Rua Subs ‘Professor X’ in Cage Rage

Dec 1, 2007
LONDON, Dec. 1 -- Murilo "Ninja" Rua (Pictures) topped off an excellent night of fighting Saturday at Cage Rage 24 when he sank a rear-naked choke on crafty opponent Xavier Foupa-Pokam (Pictures) midway through the second round.

The Frenchman started well, quickly slipping in and out of range to land a series of stinging low kicks that clearly surprised Rua and took him off his feet on three occasions.

Impressively, Ninja did not seem flustered. He dusted himself off and fought his way back into an action-packed first round with a heavy right hand and some nasty low kicks of his own. However, moments before the end of the round, "Professor X" wobbled the Chute Boxe fighter in a punching exchange and landed a brutal right kick to the body as the bell sounded.

The fighters engaged in some meaningful exchanges to begin the second round. Rua eventually did the smart thing, taking the fight to the floor, where he held a genuine edge over Pokam. Ninja worked diligently to tie up his trademark arm triangle from side control, but some resistance from Pokam led to Rua moving straight into mount.

The Brazilian then eagerly punched his way into the lead on the scorecards, forcing his opponent to turn his back. Eyeing his chance to snatch victory, Rua immediately slipped his arm under Pokam's chin for the choke and the win.

Paul Cahoon (Pictures) came back with a bang by knocking out Australian veteran Elvis Sinosic (Pictures) in only 21 seconds. The Liverpool fighter started fast, darting forward with power punches and looking extremely dangerous.

He soon caught up with "The King of Rock N Rumble" and landed a peach of a right hand that sent Sinosic dropping to the mat. A hard, glancing right from Cahoon also connected on the downed fighter, and referee Grant Waterman stepped in to save Sinosic from any further punishment.

Drew Fickett (Pictures) gave a very impressive performance as he came back from the brink of defeat to fulfill his prediction that he would choke Mark Weir (Pictures) on the ground after a scramble. The American quickly scored a takedown at the start of the match, but he appeared to slightly underestimate Weir's ground game. In fact, a neat sweep by Weir abruptly put Fickett on his back.

Weir proceeded to unleash a vicious ground assault, landing a heavy series of right hands. However, Fickett did incredibly well to keep his head. He showed some grappling talent while maneuvering to rear mount and clamping on a rear-naked choke to seal the win.

Ross "The Gladiator" Pointon demonstrated a tremendously improved standup game as he peppered London Shootfighter Mariuz Zaromskis with kick after kick in their fantastically entertaining war. In a fast-paced first round, Pointon landed numerous low kicks, but they seemed not to have too great effect on Zaromskis, who sprung back with a pair of his well-practiced jump knees.

Pointon continued his run in the second. He landed a thudding body kick and rocked his foe with a hard right hand that forced him to backpedal in an attempt to clear his head. To his credit, Zaromskis recovered very well, landing a vicious knee as Pointon shot in for a takedown. Unfortunately for Pointon, he sustained a Marvin Eastman (Pictures)-style cut to his forehead and was forced out of a contest that he had every chance of winning.

In a very close middleweight bout, Tom "Kong" Watson and Mark "The Beast" Epstein patiently traded hard low kicks for much of their fight and repeatedly took each other down, making it a tough call for the judges.

Epstein seemed to take the first round with some sharp low kicks and a takedown. Watson had some genuine success in the second with a string of hard left hands on the floor. However, a powerful reversal from the London fighter landed him on top in the third, where he maintained control of Watson for the remainder of the round to claim a slim majority decision.

Late-replacement Mark Buchanan (Pictures) fought very intelligently in methodically battering U.S. import George Castro. To the absolute joy of the Londoner's cornermen, Castro seemed to have no answer for Buchanan's fast right low kick, and Buchanan repeatedly went back to the technique in an attempt to slow down the burly American.

Though apparently not a natural Thai boxer, Castro was game beyond words and fired back with a series of looping right hands. Buchanan, though, was a bit too slick to get caught by the punch and chopped Castro down, eventually dropping him with a sweet left hook and following with punches on the ground to claim victory -- a fantastic performance on two days' notice.

Robert Berry (Pictures) let his heavyweight fight with Neil Grove (Pictures) slip away, ruling himself out of the contest after a first round that he had dominated. "Goliath" looked unmovable early and was able to repel an initial takedown attempt from Berry by shoving him across the cage in an astonishing display of strength.

However, even though he was throwing vicious bombs in the punching exchanges, Grove looked wild and vulnerable, allowing "Buzz" the chance to land a hard left hook that stunned the Essex fighter and dropped him to the floor. Seizing on his chance, Berry punished Grove from mount, but he looked extremely tired as the fight wore on. Exhausted after a frantic first five minutes, the Sunderland man capitulated between rounds, handing another victory to Grove.

Ivan Serati (Pictures) showed some fine skill and takedown ability while bullying MMA pioneer Lee Hasdell (Pictures). Controlling the action on the ground as he stubbornly refused to let Hasdell regain his feet, Serati worked his way to mount.

The Sure Grip fighter immediately ensnared his opponent in a straight armbar, causing Hasdell to grimace in pain as Serati hyper extended his elbow. Grittily refusing to quit, Hasdell scraped his way through the opening stanza but appeared to sustain serious damage to his arm in the process.

Clearly hampered by the injury, Hasdell soon found himself in deep trouble early in the second round. Serati dumped him on the floor with a textbook double-leg takedown and took full control of the fight, punching before sinking a rear-naked choke.

Grappling specialists Robbie Olivier (Pictures) and Abdul Mohamed (Pictures) fought to a highly skilled but less-than-exciting stalemate in their clash for the lightweight title. The two fighters set a dazzling pace. They fought tirelessly to take each other to the floor, but their skills appeared to cancel each other out, leading the fight to be conducted while jammed against the fence. After three grueling rounds, Mohamed retained his title via majority decision.

With no appetite for the standup game, 330-pound Robert Paczkow wasted no time in bulldozing James McSweeney (Pictures) to the mat. Known primarily as a kickboxer, McSweeney showed some skill off his back as he attempted an armbar.

It was not his night, though. The immense sumo fighter squashed McSweeney in the north-south position and pressed down on his neck with all his weight to force the submission.

Ronnie Mann (Pictures) showed star quality in his bout with the game but overmatched Jordan Miller (Pictures). He slammed his foe to the floor in the opening seconds. Then, almost immediately taking rear mount, the Trojan representative established complete control, quickly transitioning to a triangle choke.

As a natural young fighter that trains full time, Mann is definitely one to watch out for in future.
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