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Cage Rage 12: The Real Deal review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on February 28, 2007, 7:47 AM

Cage Rage 12: The Real Deal

London, England

-Your hosts are Malcolm Martin, Rob Nutley, and Stephen Quadros on commentary, with the ever-insightful Richard Blackwood doing post-fight interviews. Honestly, Blackwood’s terrible at the job but some of the stuff he comes out with is so ludicrous that you can’t help but laugh at the guy, especially when he’s attempting to interview a foreign fighter who’s speaking in broken English and clearly struggling to understand the questions.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Cyrille Diabete vs Fabio Piamonte

Piamonte comes out with the Chute Boxe banners and their guys, although I haven’t heard of him as part of that camp before. Of course, as soon as they see the banner the announcers are creaming, as Diabete’s a well-known Thai stylist so immediately they’re expecting a throwdown.

We get underway, and Piamonte pushes the action off the bat, stalking Diabete. The Snake lands a couple of leg kicks, but Fabio shoots in and gets a takedown to half-guard. Diabete immediately works to reverse, and manages to roll into top position in Fabio’s guard, before standing. Piamonte joins him and Diabete comes forward with two good left hands, only for Piamonte to clip him with a left that sends him down to the mat! Snake pops right back up, but Piamonte comes forward swinging, and decks him with another left hook. Fabio dives down onto him to look for a finish, but Diabete manages to roll on top, but still seems stunned from the punch, and Piamonte quickly works a triangle/armbar combination from the bottom, hooking it in for the submission.

Exciting fight and an impressive showing from the Brazilian; I definitely didn’t expect him to out-strike Diabete given that I’d never heard of him before, and his ground game looked solid too with the speed that he slapped the triangle on (although it may have been a case of Diabete being too stunned to properly defend). Good fight though at any rate.

Featherweight Fight: Brad Pickett vs Jordan Miller

Miller is apparently just eighteen years old, and this is his second MMA bout, so good luck to him with that. Although he was coming off a win in his last appearance, Pickett was still really rebuilding from his lone loss coming into this, and as it’s Brad Pickett, we’re pretty much guaranteed something exciting methinks.

Sure enough Brad opens the first like a house on fire, rocking Miller right off the bat with some strikes, so Miller shoots in and gets the takedown. Pickett scrambles right back to his feet, but after a brief exchange in the clinch Miller gets him down again into half-guard. Pickett reclaims full guard and ties Miller up pretty well, so Jordan delivers a couple of mini-slams before the ref stands them. Miller comes forward into a clinch, but Pickett lands a knee, and then gets his own takedown into a side mount. Miller works his way back to his feet, but Brad completely out-muscles him, chucking him around in a front facelock before landing some heavy punches as they break off. Miller looks in trouble and drops to his back in guard, and Pickett follows him down and drops some big forearms as Miller tries to recover. Pickett brings it back up, and rocks him with some big hooks, sprawling to avoid a takedown. Miller shoots again, but Pickett avoids and lands another couple of shots, before getting his own double leg, passing from side mount into north/south to end the round.

Into the 2nd and they pick up right where they left off, as Brad comes in punching and catches Miller with a big knee. Miller throws a kick, but Pickett counters with a right and then narrowly misses a spinning backfist. Miller grabs a head clinch, but Pickett quickly breaks, only for Miller to manage a takedown to side mount. Pickett easily gets to full guard though, and then locks an armbar in from the bottom. Armbar looks tight, but Pickett can’t straighten his body out to finish it, and Miller attempts to slam his way out, but only causes Brad to sink it in deeper. Miller’s still in the fight though and he tries the step-over escape, but still can’t get out and Pickett finally manages to extend the arm, causing Miller to verbally submit.

Well, Pickett’s ground game definitely looked improved there, that’s for sure. Another exciting fight from him too, even if his opponent looked overmatched very early on. Ending was very cool too with Miller trying everything to escape the armbar and still failing.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Mark Epstein vs Mathias Riccio

Pre-fight interview has Epstein saying he’s never tried frog’s legs before, but they’re definitely on his menu tonight. Charming. Announcers think Riccio looks in better shape than we’ve seen him before, but I don’t see it myself.

