Barrett seems to be a cocky shit-talker in the mould of Bad Boy Bailey, lets hope he doesn’t pull anything stupid in the ring though at least. Never heard of Lithuanian Arbocius and they don’t give us much background on the guy either. Barrett gets an interesting entrance too, mock-punching some guys on his way down and sending them crashing to the ground.
They exchange low kicks to begin, before Barrett lands a right hand that stuns the Lithuanian. Barrett closes in with a flurry of punches, and Arbocius covers up, then outright runs across the octagon. Barrett chases him down, and then lands a big knee and some more punches, and Arbocius goes down and covers up as Barrett keeps pounding away for the stoppage.
Huh. Quick and easy victory for Barrett as it appeared Arbocius had never taken a punch in his life before and just didn’t know what to do when it happened.
‘Rocky’ Holmes trains with Ian Freeman up in Sunderland, while the Croatian Galesic is officially part of James Thompson’s Team Trojan, although he’s also been known to split his time and train with Mirko Cro Cop often too. Both guys are making their Cage Rage debuts here.
Round 1, and Holmes comes out swinging, but a right hand from Zelg puts him down quickly. Galesic tries a stomp as the ref calls open guard, and then lands a soccer kick, before Holmes comes back up and takes some more punches. Galesic lands a left body kick, but Holmes keeps on swinging, so Zelg avoids deftly and lands a couple of straight rights. Big right follows, and then a MACHINE GUN COMBO and Holmes goes down again! Galesic calls him back up, and Holmes tries a takedown, but Zelg avoids and then lands a right straight, left high kick, and another right straight to put him down for good.
Very impressive debut for Galesic. Holmes was game and didn’t give up, but he was clearly overmatched in terms of striking, and Galesic’s technical kickboxing just tore right through his brawling style. Galesic’s gone on to even more success, which we’ll track in the next few Cage Rage shows, but yeah, watching this it’s easy to see why he’s become known as ‘Little Mirko’.
Ian Freeman’s now-vacant British Heavyweight Title was on the line here, as Berry, coming off three straight wins in Cage Rage, took on one of the UK’s best-known Heavyweights (although he was making his Cage Rage debut here), the adopted Georgian Tedoradze, who’s famous on the UK scene for his impressive Greco suplexes amongst other things.
They exchange punches to open the round, and Berry lands a couple of good straight rights. Big low kick follows, but Tengiz answers with a left cross, right into a rear waistlock. He pulls Berry down, and when Buzz tries to reverse to his feet, the Georgian lands a couple of punches and then follows with the BIG GERMAN SUPLEX!~! Into Berry’s half-guard, and Tedoradze slugs away, cutting Berry on the bridge of his nose as he tries to reverse. Tedoradze gets a front facelock, and then switches to the back with a rear waistlock, and from there he lands a short right to the chin from behind, and Berry goes down flat on his face, totally out of it.
Bit of a weird KO there – replays show it wasn’t really a hard shot, but it caught Berry right on the point of the chin and instantly turned his lights out. Tedoradze looked really good here, running through a big, dangerous guy with little to no difficulties at all.
This was originally scheduled for the previous Cage Rage, but Pickett picked up an injury and Olivier instead ended up facing – and schooling for the most part – a guy who’d beaten Pickett previously in Chris Freeborn. I’m pretty excited to see this one as both guys are mad aggressive and always bring the goods. Pickett, ever the entertainer, comes out reading the daily newspaper.
Round 1 opens, and Olivier comes out with a couple of low kicks before getting a quick takedown to side mount. Pickett immediately scrambles free and gets up, but Olivier gets a front facelock and lands some knees, then gets another takedown. Olivier stacks up and lands some punches inside the guard, keeping Pickett down, but Brad again scrambles free up into the front facelock. Olivier lands another knee, and then follows with another takedown, this time to side mount. Pickett scrambles from the bottom again, but this time ends up giving full mount, but before Olivier can do any damage, Pickett gets a reversal onto top position in Robbie’s guard. Pickett lands some right hands from the top, avoiding a sweep from the challenger, before moving him towards the fence. Pickett stands to drop some rights, and then passes into side mount, but Olivier escapes to standing in a clinch. He gets an ankle pick and puts Pickett down in guard, but as he stands to drop some punches, Pickett catches his ankle from the bottom and trips him down. Olivier manages to scramble back on top before Pickett can follow up though, and from there Brad ties him up well to end the round. Good lord, what a fast pace.
