by Lee Whitehead, story and photos – MMAWeekly.com
Cage Rage 25 played
out to a full house at the Wembley Arena of 8,300 people who witnessed a
blinder of a card featuring the legend Ken Shamrock fall to the hands of Robert
“Buzz” Berry via first round knockout. Berry has cemented his place in British
mixed martial arts history with the win was ecstatic with the victory.
From early on in the
round it appeared as though Shamrock was tentative and unwilling to fully
commit to a striking offense. When he did step in, he had to deal with a larger
deficit in reach as well as an opponent who wouldn’t be drawn into a brawling
exchange. Berry had instead preferred to circle and pick off two-punch combinations;
a tactic that gained effectiveness as the fight wore on.
Shamrock caught a few
shots on occasion, forcing him to try and close the distance. It appeared as
though Berry had the advantage in strength and was able to avoid being drawn to
the canvas. At 3:26 into the first round, a series of blows sent the UFC
Hall of Famer crashing to the canvas and out of the contest.
wasted no time in proving his grappling credentials to the world by submitting
the highly regarded Brazilian Jean Silva by way of a brutal reverse heel hook
2:30 into the first round. From the bell, Imanari came out looking to land some
kicks before setting up a takedown to bring the fight into his comfort zone.
Once there, his fluid transition from submission to submission continually left
his opponent on the back foot. From rubber guard to omo plata to Achilles
crush, the flow of attack was spectacular and it was only a matter of time
before something took hold and the Japanese fighter retained his world
Neil Grove engaged
former British heavyweight champion Rob Broughton in a measured and mature
display of aggression, only narrowly missing out on victory by virtue of
Broughton landing more effective strikes. Grove seemed content to maintain his
distance and to deliver low point kicks to aggravate his opponent’s previously
injured leg, but the strategy started to unravel as Broughton figured his own
range out and began to land effective strikes.
This is the first time
Grove has been pushed to the distance, and his improvement over his last fight
is clearly underlined, but experience and durability worked its way to the
surface as Broughton picked up the majority decision win.
Pierre Guillet will be
left to rue his high-risk attempt at a flying strike over the guard of downed
opponent Tom Watson, who connected flush with an up-kick to Guillet and opened
up previous scar tissue on the American fighter’s face. Up until this point
Guillet had been having major success in the bout picking his shots to setup his
takedowns. He appeared to have the right strategy for Watson and it just goes
to show that at this level all it takes is one mistake to cost you a fight.
Watson sensed the opportunity as soon as it arose and wasted no time in
pounding on Guillet to stop the fight.
Mustapha Al-Turk has
proven time and again that his strongest position in a fight is to be on top
and applying his heavy hands in a ground and pound attack. Unfortunately for
Gary Turner, he found himself on the bottom of Al-Turk’s patented strategy
following a failed attempt at a straight kick that was caught and used to force
him to the canvas. Three separate attempts to get out from underneath proved
fruitless as Al-Turk was effective in maintaining his base whilst landing heavy
shots to the side of Turner’s head. At 3:19 into the round, acknowledging that
Turner was unable to improve his position, the referee stepped in to call time
on the bout and recorded Turner’s first loss in the promotion.
Ivan Serati continued
his ascent in the light heavyweight division by virtue of a knockout win over
Roman Webber in a bout that lasted a grand total of 48 seconds. From the bell,
Webber shot over to his opponent’s corner and threw a telegraphed overhand
right, allowing the Italian wrestler to scoop him up and dump him on his back
into the cage. It didn’t take long for him to position himself at the best
angle for the attack before firing in brutal, precise shots to record the
knockout; an impressive display for the Italian. It won’t be long before he is
taking on the top fighters in the division.
impressed all in attendance with his win over the highly regarded welterweight
Michael Johnson. Traditionally, we have seen Santana come into a fight looking
spectacular for the first round, but blowing quite hard for the remaining
rounds. He has clearly addressed this element of his game as he continually set
the pace against his opponent.
