by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
UFC 70 and Cage Rage 21 are fading in our minds now and having just had the Cage Warriors show, things are all quiet on the live event front. So it’s a collective picking up of the pieces for the fighters whilst promoters work hard at booking the next event.
Cage Rage has all but finalized the line-up for Cage Rage 22: Hard as Hell, scheduled for July 14th, and some of the card’s fights look good, some on the other hand I have no interest in seeing. But I guess as a promoter you need to appeal to all people and that is what they have booked for this card.
Butterbean vs. Tengiz Tedoradze is the first fight that springs to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I like Butterbean as a character and he brings entertainment value to a bout, but I have absolutely no interest in seeing this match. I believe that Tedoradze is long overdue an international opponent, but in a match that makes sense. He has a record of 20-7-1 and owns wins over the best of British in Rob Broughton, Tom Blackledge, Robert Berry, James Thompson and Marc Goddard leaves you wondering who in the U.K. will possibly beat him? Mustapha al Turk is the likely fellow for the job, but till then he has to face a guy like Butterbean who will not necessarily add much lustre to his mantelpiece.
Mario Sperry vs. Lee Hasdell is a good fight on paper. It could be a barnstormer of a match if both come to play hard. Hasdell will want to keep this standing to play off his Muay Thai and Japanese anti-grappling background. The Zen Machine (Sperry) will want to take him down. If they end up playing like Andre Arlovs.ki vs.. Fabricio Werdum, then it will be a boring night, but if they push, we could be in for a treat – either Sperry is getting KO’d or Hasdell is getting subbed.
James McSweeney is making his MMA debut against a fighter, Mark Buchanan, that won’t trouble him at all standing and is green enough on the ground to present opportunities for him. This will likely be a successful debut for the K-1 hero.
And finally, Dave Legeno vs. Herb Dean… now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Dean competes and works are one of the best referees in the business. It gives you a much higher regard for his ability to judge a fight because he is aware of the nuances involved having tested himself first, but Legeno? Seriously, I don’t want to hate on the guy as he is a great person to talk to, a genuinely nice guy, but I haven’t seen him in an interesting fight since his debut. Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo were jokes, Ikuhisa Minowa breezed him and the second fight with Alan Murdock left me cold.
Put Legeno against legitimate competition in the U.K. to see where he is at before throwing all the Americans at him. Tell you what, put Legeno in there with Blackledge and we will see where he is at – that is a fight I want to see…
Anyway, two highlights and two disappointments, the rest of the card looks solid though. Particularly interesting is the inclusion of Marios Zaromskis and Paul Cahoon. Both provide fireworks standing and are rock solid match-ups. That is what makes good a good event – tough fights where you are really pushed to choose a winner.
Full Card / Cage Rage 22: Hard as Hell
-Eric “Butterbean” Esch vs. Tengiz Tedoradze
-Mario Sperry vs. Lee Hasdell
-Rob Broughton vs. Gary Turner
-Herb Dean vs. Dave Legeno
-Mark Buchanan vs. James McSweeney
-Paul Cahoon vs. Mark Epstein
-Ronnie Mann vs. Robbie Olivier
-Marius Zaromskis vs. Ross Mason
-Ross Pointon vs. Dean Bray
-Joe Mac vs. Jeremy Bailey
-Michael Johnson vs. Damian Riccio
-Tom Watson vs. Ed Smith