‘Professor X’ to Test ‘Ninja’ at Cage Rage

Nov 28, 2007
‘Professor X' to Test ‘Ninja' at Cage Rage 24 By Jim Page ([email protected]) In only their second show since ProElite bought Cage Rage, promoters Dave O'Donnell and Andy Geer have put together a card for Dec. 1 in London that is full of exciting matchups to suit an increasing television audience.

The card, which will air live on ProElite.com pay-per-view starting at 1 p.m. ET, features wild, light-footed strikers, well-matched grapplers and a couple of explosive heavyweight contests for good measure.

Murilo "Ninja" Rua vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam (Pictures)

After spending much of his career in PRIDE's light heavyweight division, explosive Chute Boxe fighter Murilo "Ninja" Rua has found a home in the middleweight class. He will be looking to bounce back from his tough third round loss to Robbie Lawler (Pictures) in September.

Boasting a rich pedigree and already holding two wins in Cage Rage over Mark Weir (Pictures) and Alex Reid (Pictures), Rua, 14-8-1, is the betting man's favorite going into his contest with Xavier "Professor X" Foupa-Pokam.

However, after reeling off five straight victories against solid fighters, Pokam, 13-7, is unlikely to be intimidated by a big name opponent. In his last Cage Rage performance, the wiry striker looked dazzlingly sharp as he knocked out American serviceman Pierre Guillet (Pictures). The cat-like contender has also demonstrated proficiency on the ground, submitting talented fighters Alex Cook and Tom Watson (Pictures).

I'm picking an upset in this one. Pokam has the ability to surprise Rua with both his snapping striking and his underrated ground game. I see the Frenchman controlling the action on his way to a decision win.

Elvis Sinosic (Pictures) vs. Paul Cahoon (Pictures)

Unfortunately for Elvis Sinosic (Pictures), his skill set and resilience has given him the role of gatekeeper for the UFC -- and now Cage Rage looks set to throw him to the wolves, too. At Cage Rage 24, he'll be matched with the U.K.'s Paul Cahoon (Pictures).

The outcome of the fight -- as always with Sinosic -- is far from a foregone conclusion. "The King of Rock N Rumble" has proven in the past that he can cause trouble for most light heavyweights.

However, Cahoon is a spiteful banger with an ever-improving ground game. As long as he is able to stay out of trouble on the floor, I pick the Liverpudlian to overpower Sinosic with strikes to claim a stoppage win.

Mark Weir (Pictures) vs. Drew Fickett (Pictures)

Looking to get back into the mix at welterweight after his tough knockout loss to Paul Daley (Pictures), the tremendously experienced Mark Weir (Pictures) returns to take on multiple-time UFC veteran Drew Fickett (Pictures).

By all accounts, Weir's cut to the welterweight division for the first time against Daley was very comfortable. The bout was anything but relaxing, though, for the former taekwondo champion, who will be looking to turn his fortunes around in front of the London audience.

Boasting a UFC record of 4-3 and with an extensive background in the United States, Fickett arguably has the better technical ground game. With a solid strategy aimed at keeping him clear of Weir's rangy kicks, Fickett should be able to heap more misery onto the Range Fighter by taking the fight to the floor and walking away with a submission win.

Ross Pointon (Pictures) vs. Marios Zaromskis

After giving his ailing career a much-needed shot in the arm with his submission victory at Cage Rage 22, Ross Pointon (Pictures) may well have bitten off more than he can chew by taking on London Shootfighter Marios Zaromskis.

Pointon showed flashes of genuine talent in his various "Ultimate Fighter" appearances. He will need to muster every bit of skill and determination if he is to come through this fight unscathed. This appears to be a tall order against the precision-striking Zaromskis.

I pick Zaromskis to break "The Gladiator" down, finishing late in the second with a barrage of kicks and punches.

Tom Watson (Pictures) vs. Mark Epstein (Pictures)

In a great clash between an up-and-coming fighter with a potentially bright future and one of the promotion's most experienced showmen, Tom "Kong" Watson makes his way back into the cage to take on Mark "The Beast" Epstein.