Into the 2nd, and both men land right hands, before Olivier gets a takedown, only for Pickett to roll all the way through and get on top in full mount! Pickett starts to land some bombs, but Olivier bucks desperately and gets back to full guard. Pickett gives him some rights for his troubles, but Olivier gets a sweep to a standing clinch. Olivier gets the takedown to half-guard, and then passes to mount, but before he can do damage, Pickett bucks from the bottom and reverses over to Olivier’s guard. Robbie slaps on a triangle right away, but Brad slams his way out and stands back up. Olivier joins him, catching a low kick and getting another takedown, but as he hops into side mount, Pickett gets another reversal and gets the full mount! They end up coming back to their feet though, where Pickett catches him with a right inside elbow and then a short left. Olivier answers with another takedown to guard, passing into side mount quickly, but Pickett hooks his arm and tries an interesting reversal, looking to flip over and take his back. He can’t get it though, and Olivier tries the mount, but Pickett blocks and then scrambles, so Olivier stands and the ref calls open guard. Pickett back-rolls to his feet before Olivier can try anything, and from there Olivier misses a leaping kick, and goes onto his back, where Brad lands some punches and blocks a takedown on the buzzer. Very close fight thus far.
Third and final round, and they go into a clinch to begin and muscle for position, with Pickett landing a right hand before Olivier manages the takedown to half-guard. Pickett gets full guard back, and Olivier stacks up and lands some punches before Pickett kicks him away and sprawls into a front facelock. This pace is just not slowing down. Pickett lands some knees to the body, but Olivier works his way to his feet, and then gets a takedown to side mount, working the body as Pickett holds him in a headlock. Things finally slow up a little, so the official stands them, and Olivier charges in for a takedown, but Pickett spins out at the side and lands some heavy punches to the head! Brad tries to take the challenger’s back, but Olivier rolls underneath and gets guard. He tries a kimura from the bottom, and as Pickett blocks it, Olivier uses it to get back to his feet. Another takedown to guard follows, and Olivier stacks up and lands short punches, before passing into side mount to end the fight. We’re going to the judges, and the commentators can’t pick a winner at all.
And it’s....Pickett, by majority decision. Crowd boo and seem unhappy, but that was just one of those fights that I think people would’ve complained about no matter which way it went. I can see why you’d want to give it to Olivier – he controlled the positioning of the fight for the most part, but you’ve got to consider that he didn’t really do any damage or hurt Pickett, or even come close to a submission thanks to Brad’s constant scrambling from the bottom, and when Pickett got into a good position he seemed to do more damage. Very difficult one to call but man was it entertaining. Sick pace throughout and some excellent reversals and groundwork.
General consensus here was that Mason, while being a decent enough emerging talent, was biting off way more than he could chew in terms of Lytle, who’s been in with the absolute top guys in the world and was only ever stopped once, on a cut. Announcers are saying Lytle won’t want to stand with him, but since when has Lytle really been outgunned standing by someone?
They circle into a clinch to open, and exchange some short knees and punches as they muscle for position. They break off and both miss combinations, before Mason lands a one-two. Lytle fires back, and they exchange punches with both landing well, into a clinch. Lytle trips him down to half-guard and then moves into side mount, where he gets the Matt Hughes-style crucifix and lands a series of clean, unanswered rights. Mason bucks desperately to try to escape, taking more shots in the process, but then he finally works his left arm free to block. Lytle tries to get the full mount, but ends up in half-guard for a moment. He gets the mount, and then decides to go back to side mount, where he gets the crucifix again, but this time triangles his legs around the head and looks for a side armlock variation. Mason bridges, trying to escape, but he looks cut now and Lytle continues to land punches as the time ends. Mason did well to survive that round.
