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…with thoughts on Cage Rage 22: Hard as Hell

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Cagr Rage 22 was Marios Zaromskis' coming out party after a bruising encounter with Ross Mason

Tedoradze, Grove, Turner, Cahoon and Zaromskis big winners at “Hard As Hell”.
For some fighters, it was a night which developed their reputation. For some, it was a night which redefined their career for the better or worse. Whatever way you look at it, the show was nothing less than eventful.

In the main event, Cage Rage’s British heavyweight champion Tengiz Tedoradze (21-7-1) survived a major scare to defeat Eric “Butterbean” Esch (10-4-1) via referee’s stoppage in the first round. Tedoradze looked much the sharper fighter in the early going, controlling the distance and doing much of of the better work. Tengiz’s jaw, previously exposed by Edson Draggo, almost betrayed him again as a counter right from Butterbean sent Tengiz to the mat.

However, Butterbean was simply too slow to capitalise. As much as Bean is a character in the sport, he is not much of an athlete. Bean flew onto the ground to land the punches required to get a stoppage but could not keep up with Tedoradze as he wriggled away and Bean eventually found himself on the bottom of the north-south position. Tedoradze cleared out the cobwebs, moved to mount and unleashed a match-winning torrent of punches. Post-fight, Tedoradze praised his opponent’s strength and a defence of his British heavyweight title against popular Londoner Mustapha Al-Turk awaits the Yorkshire-based Georgian.

The biggest winner on the night has to be the previously-unknown Neil Grove (2-0-0), who scored a ten-second knockout victory over James “the Colossus” Thompson (14-7-0) with a wild haymaker that landed on the money. While some wrote this off as a lucky punch, Thompson’s chin has again been revealed as suspect. Without significant improvements being made to his boxing skills, especially his head and foot movement, you can’t help but feel that this will happen again, as Thompson lost to Butterbean in February in similar circumstances. This has to be a bitter blow for Thompson, whose four-fight losing streak in Europe is in stark contrast to his two-fight winning streak in Japan, with wins over Hidehiko Yoshida and Don Frye. Cage Rage promoters Andy Geer and Dave O’Donnell seemed very pleased with their new find and later declared that Grove would be in Cage Rage to stay. One wonders if a bout with former British champion and fellow Thompson conqueror Rob Broughton could be in the pipeline.

Gary “Smiler” Turner (3-0-1) continued his quick rise up the heavyweight ranks, showing tremendous durability in his fight against Edson Draggo (9-3-0), who previously defeated Tengiz Tedoradze in just five seconds. Draggo looked aggressive and heavy-handed in the first, as both men enjoyed periods of superiority on the ground. However, a deliberate elbow from Draggo on the ground, a foul in Cage Rage, saw him deducted a point. His 10-9 round suddenly became 9-9. The second round saw both men cut and, again, both men spent time on the bottom but Turner finished the round in the ascendancy as they engaged in a slugfest. Draggo failed to come out for the third round and Turner can consider this a tremendous scalp, bearing in mind that Draggo has only lost to international-level heavyweights.

Paul Cahoon (8-10-0) has hovered around the 93 kg limit for much of his career and stunned the London crowd with a win over local favourite Mark Epstein (13-10-0) to win the vacant Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight title. Throughout the bout, Cahoon was not overawed on the feet, landing and taking his fair share of hard shots. However, he found joy with the takedown, showing the skills similar to his stable-mate Rob Broughton. Epstein has never looked comfortable on his back and Cahoon secured takedowns in the latter half of each round, remaining active enough to get the decision.

Some way down the card, British stalwart Ross Mason (9-7-0) and London-based up-and-comer Marios Zaromskis (6-1-0) fought in a welterweight battle that could well be the fight of any night, not just this one. Zaromskis is a striker of some technique and precision, which saw him send in stiff body kicks on his opponent. The first round was like a highlight reel and the dramatic third round saw Mason hit a two-punch combo that forced Zaromskis to take a knee. However, Mason could not finish the bout and fell victim to a picture-perfect flying knee that knocked him silly. Zaromskis looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow Eastern European kickboxer Zelg Galesic, who mowed a path through the domestic competition. However, he would also be looking to avoid Galesic’s recent struggles at world level.

Herb Dean (2-3-0) did not have a good night in his sporadic fighting career, as he retired injured at the end of a first round which he dominated against Dave “Deathwish” Legeno (4-3-0). Citing an eye injury, the crowd did not react positively to Herb’s decision and Legeno’s post-match cockiness seemed misplaced, considering he comfortably lost the first.

Overall, the crowd was very pleased with the occasion but, again, the best bouts on the night were found in the undercard, which is a disappointment for viewers on TV. A full play-by-play can be found here. Cage Rage have already announced three bouts for Cage Rage 23 on September 23rd 2007. As mentioned above, British Heavyweight champion Tengiz Tedoradze defends his title against Mustapha Al-Turk. Rising star Paul Daley defends his British Welterweight title against veteran Mark Weir, who moves down from middleweight. Finally, Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight champion James Zikic faces former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort. For those who want to see Cage Rage get really serious, that time seems to be upon us.

Anyway, if you can find it, seek out Zaromskis-Mason. You won’t be disappointed.

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Written by Michael Farrow

July 15, 2007 at 11:17 am

Posted in MMA

Tagged with ,

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