Both fighters come from a standup background, and this match has the potential to deliver fireworks. However, Watson would be wise to take the fight to the ground to avoid any surprises from the tough Eltham warrior.

Either way, I pick the younger and more explosive "Kong" Watson to scrape through a hard fight and earn the decision.

Dave Legeno (Pictures) vs. George Castro

In heavyweight action, aging actor and tough guy Dave "Deathwish" Legeno takes on unknown quantity George "XXX" Castro.

The two fighters are reputed to have already met while training with Don Frye (Pictures) in the United States. By all accounts there is no love lost between the two as their larger-than-life personalities collided.

I expect to see Legeno, lifted by the hometown crowd, to take this one by knockout in a barnstormer of a fight.

Robert Berry (Pictures) vs. Neil Grove (Pictures)

Providing another interesting heavyweight clash, Neil "Goliath" Grove takes on Sunderland brawler Robert "Buzz" Berry in a match that seems set to determine the next challenger for Tengiz Tedoradze (Pictures)'s Cage Rage British title.

Berry has proven time and time again that he has the kind of power that can put opponents to sleep with a single punch. The fighter standing across from him is clearly no slouch in an exchange either, having knocked out James Thompson (Pictures) in only 10 seconds.

While Berry does have some jiu-jitsu in his arsenal, he appears to be most comfortable in bouts when he can dictate the action with his sheer size and brutal determination. I really don't think he will be able to do that against Grove. I pick the South African "Goliath" to land a knockout punch midway through the first round.

Lee Hasdell (Pictures) vs. Ivan Serati (Pictures)

Pioneer of U.K. MMA, Lee Hasdell (Pictures) returns after his bitterly disappointing loss to Mario Sperry (Pictures) in his last outing to take on Italian Ivan Serati (Pictures).

Known for his vicious knees and gutsy submission defense, the Milton Keynes fighter will have a point to prove going into this contest. Hasdell will no doubt make it an uncomfortable night's work for Serati, especially if he has failed to heed numerous warnings about his cardio and comes into the bout with his gas tank half full.

I expect to see Hasdell fighting off his back for the first round before turning it around down the stretch as the Italian fades.

Robbie Olivier (Pictures) vs. Abdul Mohamed (Pictures)

Although Cage Rage receives a fair share of criticism for predominantly arranging bouts likely to become standup wars, the promotion also consistently books fights for the MMA connoisseurs. If you're a fan of the grappling arts, the fight between hyper-aggressive Tsunami fighter Robbie Olivier (Pictures) and tough Afgan wrestler Abdul Mohamed (Pictures) is the one for you.

Both men have shown a true pedigree on the U.K. scene. While Mohamed is often labeled simply a wrestler, he has improved all areas of his game. If he can keep Olivier out of his comfort zone with strikes from the top, I pick him to control the action and win the decision.

James McSweeney (Pictures) vs. Robert Paczkow

Vicious former K-1 kickboxer James McSweeney (Pictures) has a massive task ahead of him as he battles former sumo champion Robert Paczkow in a heavyweight contest. On paper a precise striker such as McSweeney should be able to sting his lumbering opponent from all angles and would be the obvious favorite to win.

You can never fully discount the chances of a human juggernaut hell-bent on causing damage, but I pick McSweeney to stay out of danger and set himself apart from his Polish opponent with seven to eight minutes of hard kicks and long-range punches.

Jordan Miller (Pictures) vs. Ronnie Mann (Pictures)

In featherweight action, rising Trojan fighter Ronnie Mann (Pictures) will cause all sorts of problems for late-replacement Jordan Miller (Pictures).

That's to take nothing away from the Poole Jiu-Jitsu fighter, who showed he is well-rounded and determined against Brad Pickett (Pictures). However, Mann should prove to have the edge in all areas, pushing the pace of the fight to a second round stoppage.
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