They exchange punches to open the 2nd, and both land shots into a clinch. Mason looks for a takedown of his own, but Lytle avoids and gets him down in half-guard. He works to pass, but Mason keeps half-guard, but Lytle stays busy, getting a guillotine from top position and rolling to guard. Mason gets his arm in though, and manages to work free, before standing. Open guard is called and Mason tries a leaping stomp, but Lytle catches the foot and tries a heel hook, and then as Mason escapes, Lytle gets a rear waistlock and goes into a full mount as Mason rolls. Lytle hops into side mount and looks for the crucifix again, landing some more punches, and as Mason tries to reverse he ends up giving his back. Lytle works and gets both hooks in, and from there he rolls into a rear naked choke for the tapout.
Basically a whitewash for Lytle, Mason showed some talent and a lot of heart to survive for as long as he did, but he was always overmatched and couldn’t keep it standing where he at least seemed to stand a chance. On the mat, Lytle was all over him constantly and it only seemed a matter of time before he finished the Brit.
This was supposed to be another ‘Bushido Challenge’ match with the winner going on to fight in Pride, hence the 160lbs catchweight with Daley moving down and Silva going slightly up in weight. No real size difference, though.
Silva comes out looking very loose to open the fight, landing a couple of low kicks and high kicks glancingly as Daley looks patient and ready to strike. They trade strikes tentatively, but neither lands anything major, and this continues as Silva seems more aggressive, but Daley lands the best shot thus far, a nice left high kick to the side of the head. Silva comes in throwing some wild right bolos, and Daley slips on a high kick, and Silva follows with an overhand right into the clinch. They break quickly though and the tentative exchange continues for the rest of the round, with neither guy landing cleanly.
Daley opens the 2nd with a nice right low kick, so Silva shoots in for a takedown. Daley tries to block, but Silva gets him down with a single leg, and goes into half-guard, but a cut over his eye is soon visible, probably opened up by a glancing punch. Silva works with some chopping punches, but Daley uses the fence to work back to his feet, and they exchange some punches, with Daley avoiding another takedown. Silva goes to his back, but catches a stomp attempt and tries a kneebar. Daley slips free, and the exchange continues with both landing some various, glancing shots, before Silva gets another takedown to half-guard. Jean starts to work, but then Daley calls time and apparently has a problem with his thumb, and the doctors stop it there, he’s dislocated his thumb somehow. Post-fight Silva offers an immediate rematch.
Anti-climactic ending to what turned out to be a disappointing fight, as despite usually being two of the most aggressive guys in Cage Rage, both men looked tentative and flat, and never truly opened up and landed anything spectacular. And before you ask....neither guy ended up in Pride. As usual.
DeLucia was actually supposed to have made his Cage Rage debut a few shows earlier, but got injured and ended up coming in here instead. For a guy in his late 30’s he looks in really good shape, too. Chute Boxe’s Piamonte was coming off the vicious knockout he suffered at the hands of Melvin Manhoef, and was looking to rebuild from that.
DeLucia throws a knee into a clinch to open, and then gets a nice trip down to a side mount, where he uses a headlock for control. Piamonte works free and gets full guard though, and then quickly locks up an armbar from the bottom for the tapout.
Very quick win for the Brazilian, and bizarrely reminiscent of Royce Gracie’s armbar win over DeLucia back at UFC 2!
With Lutter fighting Anderson Silva this weekend it’s surprising that this fight hasn’t been brought up more often than it has, given that Pele’s style is quite similar to Anderson’s, but then I guess that shows how much people think of Pele these days. This was his first trip to England after his stunning knockout at the hands of Lee Murray.
Pele looks to strike to begin, and sprawls off the first takedown attempt, landing a knee to the head, but Lutter takes it and gets the takedown to guard. Lutter stacks up, working the body and the head with some punches, before standing and clearing the legs down into side mount. Lutter hooks the leg for some added control, and then looks to mount, landing some punches, but ends up in half-guard instead. Travis looks for a keylock momentarily, but then Pele gets full guard, so Lutter drops punches from the top and then passes to side mount again. Lutter looks for a kimura, but Pele avoids so Travis takes full mount instead. Pele immediately looks in trouble and rolls as Lutter lands some punches, and then as the Brazilian flails, Lutter catches an arm and gets a beautiful textbook armbar for the tapout.