Johnson faired well in
avoiding submission danger throughout the rounds and didn’t appear to be taking
too much damage with the strikes either. But the key deciding factors of
Santana’s victory were his ability to continually record the takedowns and to
control position on the ground. By the time the third stanza rolled into view,
it was apparent that Johnson would need to stop the fight in order to win, but
he never found his opening to do so. Santana makes a welcome addition to the
Cage Rage roster.
Aisling Daly looked
calm and confident in her win over debuting fighter Aysen Berik in the women’s
58kg match-up. As soon as the first bell rang, Daly shot straight across the
cage and planted a big right square into her opponent’s face, forcing her to
clinch up and protect. Daly kept coming forward though and used her experience
to bring the fight to the mat.
Almost holding on too
long to a guillotine that wasn’t going to present a finish, Berik ended up
compromising her position by allowing her opponent to mount. From here Daly
appeared relentless in trying to force the stoppage via ground and pound. There
was a flailing arm ready to be submitted at several points of the bout, but
mindful of not making any mistakes and being hell bent on recording a win on
her Cage Rage debut, Daly just kept hammering home the shots until the referee
called time on the bout at 1:49.
Giorgio Andrews and
Ryan Shamrock had an absolute tear up in their bantamweight bout and both
fighters should be proud of their performance; it was a true back and forth
battle of the wills. As soon as the bell rang, Shamrock landed a big right hand
signaling his intent and followed it up with a solid takedown. Andrews was
completely at ease from his back though and managed to avoid danger before
getting back to his feet. From there, the pair kept trading shot for shot and
swinging for the fences with both connecting well with their punches.
Unfortunately, we were
denied a war into the second round, as Shamrock was unable to continue due to a
broken hand. As it turns out, his opening shot proved to be the impact that
caused the break and he did exceptionally well to fight the way he did in the
first round considering the damage.
John Hathaway looked
to be calm and relaxed in his fight against Marvin Arnold, who by contrast
looked to be nervous and unsettled. This was apparent as much from the opening
exchange where Arnold threw a low point kick that prompted Hathaway to shoot
immediately and to pass quickly to the mount. He started to pick his shots
calmly before stepping up the pace as soon as he realized that Arnold wasn’t
offering much defense en route to recording a successful main stage Cage Rage
Jake Bostwick started
his match aggressively with a big takedown into side control following a low
kick on opponent John Phillips and was controlling the pace of the fight well.
As soon as Phillips was able to get back up to his feet, Bostwick would use his
knee’s effectively from the clinch before bringing him down again. It wasn’t
until Phillips landed a big right hand to put Bostwick down that the tide of
the fight changed and Bostwick found himself in survival mode.
Sensing that he had registered pain on his
opponent, Phillips started to unleash a heavy handed ground and pound attack
forcing the referee to halt the bout amid controversy of a possible strike to
the throat. It was difficult to tell how clear the shot to the throat was, but
in any case it was clearly unintentional. Some may feel that a time out may
have been in order and others may say that the stoppage was just, but in any
case, Bostwick was already hurt from the previous standing exchange and looked
to be in trouble leading up to the stoppage. Both were good sports afterwards
though and there was no animosity. Phillips records the win via technical
knockout from a strong ground and pound attack.
-Robert Berry def. Ken Shamrock via KO at
-Masakazu Imanari def. Jean Silva via
Submission (Reverse Heel Hook) at 2:30, R1
-Rob Broughton def. Neil Grove via Majority
-Tom Watson def. Pierre Guillet via KO at
-Mustapha Al-Turk def. Gary Turner via TKO
(Strikes) at 3:19, R1
-Ivan Serati def. Roman Webber via KO at 0:48,
-Henrique Santana def. Michael Johnson via
Unanimous Decision, R3
-Aisling Daly def. Aysen Berik via TKO
(Strikes) at 1:49, R1
-Giorgio Andrews def. Ryan Shamrock via TKO at
-John Hathaway def. Marvin Arnold via TKO
(Strikes) at 1:32, R1
-John Phillips def. Jake Bostwick via TKO
(Strikes) at 4:10, R1