by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
There have been some major changes recently to the Cage Rage 27 fight card scheduled for July 12 at Wembley Arena in London.
Scott Jansen has been promoted up the card to square off against “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni in a bout that marks the UFC and Pride veteran’s first outing at welterweight.
Jansen sports a professional record of 3-2-0 and has been a staple of the Cage Rage Contenders series recording three wins and a loss. It is a big task to line him up against a fighter such as Baroni with three weeks to prepare, especially as he was originally scheduled to face middleweight Joe Mac, who is a totally different proposition as an opponent.
In three weeks, he will have to make the cut in weight and devise a new game plan. On the night of the event he will have to battle the nerves of an international opponent with a big name, the main stage at Cage Rage and the pressure to perform as the headline fight for the benefits of television.
There has also been a shift on the card with Stav Economou squaring off against Polish behemoth Piotor Kusmierz, who made short work of his last opponent Antonio Schut by way of TKO little over a minute into the opening round.
Where Economou has the legs of his opponent is in experience having racked up an overall MMA record of 7-0, compared to Kusmierz’ lone outing. He will be giving away reach and size, but is a well rounded fighter and should be able to adapt. Economou will also have to devise a new game plan due to the change in opponent from Kevin Simms, a fighter who is shorter and stockier than the Pole with a totally different style.
Brad Pickett makes a return to Cage Rage following the disappointment surrounding the fiasco at FX3 and his opponent not making weight, as he squares off against the versatile Christian Binda in their featherweight bout.
For Pickett, a win may lead to bigger and better things as it is well known that he is looking to World Extreme Cagefighting and Japan for career advancement. Binda has had impressive showings in the U.K. fighting on the Cage Warriors and UWC shows. In the bout against Pickett, we will be able to assess where he stands in the featherweight picture on these shores.
Jody Cottham has made it to the main Cage Rage stage on the back of four straight losses in the Contenders series and finds himself squaring up against Umidjon Mavlyanov, who made his debut (also on Contenders) by knocking out Azran Quasid.
Rounding out the card we find Mark Brown (0-1-0) taking on Wessley Johnson (debut) and James Elson (3-0-0) facing Dave Van Gasse (3-0-0).
Cage Rage 27 Bouts:
-Phil Baroni vs. Scott Jansen
-Robert “Buzz” Berry vs. Neil Grove
-James McSweeney vs. Mustapha Alturk
-John Phillips vs. Tom Watson
-Stav Economou vs. Piotor Kusmierz
-Ashleigh Grimshaw vs. Robbie Olivier
-Cristian Binda vs. Brad Pickett
-Eva Liskova vs. Aisling Daley
-Jason Young vs. Francis Heagney
-Mark Brown vs. Wessley Johnson
-Umidjon Mavlyanov vs. Jody Cottham
-James Elson vs. Dave Van Gas