Very impressive fight for Lutter who grounded the Vale Tudo legend quickly and basically dominated him en route to the submission. I can’t see a repeat happening with Silva though – not only is Silva a more well-rounded fighter than Pele in terms of groundwork I think, but he’s in his prime while Pele was clearly in the twilight of his career here.
Man, talk about a bizarre match-up. Does Minowa ever do proper fights any more? Eh, nothing wrong with one freak-show match I suppose. Legeno makes an outright bizarre entrance too, coming out waving a large sword in one hand, and a model decapitated Japanese head in the other. If he’s allowed to take that sword in with him, he’s definitely my pick!
Minowa presses early and looks for the takedown, but Legeno deftly avoids the first two attempts. A third one, however, is successful, and Minowa tackles him to guard. Legeno holds on, praying for the stand-up, but it doesn’t come and Minowa lands some punches before falling backwards for a leglock, getting a variant on an Achilles tendon hold (Quadros calls it a calf crush, but the ring announcer calls it an Achilles lock, looked more like the latter to me) for the tapout.
Nothing to see here really, just a typical Minowa freakshow match. Post-fight Legeno yells something about fighting a guy who will “stand up like a man, not crawl on the ground like a worm!!” and this gets a monster pop, thus meaning he’ll be back again.
Matsui doesn’t look quite in as good shape as he did for his previous Cage Rage fight with Alex Reid, and methinks he’ll need to be in good shape for this one as I’d consider Stout far more dangerous than Reid. Stout comes out holding some sort of doll, no idea why.
They press to open and Stout immediately lands the LEFT HOOK and drops him! Matsui looks in trouble as Stout looks to pound away in his guard, slugging with heavy left punches before Matsui manages to tie him up. The action slows down and the ref calls them back up, and both men circle more tentatively now. Matsui blocks a left hook and shoots in on a single leg, but Stout sprawls to avoid, and the ref calls Matsui back to his feet. Matsui comes forward, but gets stunned by the left hook again. Stout tries a high kick, but Matsui ducks and goes for the single leg, and this time manages to get Stout down in half-guard. Stout quickly reverses to his feet though, and nails him with a big left hook, following with more punches and a vicious knee. Matsui tries another takedown that fails, and the ref calls him up, and he shoots in again as the round ends.
Round 2 and Matsui closes the distance quickly, getting a single leg to guard. Stout ties him up as he chops at the body and lands some hammer fists, but Curtis works his way up to standing. Stout breaks free, and they circle, with Stout avoiding another takedown. Matsui shoots in again, and this time Stout blocks it into a clinch. Matsui tries to pull guard, but Stout wants none of it and backs off. Matsui comes forward, but Stout throws a low kick that lands to the groin, and we get an utterly theatrical performance as Matsui writhes around in pain, reminiscent of his “performance” against Rampage in Pride (with added booing this time). Finally he decides he’ll continue, suddenly recovering to leap to his feet. Stout blocks a high kick attempt off the restart, and then Matsui tries a ridiculous dropkick, missing by miles, but stands before open guard can be used. Matsui shoots in again, and Stout defends well, but still ends up on his back, but the time runs out before the Japanese can really get offensive.
Third and final round, and it’s Matsui who presses as Stout looks to counter. Stout avoids a takedown, and then Matsui tries a diving ankle pick, but misses that too. Stout continually backs off though, not doing much at all, and Matsui shoots in and this time gets the takedown to half-guard. He keeps Stout down for a while, but can’t really get offensive, and the ref brings them right back up. They circle and another takedown is avoided by Stout, who follows with a left hook and another takedown evasion. Matsui misses the dropkick again, and Stout ends the fight by doing some karate posing.
To the judges then, announcers think Stout’s clearly won, but it’s a majority decision for Matsui, who gets booed loudly and even tells Richard Blackwood via his translator that he thought Stout won. Well, he’s right – Stout *did* win that fight and it was a bad, bad decision, but then when you leave it in the hands of the judges like Stout did – and especially when you become as pointlessly tentative as Curtis did here – you’re always risking it. Pretty dull fight for the most part.
