.

Heavyweight Fight: Robert Berry vs Andy Costello

Two BIG guys here, so everyone’s expecting a major slugfest. Costello even uses the clichéd “I’ll BERRY you” line in his pre-fight promo.

They get underway and Costello lands a couple of punches going into a clinch, and they muscle for position, shoving each other around the cage. Berry suddenly lands a big right hand to break off though, rocking him, and then follows in with some WILD, HEAVY SHOTS that hurt Costello bad. Costello staggers backwards, and Berry drops him with a big right hook for the KO.

Exactly as advertised there – two big blokes throwing hard punches until one went down. Not a technical masterpiece or anything, but Buzz hits HARD.

Featherweight Fight: Brad Pickett vs Aaron Blackwell

Never heard of Blackwell before but Pickett is one of those guys who brings it every single time he’s out there, so I’m expecting an exciting fight here. Brad was coming off his first loss at the last Cage Rage show, and was looking for redemption.

Round 1 opens and they press the action before Blackwell shoots in looking for a takedown. He tries a slam, but Pickett lands on his feet and grabs a guillotine, using it to break off. Blackwell tries a kick, but Pickett catches it and throws him down, following by dropping a right hand down onto him, before backing off again. Blackwell comes up and throws some kicks, before getting a plum clinch, but Pickett breaks. Blackwell comes back with a side kick and a slam to side mount, but Brad scrambles from the bottom, so Blackwell stands to look for a guard pass. Pickett escapes to his feet, but Blackwell catches him with a fast combination. Pickett comes right back with one of his own, and then begins to press the action, landing big punches in some exchanges. Blackwell tries to circle out and use kicks to keep the distance, catching Pickett with a front kick to the face as he closes in punching. They go into a full-on exchange with both men landing, but it’s clear that Pickett’s got the power advantage and Blackwell eventually shoots in, getting a takedown to guard. Pickett locks in a guillotine from the bottom and it looks TIGHT, but the buzzer sounds there. Blackwell may well have been saved by the bell on that one. Hell of a first round.

Into the 2nd, and Blackwell opens with some kicks, grabbing a plum clinch, but Pickett pounds away at his body with some heavy punches. Blackwell lands some knees from the plum clinch and then grabs a guillotine, pulling guard, but Pickett works his way free and stands up. Blackwell gets the plum clinch again and looks for some more knees, but Pickett nails him with punches to the body and head. Blackwell goes for a takedown, but Pickett blocks, and then breaks off with a hard knee to the head. Pickett begins to press the action, landing punches, before Blackwell grabs a plum clinch. He tries to throw some knees, but Pickett completely overpowers him and throws him to the ground face-first! Pickett continues to stalk, winging huge punches as Blackwell tries to block, trying to keep distance using kicks, but he looks tired at this point, and Pickett even throws a backfist as the round comes to an end.

Between rounds Blackwell’s corner throw the towel in, citing an apparent knee injury, don’t know how exactly he got hurt though. Still, an exciting fight, fought at a very torrid pace, and it doesn’t surprise me that Blackwell hurt himself. As I said earlier, Pickett just brings it in any fight regardless of the opponent, and this was certainly no exception.

Middleweight Fight: Hassan Muridi vs Henrique Santana

Muridi is a wrestling-based guy out of Ian Freeman’s camp – basically like Abdul Mohamed from what I know. Santana’s a Brazilian guy nicknamed ‘The Lizard’ and the announcers mention that this is somewhat of a personal bout, but don’t really touch on why.

They circle, before Muridi catches him off-balance with a low kick and sends Santana to the mat. Muridi tries to follow in with punches, but Santana spins to guard and then comes up for a takedown attempt. Muridi avoids and lands some punches as he sprawls back, and then stands back up. Santana comes forward and goes for a clinch, but Muridi gets a throw to guard, and avoids an attempt at an armbar. Santana takes some punches, but manages to get to his feet, eating some knees as he comes forward. Hassan avoids another takedown, but then slips on a knee attempt and Santana shoots in again, but Hassan manages to reverse and end up in top position. Santana tries an armbar from his guard, but Muridi avoids it and rolls him over, only for Santana to go back to half-guard. Muridi stands out of a leglock attempt, and the official calls Santana back up. Santana throws a kick and Muridi ducks and gets a takedown, but this time he botches it and Santana lands in full mount! Muridi covers up and avoids the punches well, but Santana inches up and then gets an armbar fully locked...right on the buzzer. Man, that was unlucky – a second or two earlier and I think that was over.