Round 1 begins, and Riccio lands a couple of low kicks before landing a high kick to the side of Epstein’s head. They trade some big punches with Riccio getting the better of it, and then suddenly slow down and back off a bit. High kick lands again from Riccio, answered by Epstein with a left hook, and then they trade into a clinch. Riccio tries a trip takedown, but Epstein lands on top in a side mount, only for Riccio to get half-guard and reverse to standing. Very high pace thus far. They swing back into the clinch again, and this time Riccio gets the takedown, putting Epstein on his back in half-guard and landing some elbows, but the Beast manages to flip him over and gets into top position in Riccio’s guard. Epstein gets him up next to the fence and begins to work him over, landing some clubbing right hands and a lot of left hammer fists. Riccio manages to deflect some of them, but Epstein continues in relentless fashion, punching away and marking Riccio’s face up pretty badly. Riccio is cut and his eye looks practically closed by this point, and some more abuse from Epstein causes the ref to step in right before the round ends for the TKO.

Pretty fast-paced bout from two guys you probably wouldn’t expect that from, but I think Riccio especially paid the price for that as he looked tired once Epstein got him down, and didn’t defend himself all that well at all. Riccio wasn’t out as such when the ref stopped it, but it was more that he wasn’t defending himself properly and the beating would’ve only gotten worse at that point. Nasty ground-and-pound from Epstein, too.

Middleweight Fight: Matt Ewin vs Travis Lutter

Interesting little bout here, I’d totally forgotten about Lutter’s brief excursion to Cage Rage between his UFC bouts in 2005 till I came across it for the review, actually.

Lutter closes the distance, but Ewin surprises everyone by shooting in for a leg. He gets Lutter against the cage and continues to work for the single leg, but Lutter defends well, and almost manages to step across and slide onto Ewin’s back at one point. Eventually Lutter gets a nice reversal and ends up on top in half-guard, before getting an easy pass to side mount. Ewin’s clearly in trouble at this point and sure enough, Lutter gets a knee on the right arm and then locks up a kimura variant on the left arm for the swift tapout.

Ring announcer calls it a keylock, but it looked to me more like the straight-arm kimura from the side mount that Matt Hughes went for on Royce Gracie. Anyhow, quick and easy win for Lutter there, not much more to say really. Afraid I still find the guy as dull as dishwater even if he’s skilled on the ground.

Middleweight Fight: Curtis Stout vs Nilson De Castro

De Castro’s another lesser Chute Boxe guy, a real veteran whose record apparently dates back to legit old-school Vale Tudo in the 90’s, even if his win-loss stats aren’t that great. Of course, with Stout being his opponent another slugfest seemed on the cards here.

De Castro comes forward, and Stout misses a leg kick before landing one, and then DECKS HIM WITH THE LEFT HOOK!~! De Castro goes down and Stout adds a couple of punches, but the guy’s clearly out like a light.

Very quick win there, about fifteen seconds. Man does Stout pack some power in that left hook. Post-fight he basically says that he didn’t expect it to be that quick, but if the left hook lands clean, you’re going to sleep. So three fights, three KOs with the left hook for Stout at this point.

Lightweight Fight: Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro vs Gerald Strebendt

When Cage Rage announced this for the card, I was very excited as not only is Shaolin one of my favourite fighters, but Strebendt’s a pretty accomplished grappler himself (I believe he’s the only guy to tap someone with Eddie Bravo’s vaunted ‘twister’ in MMA) so I was expecting a good ground war out of this one, despite Strebendt promising a standing knockout.

They circle to begin before Strebendt shoots in on a single leg, so much for knocking Shaolin out standing. Ribeiro blocks the takedown, so Strebendt pulls half-guard, before giving his back and going for the standing kimura ala Sakuraba on Renzo Gracie. Shaolin slips free though, so Strebendt shoots in for a takedown again, but Ribeiro sprawls back and HOOKS IN A FAST GUILLOTINE for the tapout. Good lord was that quick.