Originally scheduled match here was Manhoef defending against Vitor Belfort, but Vitor pulled out for whatever reason and Cyborg stepped in instead, not the skill level of Vitor, but this should be a tremendous brawl. They get an AWESOME staredown to begin too, with Cyborg trying to intimidate Melvin, who’s having absolutely NONE of it. Crowd are rabid for this too, they know to expect fireworks.
Surprisingly they come out slowly and press, with Cyborg landing two low kicks, but having a high kick blocked. Both men miss a couple of big swings, before Manhoef lands a couple of his own low kicks. Suddenly Manhoef nails him with a big left hook, and they clinch, with Cyborg looking for the takedown. Manhoef punches his way free, and then catches Cyborg with another left hook and a HARD low kick. Melvin OPENS UP, nailing Cyborg with a BEAUTIFUL combo, going to the head, body, and nailing the leg with a low kick for good measure. Another combo follows and this time Melvin hits him with a knee, and Cyborg covers up! They go into a clinch, and exchange some knees to the legs and body, before the official breaks them. Suddenly everything goes wild, as they exchange HUGE SWINGS, literally throwing like two drunken guys in a bar, but most of the punches miss and then Cyborg gets a takedown to guard! Melvin suddenly looks in difficulty, as Cyborg works from the top, and then gets a heel hook, but can’t finish it before the end of the round! Announcers can’t believe it, as Cyborg seems to have finally found a chink in Melvin’s armour.
They press tentatively to open the 2nd, before Cyborg eats a knee and charges into the clinch. They muscle for position, before Melvin breaks with punches and then starts to open up with the combos...but this time Cyborg fires back with a big straight right, and they exchange with both landing big hooks! Suddenly it’s Cyborg who looks the better off, and he comes forward with a combo and some knees to the head and the body with the plum clinch! Cyborg ROCKS him with a HUGE LEFT HOOK, but they go into a clinch and both guys look exhausted at this point. Cyborg lands some knees that appear to hurt the Dutchman bad, but he’s too exhausted to close the deal, and instead he wildly swings as Manhoef manages to back off to avoid. BIG UPPERCUT from Cyborg lands, and now both guys have their hands by their waists as it begins to resemble a Rocky movie. Manhoef suddenly gets a second wind and they EXCHANGE CRAZY HAYMAKERS!~! This fight is FUCKING INSANE. Melvin suddenly comes crashing in with a BIG LEFT HOOK, and follows up, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, and finally Cyborg goes CRASHING DOWN!~! Melvin collapses on top of him and lands a couple more, and the ref steps in as Cyborg doesn’t realize it’s over and keeps throwing weak punches anyway.
Post-fight crowd give both guys a standing ovation, and rightly so, normally I’d dog on fighters for being out of gas halfway through the second round, but to hell with that here – this was one of the most insane brawls I’ve ever seen, as both guys were literally throwing haymakers from their waists like something right out of a Rocky movie, and it was just a case of which guy managed to land cleanly first. It turned out to be Manhoef, who retained his title, but Cyborg stepped up a lot here, being the first guy in Cage Rage to make Manhoef look human, and he put in probably his best performance for the company too. A horrendous fight in terms of legitimate skill, but for a purely jaw-dropping spectacle, this was FANTASTIC.
-Blackwood wraps the night up, and we roll the credits.
Undercard wasn’t great here – not that it was horrible, but it didn’t have as many good fights as the last couple of Cage Rages – but the main event more than made up for that as it was a classic brawl and one of the most incredible spectacles I’ve seen from the promotion, and really lived up to the title of the show – a pure adrenaline rush. From a technical standpoint Pickett/Olivier is easily the best fight on show here, but it’s Manhoef-Cyborg that makes this show, and the fight – albeit only if you’re a fan of crazy brawls – makes this show a must-see.
UFC: 63, 64, 65 and 66.
Cage Rage: 16, 17, 18 and 19.
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.