We’re starting off, then, with London Shootfighters’ Mahmoud making his return to Cage Rage after just over two years away, no word on the reason for the absence, so I’m just guessing injuries and what-not as he didn’t fight much between either. Ligato is apparently an Italian guy; not much else known about him really.
They open with a brief exchange before Suley takes him to the ground. Ligato quickly pops up, but Mahmoud gets him right back down and this time steps over and takes his back with one hook in. Ligato stands with Suley on his back, and dives backwards, trying to knock the wind out of him, or something, but this just makes matters worse for him as Mahmoud gets his second hook in and quickly applies a rear naked choke for the tapout.
Post-fight announcers say they’re not surprised as to what happened; Ligato’s four career losses are all from the rear naked, apparently. Swift and one-sided opener.
Like Mahmoud, Ewin was making his return from a long absence from Cage Rage, this time about eighteen months. McCauley is from Glasgow, Scotland, which makes him tough in my book automatically, but can he get the job done in the cage? Let’s find out.
They circle briefly to begin, and then Ewin gets a takedown to McCauley’s guard. McCauley tries to escape, but ends up giving half-guard, and then Ewin mounts him and takes his back as he rolls. McCauley defends the rear naked choke attempt and tries to front-roll his way free, but ends up in deeper trouble, and Ewin eventually pulls the arm across the throat in the variant that Joe Rogan would call the ‘Dan Severn choke’, and this gets the tapout.
Another one-sided affair, as McCauley looked overmatched by his far more experienced opponent.
Odds on this one ending via doctor stoppage (broken nose) with Mason’s hand being raised had to be pretty big I’m thinking; Liaudin’s previous three Cage Rage bouts had ended in that fashion. That said, Jess is looking in far better shape than we’ve previously seen him, and he was actually riding a two-fight win streak coming in. Mason, for his part, was looking to come back from the loss to Paul Daley and re-establish himself as one of the top 170lbs fighters in the country.
Round 1 begins, and Liaudin throws a couple of high kicks that Mason blocks, before getting a takedown to guard. Mason ties him up from the bottom, looking to stall for the stand-up, but Jess stays busy enough, landing a few punches before stacking up to drop some more. As he stands, Mason kicks him away and gets to his feet, but ends up in a front facelock. Liaudin uses the opportunity to land a knee, and then jumps to guard for a guillotine, but Mason swiftly pops his head free. Liaudin pushes Mason away with his feet, so the ref calls open guard, and Mason attempts a big axe stomp, but Jess takes the hit and traps the leg, pulling Ross to the mat. They exchange a couple of hammer-fists, before Liaudin leans back and applies a nasty heel hook, getting the tapout.
Whoa, didn’t expect that at all, I have to admit. Replays show that the hold was really synched in, and caused Mason a lot of pain. Liaudin’s now won three on the bounce and looks to have benefited a lot from slowing down a little and taking less fights – and it’s paid off big time for him as he looks set to make his UFC debut in April, at UFC 70. Good win for him here.
Pretty funny video of Reid weighing in wearing leather bondage gear is shown before the fight – Reid’s pretty charismatic, I’ll give him that. Professor X decides to out-do him on the entrance side of things though, entering in a large Halloween mask for no good reason. This might not be a bad fight, actually.
They exchange early, with Xavier countering Reid’s low kicks with a chopping right hook, as they circle around. Into a brief clinch, and Reid slips to his back off a failed knee attempt, but then they call time for an accidental thumb to Reid’s eye. We restart and the exchange continues, with Xavier landing a nice flying knee to the body and then some knees from a plum clinch. Xavier really starts to get the better of Reid, popping him from distance with the right hook, and landing knees when they close in, but Reid seems to be alright, taunting the Frenchman in places. The exchange suddenly heats up, as Xavier catches Reid coming in with a stiff elbow, busting his nose up, but he takes some heavy shots from ‘The Detonator’ for it, as Reid rocks him and backs him up. Reid ends the round with a good one-two. Pretty even round there, not bad at all.
Into the 2nd, and Reid opens with a couple of low kicks, but then Xavier throws out a punch and apparently catches him with a finger to the eye. Reid goes down and appears to be in serious pain, and we get a bit of a delay as the announcers try to work out whether it was intentional or not by studying the replays (didn’t look intentional to me), and then they finally decide that Reid can’t continue. But wait! For some reason they’re going to the judges scorecards for a decision, and it’s a unanimous one in favour of Xavier. Don’t get that at all – surely you can’t have a one-round decision? I would’ve thought it would be called a no-contest. Weird stuff there for sure. Decent enough fight though.