Well, so much for a ground war – Shaolin proved to be far too quick for Strebendt and finished him off in practically his first attempt. Tremendous debut for the Brazilian who just continues to prove that he’s arguably *the* best ground technician in MMA today.

Middleweight Fight: Alex Reid vs Kyosuke Sasaki

Lee Murray was Sasaki’s originally scheduled opponent here, but ended up dislocating his hip in training a few days beforehand, so his London Shootfighters teammate Reid stepped in on short notice. As it goes, Sasaki wasn’t Murray’s original opponent anyway – the fight was originally scheduled for Daiju Takase who also pulled out with injury. Anyhow, Reid looks much, much bigger than Sasaki coming in; in fact Sasaki looks more like a chubby Welterweight.

They begin and Reid slips to his back on a high kick attempt right away, but quickly gets back up, only for Sasaki to get a nice single leg to guard. Reid gets a tight guard, holding Sasaki close, so the Japanese stands to attempt to pass. Reid fires up some good kicks from his back, landing a couple of decent ones, but Sasaki manages to get past and goes down into side mount. Sasaki manoeuvres into a bit of a weird position, basically a reverse mount, and then slides into the north/south position where he looks to hook up an armbar, but Reid throws some knees to the head from his back, and cuts Sasaki open bad on the forehead. Ref comes in to stop the action, despite Sasaki protesting that he had the armbar all but locked up. We get a clean break while they show us a replay of the incident, and come to think of it, surely Reid’s knee strikes were illegal, as Sasaki wasn’t standing when they were thrown?

At any rate, the ref goes to restart them in the same position on the ground, but now we get our THIRD moment of controversy, as they restart in a completely different position, more of a traditional side mount with Sasaki’s armbar attempt nowhere to be seen. Upon the restart Reid quickly gets to full guard, and works to push Sasaki away, landing some upkicks as Sasaki stands. Sasaki passes the guard strangely, almost lying down on Reid backwards, and so Reid tries a bizarre rear naked choke with no hooks in and Sasaki’s body off to the side. Naturally it doesn’t work, so instead Reid lands some punches and reverse hammer fists, re-opening the cut, and throwing in some more shady knees to boot. Sasaki manages to get into side mount, but this time Reid avoids the armbar setup and continues to work the cut to end the round.

Between rounds we get a cut stoppage, and naturally Sasaki looks really upset with the decision. Very, very strange stuff there. I don’t normally like to criticise the referee in MMA, and honestly, Grant Waterman usually does a stellar job, but I have no idea what he was thinking here. First off, the knees that Reid threw were clearly illegal and should’ve garnered him a warning – and when the fight was stopped on the cut, surely due to it being opened by illegal strikes, that warrants a no-contest? And that’s not even getting into the fight being stopped to check the cut as the guy was setting up a submission, and then restarting in a totally different position to where it was stopped. Just a strange fight with a terrible decision, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been changed to a no-contest afterwards.

Cage Rage World Heavyweight Title: Antonio Silva vs Rafael Carino

Title at this point was vacant, as Ian Freeman had vacated the Heavyweight Title before it was split down into the World/British belts, so this is for the World Title as both guys are Brazilians. Both are legit huge too, Carino at 6’6” and around 260lbs, and Silva at a monstrous 6’8” and 300lbs, seemingly not even carrying much bodyfat. The guy is just HUGE. He was with Brazilian Top Team at this point, too, making him an even scarier prospect.

We get underway and Silva presses forward with some big punches into a clinch, before breaking with a heavy left hand. Carino clinches up again and manages to muscle him into the fence, but can’t really get anything going from there and so the ref breaks them up. Silva comes forward, working the left jab before cracking Rafael with a right hook, so Carino clinches again and muscles him into the fence. Silva works to reverse position, forcing Carino into the fence before breaking and stunning him with a fast combination. Carino runs for cover and drops to his back, completely out of ideas, and Silva simply drops down into side mount and rains down some HUGE punches before the towel comes in from Carino’s corner.

