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Length: 180 minutes
The first time I saw a Cage Rage show made me wish MMA had never made it across ‘the pond’, however as of late the fighters have put on performances that many international fighters could only dream of, but is Punishment one of those days?
- Cage Rage World Middleweight Title:
Anderson Silva vs Curtis Stout
- Vitor Belfort vs Antony Rea
- Mark Weir vs Akira Shoji
- Alex Reid vs Daijiro Matsui
- Matt Lindland vs Antonio Shembri
- Brian Adams vs Mark Epstein
- Marc Goddard vs Robert Berry
- Xavier Pokam vs Sol Gilbert
- Alan Murdoch vs Dave Legeno
- Robbie Olivier vs Chris Freeborn
- Nigel Whitear vs Dean Bray
- Darren Geisha vs Ross Mason
- Gesias Calvacante vs Michihiro Omigawa
To start the show Japans Michichiro faces Gesias Calvacante with the winner earning a place at the next PrideFC event. Both men are specialists in grappling and submissions, but oddly both come out throwing punches. Calvacante manages to catch Omigawa with a big right hand that rocks the smaller man, seeing his chance Calvacante follows up with a stunning flurry to score a knockout win at the 49-second mark. **
Next up Darren Geisha goes against Ross ‘The Boss’ Mason. Both men appear very tentative to start off, each seemingly worried about the strikes of the other, quickly they get into a standing clinch on the fence and Ross takes control. ‘The Boss’ takes Geisha down over and over again, but is constantly stood back up by the referee, eventually Mason gets into a prime position for a ground and pound and looks as though he is about to beat Darren Geisha into a bloody mess, but the lucky Geisha is saved by the bell. Going into round 2 and it seems to take all of Geishas effort to even stand up and walk, never mind to fight. Smelling blood mason headed straight in with punch after punch, quickly the referee stops the fight as Darren Geisha is unable to defend himself. This was a VERY poor showing Geisha, I hope he is normally better than this or I would expect the guy who puts pickles on burgers at the local fast food store to take him down! *
Watching the DVD I could only pray the next fight would make up some ground after the mess I had just witnessed, and if anybody could then Nigel ‘Pitbull’ Whitear could! His opponent for this fight is the man they call Dynamite, Dean Bray. In an action packed first round both men exchange flurries (no, not from a popular fast food joint) before taking it to the ground. The skills show by these two fighters are stunning, both men locking in a submission only to have the other escape and lock in one of their own! Finally ‘The Pitbull’ locks in an armbar from guard position for the tappout victory. ***
In what is by far the fight of the night, and maybe the best fight I have seen this year, Chris ‘The Freak’ Freeborn faces Robbie Oliver in a featherweight match. Oliver runs at Freeborn and takes him down where both men show amazing abilities in move and counter moves. I enjoy nothing better in MMA than watching two men who are experts in their ground game do this almost living chess. Oliver is by far the more dominant of the two, but ‘The Freak’ is using raw power to mount a decent defence when he is trapped inside any submission attempts. Eventually this goes to the judges decision and they award to Oliver. *****
Well….what could have followed such an intense technical battle? Really not a lot, but Alan Murdoch and ‘The Enforcer’ Dave Legeno, who is making his MMA debut, try their best. Both men wade in with HUGE strikes to the face and neither seems willing to cover up! At one point Murdoch just keeps walking forwards into punches and just as Legeno seems to have this one in the bag a high knee rocks him and allows Murdoch the chance to mount his own offence. One of the most important parts of MMA is conditioning and knowing how to pace yourself, a lesson that ‘The Enforcer’ will have taken home with him after being beaten around the cage before Murdoch took him to the ground in order to lock in an armbar…..however even with a fully applied armbar Legeno refused to tap and the fight was ended by the referee in order to avoid any damage to the elbow of the debuting Legeno, much to the crowds disgust! ***
Next up France’s very own Xavier Foupa Pokam took on Sol Gilbert, and this may be the worst fight ever! Sol slips over immediately as he attempts a grapple and the Frenchman takes the opportunity to land an illegal soccer kick to the head of the downed man and started celebrating convinced he had won by stoppage when in actual fact he had lost by DQ! Dud. This actually earns a negative -**.
While the last bout had earned the ‘Worst Ever’ title, the Marc Goddard Vs Robert Berry came very close to stealing that crown! Neither man did much and it was mercifully ended when Berry locked in a half guillotine for the submission win. *
Well, by now Cage Rage have set a pattern for horrible fights, Brian Adams and Mark Epstein continuing the trend! Both men came out and went for a quick knockout win, and it looked like BOTH would earn it when each man knocked the other down at the same time! Epstein managed to get to his feet, but Brian Adams stayed down. The winner by knockout: Mark ‘The Beast’ Epstein. **
The next fights pits Brazillian Antonio Schembri against Matt ‘The law’ Lindland, Lindland being a personal favourite of mine I can only see this going one way. Immediately both men go to the ground with Schembri underneath, a position that can only benefit him as a Ju jitsu practioner. Schembri tries to lock in a triangle choke but is countered each time by the hard strikes of Lindland, and so due to the inability of either man to do anything the referee stands them up. Into round 2 and Schembri looks a little worn out, but he storms in and takes Lindland down to the ground, shame Schembri as unable to do anything on the ground and was controlled by Lindland. ‘The Law’ managed to get to his feet and rain down strikes on Schembri. Going into the final round and Antonio Schembri looked ready to drop, this guy needs to work on his conditioning. The fight followed the same pattern with both men going to the ground, only to be stood up. Finally a ground and pound ends the punishment to Schembri. **
The cocky Daijiro Matsui takes on Alex Reid next, and the Japanese fighter looks ready to back up his words with action. And does he try in spectacular fashion with amazing amounts of energy expended by both men, the round ending with each fighter cut open.The next 2 rounds are stunningly paced with both men fighting maybe as well as any before them! Both men end the fight looking like they had been in a real war with huge swellings and blood streaming down their faces. While Reid controlled the last round Matsui managed to carry the fight to a draw. ****
Now the next fight promised to be an epic bout with Cage Rage Middleweight Champion Mark ‘The Wizard’ Weir facing the Japanese superfighter Akira Shoji. In an amazing 7 seconds Mark Weir gets the knockout win after a massive shin kick to the temple of Shoji! A VERY impressive showing from Mark Weir. ***
‘The Phenom’ Vitor Belfort vs Antony ‘The Wild Thing’ Rea has the unenviable task of trying to follow a 7 second knockout! As a co-main event this had a lot of promise, and boy did it deliver! Both men more than deserve acclaim for an amazing series of hold and counter hold that would have looked at home in a worked environment, Rea escaping from what seemed a perfect guillotine choke. Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn couldnt have done any better. The fight ends in round 2 with a Belfort uppercut knocking Rea to his back and turning out the lights. ****
The main event of the night is for the Cage Rage World middleweight championship, the defending champion Anderson Silva faces challenger Curtis ‘Bang em out’ Stout. Both men know how important this fight is with not only the belt on the line, but scouts from both PrideFC and UFC in attendance. Silva gets an emphatic knockout on the knockout specialist to defend his belt. This was a nice little fight with the obvious ending. ***
Bonus DVD Features
A gallery and an interview with Stephan Quadros makes up a very lean extras menu.
Well…..this is a VERY inconsistent card, the five star fight just manages to drag this up to a ***. Otherwise it would have been a *1/2 Buy this IF you don’t mind skipping a match or two or you may find yourself getting bored in the middle of the card.