Rematch of Legeno’s debut fight here, as the actor-turned-fighter was coming off his big win over Kimo and wanted to avenge the loss to Murdock from his record, I guess. Promos pre-fight are surprisingly low-key for a Legeno fight, disappointingly.
They begin....and shock the world by circling tentatively, throwing a few strikes out, rather than charging in wildly. Legeno looks to use a front kick to keep distance, as Murdock dances around with some unorthodox karate-style punches. They go into a brief clinch, and exchange some heavy uppercuts inside, before breaking off where we spot that Legeno is cut. Some more punches are exchanged, before Legeno gets a takedown and goes into side mount. Elbows to the body land and then he takes the full mount, and then the back as Murdock rolls. Legeno gets one hook in, but it’s all that he needs as he manages to secure the rear naked choke, slightly off to the side, for the tapout.
Surprisingly uneventful fight for Legeno there, nothing like the mental, exciting style of his earlier bouts. I guess the more cautious approach worked for him though as this turned out to be a relatively easy victory for him. Can’t knock the guy really – he does seem to be taking his training seriously, flying out to train with Don Frye’s Tuscon Scorpions for each fight. Post-fight he announces his next opponent – Dan Severn. Can’t wait to review THAT one.
Never heard of Cherman, but apparently he’s a teammate of Shaolin Ribeiro’s, fighting out of the famous Nova Uniao camp. Probably very slick on the ground, then. Silva makes no illusions when discussing his gameplan – he wants to stand up and knock this guy out. Interesting to see an all-Brazilian clash outside of Brazil, too.
Silva opens the first with a leaping front kick, and then throws a flurry, but Cherman manages to close distance and clinches, dragging him down and avoiding a scramble, to keep top position. Silva gets full guard, and Cherman looks to pass, but Jean stays active from his back and keeps the butterfly hooks in. Silva hooks his legs over for a triangle/armbar variant, but Cherman stands right up with the hold on, and looks for a big slam. Silva decides to relinquish the hold to avoid the slam, and ends up standing, but Cherman trips him down from the clinch anyway. Silva uses a single leg attempt to come back to his feet, only for Cherman to trip him down again. Jean manages to get up once more, but Cherman gets him down again and this time takes his back, getting both hooks in. Cherman tries to float out to the side for an armbar, and it looks locked in, even as Silva rolls into top position. Cherman can’t quite extend the arm though, and the bell to end the round sounds there. Really good opening stanza.
2nd round and Silva looks to strike, coming out throwing kicks, but Cherman shoots in and drives him into the fence, and then lifts him up and drops him with a NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB!~! Silva somehow survives that and gets back to his feet, but Cherman gets him down again and this time goes for an arm triangle from the half-guard. Silva defends well, using the answering the phone defence to begin, before hooking his own leg up to create space, and eventually Cherman gives it up and transitions to back mount instead. Cherman gets both hooks in and looks to flatten Silva out, but Jean manages to escape, rolling into Cherman’s guard. Cherman throws up an armbar attempt, but Silva avoids that too and drops some punches, before the ref brings them up to standing. They restart, and Silva lands a flying knee to the body and follows with an uppercut to the ribs, before Cherman shoots for the takedown to end the round. This is a hell of a fight thus far.
Third and final round, and Cherman avoids Silva’s striking and gets the takedown, but Silva goes from a kimura attempt into a straight armbar, and rolls through, locking it out completely! Cherman looks in deep trouble as Silva cranks on the arm, and even as Cherman steps over to attempt an escape, you can see Jean yelling at the referee that he’s breaking the guy’s arm. Somehow Cherman keeps fighting though, and manages to wriggle his way out, into side mount! Cherman mounts, but Silva pushes him off, only for Cherman to come back down and take his back again. Silva reverses over to Cherman’s guard, and escapes an armbar, landing some punches for good measure as Cherman looks to hook up one of Silva’s legs. Cherman reverses to top position, and then tries to mount, but Silva reverses back over to Cherman’s guard and the fight ends there.