Into the 2nd then, and both press forward, missing kick attempts. Santana slips on a kick and falls to the mat, and Hassan pounces, taking his back for a rear naked choke, but he doesn’t bother to put his hooks in and Santana rolls free. They both scramble for position in a cool reversal sequence that ends up with Muridi on top in guard. Santana works his legs free and ends up in a front facelock, and they stand, where Santana gets a single leg to guard. He passes into half-guard, and Hassan works a reversal, but ends up on all fours and Santana swings over to take his back. Santana gets both hooks in and goes for a choke, but decides to try a body triangle for control instead, and Muridi manages to break it and turn into the choke, getting into Santana’s guard. He passes into half-guard and lands a couple of elbows, but the action slows down and they end up being stood, where Hassan lands some strikes to end the round.

It’s another fight ending between rounds, as Santana’s corner throw in the towel citing exhaustion this time, and sure enough he looks utterly cracked. Nothing special, but this was perfectly acceptable MMA with a few really good sequences of reversals in there too.

Cage Rage British Welterweight Title: Paul Daley vs Paul Jenkins

First defense for Jenkins and his newly named British Welterweight Title then, after he’d won the belt from Ronaldo Campos at Cage Rage 7. Not sure why it took the promotion so long to book the guy again, either, as he fought plenty of times elsewhere between the fights. Anyhow, we get a completely ludicrous entrance from the guy here too, as he comes out wearing one of those bizarre ostrich costumes ala David Brent from The Office’s Comic Relief episode. Real character, is Jenkins.

They get underway and Jenkins looks to use kicks to keep the distance between the two, clearly wary of Daley’s punching power. Daley naturally throws some big punches, but doesn’t really land. Eventually Daley works into a clinch and then gets a rear waistlock, pulling Jenkins to the mat, but Jenkins gets a half-guard as they go down. He quickly reverses to standing, and they muscle for position in a clinch along the fence, exchanging some knees. Daley breaks and then EXPLODES with a combo, stunning Jenkins before following with a big knee. Jenkins looks wobbled and Daley nails him with a big right hook and some more knees, before Jenkins grabs the clinch. Daley breaks with an inside elbow and then catches him with another right, rocking him again, but Jenkins manages to recover and gets a takedown to guard, where Daley ties him up. Jenkins seems content to recover, and they stay there to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and they both press the action, exchanging shots with nothing major landing, before going into the clinch. Daley muscles him and gets a trip to half-guard, where Jenkins hooks in a kimura from the bottom. Daley manages to clear his legs from the guard, effectively avoiding the kimura, before taking full mount. Daley lands some punches, causing Jenkins to give his back, but Daley can’t get his hooks in and Jenkins slips free and stands. Jenkins now gets a takedown of his own, and avoids a triangle attempt, as Daley pulls his legs up, teasing a submission attempt. Jenkins is slow from the top though, not landing much at all, and the referee stands them back up. Daley walks into a good front kick from Jenkins, but comes back with a one-two, and then ducks a punch, getting a takedown to side mount, and Jenkins looks for the kimura again to end the round.

Pretty close fight thus far but I’ve got Daley up two rounds.

Third and final round, and they exchange kicks to open, before Daley lands some nice bodyshots and a good left hook. Jenkins clinches, but Daley gets a rear waistlock and a throw, as Jenkins hooks the arm for the kimura again. Into half-guard though, and Daley works his arm free, before mounting again. Once again Jenkins uses the backdoor escape to slip free, but gets taken right back down as they come up to standing. This time though Jenkins uses the kimura attempt to get a sweep, ending up on top in Daley’s guard, and from there Jenkins stays busy, working the body and the head and landing punches until the round ends with an oma plata attempt from the challenger.

We’re going to the judges on this one....and it’s a majority draw. Daley looks angry and the crowd seem less than enthralled, too. I actually had it 29-28 for Daley with Jenkins taking the third round, but as we’ve seen in Cage Rage before, it seems that to win a title you really have to *beat* the champion, and this was a close enough fight I guess for that to not really be the case. Not an especially explosive fight, but a decent one nonetheless.