Devastating performance from Silva to pick up the title, and with his size, strength, and apparent hand speed and crisp strikes to match it’s no wonder people were pegging him (even when he was very inexperienced) as a potential challenger to Fedor. That aura of being an unstoppable force has since been removed somewhat, as he suffered his first loss at the hands of Eric Pele in a controversial bout, but no doubt he’s still a dangerous character. His Cage Rage career seems to have been derailed though – I believe the promotion had problems with his management, and although he hasn’t been outright stripped of his title yet, he hasn’t returned to defend it and I haven’t heard his name mentioned by the promotion in some time.

Cage Rage British Middleweight Title: Mark Weir vs Sol Gilbert

Title was vacant here with Anderson Silva holding the World equivalent, and both men were looking for redemption – Gilbert coming back from the devastating KO at the hands of Curtis Stout, and Weir coming off three straight losses with rumblings of a possible retirement going around too. Basically the young lion against the old veteran story, with Weir having much more experience than his younger foe.

Round 1, and Gilbert comes out aggressively, stalking Weir, but before he can land, he eats a right hand and Weir gets a trip to half-guard. Gilbert gets back to full guard and tries to tie him up, but Weir stays busy, landing punches and forearms before standing and dropping a right hand directly to the head. Weir lands some more shots from in the guard, and then stands over him as Gilbert scoots backwards. Weir suddenly drops a HARD FLURRY down onto Sol, hurting him badly and causing him to turtle up! Weir follows down, and Gilbert rolls, but ends up mounted by Weir, who begins to land some heavy strikes in short bursts. Gilbert eventually gives his back to avoid the barrage, and Weir hooks in a body triangle and looks to lock up the rear naked choke. Gilbert looks in trouble, but Weir can’t get the choke on properly, so he releases and tries again, and this time it looks tight...but the bell sounds to end the round. Gilbert looks very disorientated and frustrated as he heads back to his corner.

They press to open the 2nd, and Gilbert looks much more conservative now, hanging back and waiting for a chance to counter. Both men land right hands, but then Weir catches him with a big left high kick, and closes in with a flurry! Weir drops him with a right hand, and then lands some punches into the guard, but chooses to stand up instead, and Gilbert joins him. Weir comes in with a left hook and a body kick as soon as Sol stands, and they circle into a trade, with Weir getting the best of it, landing another nasty left high kick. Weir continues to stalk his battered opponent, hitting body kicks and working a right jab, before landing the left high kick again! Two straight rights and another kick wobble Sol, before Weir lands another flurry and gets the takedown right into mount, where he chooses to stand, dropping some punches to end the round.

Gilbert is a seriously bloody mess at this point, and his corner throw in the towel between rounds, definitely the smart decision there. Weir celebrates with his title, and that was definitely the best performance I’ve seen from him in Cage Rage yet. Somewhat of a one-sided bout for the most part, but it was extremely entertaining as Weir basically beat Gilbert from pillar to post, and his striking looked extremely sharp and accurate.

-Blackwood wraps things up for us, plugging Cage Rage 13, and then the credits roll.

Final Thoughts....

Very good show there, definitely the best Cage Rage I’ve reviewed thus far. They actually trimmed down the card for the DVD this time, removing the lesser or more dull fights, and it certainly paid off as everything here is good and there are a lot of quick, exciting fights on show. Best of the lot would be the showings from Stout, Ribeiro and Silva, although Weir’s performance in the main event was as impressive as any on the card, and for a one-sided match it was certainly fun to watch. The only aberration on the card is the Reid-Sasaki match and even that isn’t bad or anything, it’s just outright bizarre. Definitely a solid recommendation for any big fan of Mixed Martial Arts.

Coming Soon....

Pride: 18.
UFC: 63, 64 and 65.
Cage Rage: 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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