To the judges scorecards, and it’s a unanimous decision for Cherman....but he’s paid a heavy, heavy price for his victory as post-fight we can see that his left arm’s badly deformed and lumpy, and he freely admits in his interview that Silva broke his arm in the third round. Holy shit that’s a tough bastard. Really, really awesome grappling war there too, fought at an extremely high pace with some great showings of skill. One of the better Cage Rage fights I can recall seeing, and really Silva didn’t come off looking like a loser despite ending up on the wrong end of the decision. I mean – how can you, when you snap the other guy’s arm?
This is being fought at Daley’s usual weight of 170lbs rather than Azeredo’s usual Lightweight, which makes sense I guess as he’s only fighting at 160lbs in Pride’s Lightweight category anyway. Azeredo looks energetic as hell too, dancing down the ramp and throwing high kicks at the same time. Pretty major test for Daley, this one.
Azeredo opens up with a quick takedown to side mount, Daley gets back up immediately, but Azeredo gets another single leg and puts him back down, in guard now. He passes to side mount, and Daley tries to scramble free, but gives his back. Daley manages to escape, but ends up on his back again in a side mount. He manages to work to his feet and breaks off, and they press forward, with Daley landing a good right and some low kicks. Azeredo comes forward with a jumping elbow strike though, and follows with another takedown. He works to side mount off a scramble, but Daley reverses to his feet again. They press, and now Daley tags him with some punches, before landing a high kick and throwing a jumping roundhouse kick into a clinch! Daley looks to grab a waistlock to end the round. Whew, mad pace there.
2nd round, and Azeredo begins with his trademark wild strikes, before getting another takedown to guard. Daley blocks his punches really well though, using some slick wrist control, and they come back up into a clinch and break off. Daley lands a good combination from the break, but Azeredo once again takes him down. Daley defends well once more, but Azeredo works his way into side mount. Azeredo avoids a reversal, passing into north/south now, and then he mounts, but Daley wriggles free and stands, taking a high kick as he gets to his feet to close the round off. Close fight, but I have Azeredo up two rounds to none thus far.
Third and final round, and Daley recognizes he needs the finish and comes out throwing flurries, but Azeredo avoids a lot of them with some nice head movement, and gets a single leg to guard. Daley defends well once more, and manages to kick him away, but Azeredo comes back with another takedown to half-guard. He takes full mount, and lands some shots, and appears to be setting up an armbar...but the ref steps in and inexplicably stands them up. Don’t get that call at ALL. Guy was setting up a submission! They restart, and Azeredo misses a spinning backfist, and now Daley catches him with his best shot of the fight, a big right hand that sends him back into the cage, but Azeredo follows with another takedown, and passes to back mount, almost locking up a rear naked choke as the fight comes to a conclusion.
Judges score it a unanimous decision for Azeredo, and rightly so – I had him up 30-27 personally. Really good fight though, not a shutout by any means as Daley appeared to be the better fighter standing, and had Azeredo on the retreat in places. Still, he didn’t appear to have much of an answer for the takedown, and in the end that caught up to him, as whenever he did get Azeredo on the back foot, he couldn’t keep it upright for long enough to capitalize. Still, a fun, fast-paced fight.
Andy and Dave call Shaolin pound-for-pound the best grappler in MMA, and that’s something I don’t think I’d disagree with right now. Apparently Pride have sent Nakamura over as a representative to fight him, although Nakamura’s hardly the biggest name Pride could’ve sent from the Lightweight ranks. Ah well, who am I to complain? It’s Shaolin, this should rock.
Round 1 opens with Shaolin working a stiff left jab, before he shoots in and gets the takedown. Nakamura turns his back and hooks the Brazilian’s arm ala Sakuraba, looking for the kimura, but Shaolin stays calm and simply holds him in a rear waistlock, lifting him for a suplex at one point. Finally he works and gets the arm free, and from there Nakamura is up the creek without a paddle, as Shaolin gets both hooks in, and he’s the last guy you want on your back. Shaolin goes for an armbar, and then like in his previous Cage Rage bout with Abdul Mohamed, he transitions into the kimura with the legs hooked around the body for leverage. Nakamura tries to roll free, but ends up in a worse position, and Shaolin forces the arm up at a nasty angle, until the ref steps in and stops the fight.
Announcers seem confused and Nakamura doesn’t look happy, but the replays reveal that his elbow popped badly as Shaolin forced it up – it looks like a Frank Mir-Tim Sylvia situation to me. One angle especially makes the pop look pretty sickening. Very good refereeing considering that one guy had already seen his arm snapped on this card. So yeah, pretty much business as usual for Shaolin; another slick performance, albeit with a nastier finish than one of his regular fights.