Middleweight Fight: Damien Riccio vs Ross Mason

This was striker Mason’s Cage Rage debut, and naturally, being named Ross, his nickname is ‘The Boss’. Seriously, does EVERY fighter named Ross have to have that nickname? At least Ross Pointon was somewhat original calling himself the Gladiator. Well, not original as such, but you get my point.

Mason presses forward to open round one, but nothing really lands from him and Damien ends up swinging his way into a clinch. They muscle for position, exchanging knees along the way, before Mason breaks off. Couple of kicks and combinations land from the Boss, and Riccio swings, but ends up being dropped by a low kick. Damien pops right back up, and swings his way into a clinch, this time getting a trip to guard, avoiding a reversal attempt on the way down, and then he passes to half-guard. Mason ties him up, so Damien works with short, chopping body punches to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and Mason lands a few low kicks to open, followed by an overhand left. Mason continues this tactic, landing shots and then backing away, until Riccio catches him with a left hook. He looks to follow up, but Mason gets a takedown to guard, before standing back up again. Nice looping left hand lands from Mason and then he tries a high kick that glances off Damien’s head. Mason continues to work the combos, not landing anything major though, until Riccio catches him with a left hook again, stunning him. Damien closes in with a flurry, backing Mason into the fence, but they go into a clinch. Back out, and Damien continues to look for the left hook as the round ends.
Third and final round, and Riccio begins to press the action now, coming forward with punches with Mason avoiding most of them. Mason grabs a plum clinch, and lands a couple of knees, but Damien breaks into an over/under clinch and they muscle for position. Riccio decides to drop for a heel hook attempt, but ends up on his back in guard instead, and Mason works inside, avoiding a couple of armbar attempts and landing some elbows and punches. Couple of good forearms land cleanly, and one cuts Damien open deep on the forehead. Mason continues to work, but the official spots the cut and calls time, and the doctors stop things there.

Mason was well on his way to the unanimous decision anyway, but I guess a TKO looks better on his record than a decision. Workmanlike performance from him as he avoided the brunt of Damien’s attacks and although he didn’t especially hurt the Frenchman until the cut, he was clearly winning the fight. Bit of a plodder, though.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Antony Rea vs Pierre Guillet

These two had seen different fortunes at Cage Rage 10, as Rea had looked impressive in stopping Cyborg Santos, while Guillet had been the unfortunate victim of Babalu. Pierre looks much, much more confident here though and rightfully so – Rea’s good but he’s not as scary as Babalu by a long shot! Ian Freeman joins us on commentary here.

Pierre comes right out with a quick takedown, and Rea locks him up in a closed guard. Guillet moves him to the fence, but Rea gets his back on the fence ala Chuck Liddell and uses it to stand up in a clinch. Rea lands some foot stomps and then breaks off, avoiding a couple of takedowns nicely. Guillet manages to grab him, but botches a slam attempt badly and ends up on the bottom in half-guard. Rea stands though, and then lands a low kick into a clinch as Pierre joins him. Nice inside elbow lands from Rea, and he continues to block the takedown, landing some knees, as the round ends.

Rea swings wild to open the 2nd, but Pierre avoids and shoots in for a takedown. Rea sprawls and gets a front facelock, and then comes back up and lands some knees to the head. Big knee lands and then Rea opens up with some nasty uppercuts, following with some big shots to the liver and more knees and uppercuts, before a big left drops Guillet for the TKO.

Another strong showing from the Frenchman Rea – the replay of the final flurry especially looks brutal – and his takedown defense and inside work looked very good here.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Mark Epstein vs Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos

Announcers are basically promising a slugfest here, and with these two guys can you blame them? Definitely not expecting a technical masterpiece here, but this should be fun to watch at least.

They get underway and it’s WINDMILL TIME!~!, but both men miss their shots and then decide to calm down and back off, pressing the action cautiously with both guys missing the odd huge swing. Epstein finally comes forward and grabs a clinch, and shoves Cyborg into the fence, where the Brazilian reverses position and slams some heavy knees into the thighs of the Londoner. They break off, and trade some BIG SHOTS, with Cyborg catching Epstein on the chin and dropping him to his knees. The Beast pops back up, but Cyborg SMELLS BLOOD and comes forward with a HUGE WILD FLURRY to send Epstein crashing down and out.