Interesting pairing here, with the perennial Cage Rage favourite Epstein taking on longtime UFC veteran Sinosic, who is one of those guys who’s far better than his record would suggest.
They get underway, and Elvis immediately uses his punches to close the distance and get into a clinch. He looks for the takedown, but can’t get Epstein off his feet, and they break off and exchange some nice strikes, a variety of punches and low kicks, and this results in Elvis getting cut over the right eye. Epstein begins to wing some left power hooks at the Australian, and a few do land, but nothing really devastating, and they exchange into a clinch, where Elvis trips him down and goes right into the mount. Epstein attempts to buck him off, but Sinosic goes right into an armbar, and that’s all she wrote, as Epstein taps out.
Really impressive performance from Elvis; he dealt with a dangerous opponent quickly and decisively, and really showed here that he’s far better than his UFC appearances might suggest. Looks like he’ll be back in the UFC again next – against England’s Michael Bisping – and that might be a tougher test than some would expect for the Count.
Not sure how Galesic qualifies to fight for a British title given that he’s Croatian, but ignoring that, he’d definitely made a fair case for a title opportunity, beating Michael Holmes, Curtis Stout, and James Nicholl in impressive and swift fashion. This would be a difficult challenge for the champion Weir to overcome, and everyone’s predicting a knockout in the pre-fight package.
They circle to begin, and suddenly it’s a SHOOTOUT as they TRADE HEAVY SHOTS, and Weir goes down! Galesic drops down into Weir’s half-guard, and then works free, and suddenly he EXPLODES with a MACHINE GUN FLURRY OF PUNCHES!~! Weir is completely out, 50 seconds gone and we’ve got a new British Champion.
Jesus Christ. Frightening performance from Galesic who just blew through Weir like he was absolutely nothing. Guy has some seriously quick hands and packs the power to go with it. Looks like he’s signed up with Pride now too, which is definitely a good move for him – after blowing through the best that Cage Rage had to offer, he deserves to test himself against the world’s best. Incredibly quick and explosive showing.
And from there, we go into our main event, a classic Pride-esque freak show match, with the popular British Heavyweight Champion Broughton taking on the morbidly obese Butterbean. No clue who thought this would be a good idea, but eh, the crowd are lapping it up, so who cares?
They begin, and it’s clear immediately that the huge Butterbean is struggling to even MOVE, so Broughton gets an ankle pick takedown into side mount. Butterbean ends up on his stomach, so Broughton hooks his arms up in an attempt for a crucifix, but then decides to stand in order to avoid the bottom position. Broughton lands a knee to the groin as Butterbean gets up, but he’s okay, and they restart, where Broughton works the left jab and low kick, moving in and out to avoid Butterbean’s sluggish haymakers. Broughton gets another low ankle pick to side mount, and this time he takes full mount to drop some punches. He tries a keylock, but Butterbean reverses over and ends up on top! Broughton manages to slip free though, and ends up back in side mount, where he lands some punches and hammer fists to end the round. Never thought this would go into the 2nd, that’s for sure.
2nd round begins, and it’s DANCING BEAR TIME!~! as Broughton dodges in and out, landing the left jab and low kick over and over, and now Butterbean’s face is busted up as he’s just completely unable to move to catch Broughton. Finally, Rob gets the ankle pick to the side mount again, and this time he lands the punches and hammer fists, and Butterbean decides to call it a day and taps.
Not much to say here – for a freak show match this was at least fun. Broughton fought the smart fight and stayed out of range, and basically Butterbean just wasn’t mobile enough to do anything to the guy.
-Aaand...the show ends there, right into the credits.
Another strong show for Cage Rage; I’d say this is up there with Cage Rage 18 as the best show the company’s ever done. Standout fights were definitely Silva-Cherman and Daley-Azeredo, which is a bit surprising considering they were the only two to go to a decision, but the others are packed full of exciting finishes, and even the main event, while it *is* a freakshow, is fun to watch. Overall, there’s something for everyone here, whether it’s an incredible grappling show (Silva-Cherman), a sick knockout (Weir-Galesic), slick submission (Shaolin-Nakamura) or just an outright great fight (Daley-Azeredo). Highly recommended show.
Pride: Total Elimination 2005, Critical Countdown 2005, Final Conflict 2005.
UFC: 65, 66, 67 and 68.
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.