Well, they promised us that someone was going down hard, and they definitely delivered in that aspect. Cyborg’s not the most technical guy but he throws BOMBS, and once he started to land clean, that was that.

Middleweight Fight: Curtis Stout vs Mark Weir

Stout was of course coming off the sickening KO of Sol Gilbert, and thus had re-nicknamed himself ‘Bang Em Out’ ready for this showdown with one of the UK’s top Middleweight strikers. Again, announcers think someone’s going down hard in this one.

Weir looks for a kick to begin, but Stout quickly closes the distance and surprises him with a throw to the mat. Weir gets full guard, and Stout peppers him with some left hands. Weir works his way to his feet, but Stout lands some more lefts as he comes up, and they exchange some knees. Stout lands one to the groin and the ref calls time there to let Weir recover. He seems alright and they restart, and Weir comes forward with a flurry...but Stout counters with the DEADLY LEFT HOOK!~!, hitting Weir dead on the temple and crumpling him like a demolished building. Few follow-up punches land, but Weir’s already out cold.

Another highlight-reel knockout for Stout, the guy might not be the world’s greatest fighter but he’s got DYNAMITE in that left hand, and if he lands clean, that seems to be that, as was the case here for Weir.

Cage Rage Middleweight Title: Anderson Silva vs Jorge Rivera

Lee Murray joins us on commentary, which is cool as he’s fought both guys, submitting Rivera and losing a decision to Silva. Incredibly this would be his last appearance at Cage Rage before all the controversy around him exploded later in the year. Anyhow – pretty strong main event for Cage Rage to put together at the time, this was.

They circle to begin, and Rivera quickly closes the distance and bulls into a clinch. Rivera tries to muscle him to the fence, but Silva gets a plum clinch and lands some knees to the body. They break and exchange punches briefly, back into the clinch, where Silva lands some more knees that Rivera tries to answer with punches. Back out, and Rivera backs off now. Rivera tries to swing some shots, but Silva avoids and lands a couple of his trademark laser-sighted straight punches. Back into the clinch, but Silva breaks with knees quickly. They circle, and Silva grabs his head, landing some body punches and some more knees. From there Silva opens up with knees and right hands, causing Rivera to cover up, but he manages to survive. They come back out, and now Silva gets a takedown to half-guard, as the round ends. That wasn’t even competitive, totally Silva’s round.

Into the 2nd, and Rivera comes forward into the clinch again, but Silva quickly breaks with an inside elbow. They press and Silva gets the plum clinch again, but this time with both his hands behind Rivera’s head, Rivera takes the opportunity to land a series of clean punches to the jaw, nailing Silva with right hooks and uppercuts....and Silva completely no-sells them, apparently laughing at Rivera too, which completely shocks Murray on commentary. Silva breaks and then comes forward with a left hand and a left high kick that causes Rivera to cover up. Anderson follows with a flurry of right hands and elbows, but Rivera survives again, and comes forward, only for Silva to grab his head and nail him again with another big knee and muscle him to the fence. They back off, and Silva continues to pick him apart with shots, finally coming forward and grabbing another plum clinch, landing a series of vicious knees to the head to drop him. Rivera goes foetal, and Silva follows up for the stoppage.

Just a frighteningly efficient performance from Silva to stop a guy who is generally seen as one of the tougher fighters out there. What was most impressive was that it was a total washout, as Rivera barely landed a shot on Silva and when he did – the series of punches – Silva somehow laughed it off anyway. Silva fought Rivera’s fight – a clinch war – and utterly walked over him. Another great showing in Cage Rage for him.

And, we end there.

Final Thoughts....

Pretty solid show from Cage Rage, as there are no really bad fights on this card, and for the most part everything’s solid enough, even if there’s nothing truly outstanding on show. My only gripe would be that a lot of the fights end anti-climactically, with stoppages on cuts and towels coming in between rounds and stuff, but really that’s something that happens in MMA and it was just bad luck that there was a few of them on this card. Last few fights are a lot of fun though and for Anderson Silva fans, this is another one of his very best performances. Mildly recommended show, then.

Coming Soon....

Pride: 18.
UFC: 63, 64 and 65.
Cage Rage: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
WEC: 10 and 11.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
King of the Cage: 15, 18, 21, 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42 and 48.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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