Cage Rage: Esch Makes Short Work of Thompson

Feb 11, 2007
LONDON, Feb. 10 — Cage Rage latest card brought a massive reaction from the packed house at Wembley, delivering some shockingly quick fights, a series of bloody wars and the crowning of two new Cage Rage champions.

Adding to the drama of the occasion, Bob Sapp (Pictures) was in attendance, standing his ground in the face of potential opponents to hype up his scheduled debut on the promotion in April.

In the main event former boxer Eric Esch (Pictures) scored a terrific knockout over James Thompson (Pictures) only 43 seconds into the first round. Taking the questionable decision to stand and trade blows with the powerful American, James soon found himself on the end of a hard right hand and crashed to the floor.

With “Butterbean” chasing him down with more brutal punches, referee Grant Waterman made the sensible, if unpopular, decision to call a halt to the bout.

Mark Kerr (Pictures) continued his sad fall from grace, submitting to the ground-and-pound of Mustapha al Turk (Pictures) halfway into the opening round.

Missing a high kick early on, Mark fell over, allowing the North Londoner to pounce on him. Controlling from half-guard, Mustapha landed a series of answered punches that forced “The Smashing Machine” to quit, leading to an out-pouring of joy from the London Shootfighter and leaving Kerr wondering about his remaining career options.

In the awesome domestic heavyweight clash between Tengiz Tedoradze (Pictures) and Rob Broughton (Pictures), Tengiz bull rushed his way to victory, cutting his foe badly over his left eye for the stoppage at 58 seconds into the second round.

Tedoradze repeatedly surged forward into the clinch and amazingly managed to land a suplex on the huge Atherton submission fighter. Eating some heavy punishment along the way, Broughton suffered a nasty gash, which left the doctor with no option but to save him from further damage.

In what was quite a plodding display of the stand-up art, Dave Legeno (Pictures) managed to secure a unanimous decision victory over the aging Dan Severn (Pictures), who seemed reluctant to commit to a shot until the final round.

Forced to eat a number of body shots and low kicks in the first 10 minutes of action, Severn managed to take Legeno to the floor and — again — cut his opponent, causing the referee to pause the contest for a cut inspection. Thankfully for Legeno, he was able to continue and survive to the end of the round for the unanimous decision.

After the contest, Legeno made a risky challenge to Sapp, who was in attendance to promote his up-coming Cage Rage debut. The next five minutes descended into hilarious chaos as Robert Berry (Pictures) and James Thompson (Pictures) made their way to the cage to challenge the monstrous American.

Clearly in no mood to be intimidated, Bob offered to fight each of them on the same night before being led away to avoid an early introduction to his Cage Rage career.

Daijiro Matsui (Pictures) showed some real class in his fight with Tom Watson (Pictures), submitting the Gorilla Academy fighter with an armbar only 59 seconds into the contest.

Watson started well with a big left hook, but soon found himself on the mat with Matsui hopping over his turned back to complete the submission.

In one of the many heavyweight clashes, “Buzz” Berry recovered from an early takedown from London opponent Mark Buchanon, reversing position to bash the helpless Elite fighter into submission from the mount, 2:18 seconds into the fight, setting up some interesting options for matchmaker, Dave O’Donnell.

Tom Blackledge (Pictures) also scored a quick victory in his heavyweight bout against former pro-wrestler, Tom Howard (Pictures). Scrambling on the floor, the Wolfslair fighter executed a magnificent sweep to take Howard’s back as he stood up.

With the entire arena screaming for a suplex, Blackledge declined the invitation, instead he pushed the American away and landed a huge right high kick that knocked Howard cold and caused a nasty gash on his forehead.

In shockingly quick finish, Masakazu Imanari (Pictures) submitted British Cage Rage champion Robbie Olivier (Pictures) with a picture perfect armbar 27 seconds from the opening bell.

A missed flying front kick from the Japanese star appeared to land him in trouble, but he quickly adjusted his weight, seizing Robbie’s right arm and locking it in place for a very tidy win.

The victorious PRIDE veteran was then joined in the cage by the UK’s own Leigh Remedios (Pictures), who announced that he would come out of retirement to face the leglock expert for the chance to bring the Cage Rage world featherweight title back into British hands. “Let me think about it,” came the reply.

In the fight of the night, Marios Zaromskis (Pictures) battered tough Frenchman, Damian Riccio, for the best part of three rounds before a cut brought a halt to the contest.

The two fighters continually exchanged vicious punches and in a matter of seconds, both had their chances to land stomps under the “open guard” rule.

With the London Shootfighter gaining the ascendancy, Riccio came through a hail of high kicks and crisp punches, managing to take the fight to the floor on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately for him, he was not able to land any telling blows and towards the end of the third round ate a huge spinning hook kick to the jaw and a glancing soccer kick, which earned Zaromskis a yellow card.

Though unbowed, Riccio’s skin let him down with just over 20 seconds remaining in the fight, handing the cut stoppage win to Zaromskis.

In the eagerly awaited rematch between the two youngsters, Ronnie Mann was able to control the stand-up and continually assume top position on the floor, racking up points to gain an early lead on Ashleigh Grimshaw.

The Pancrase London fighter came back towards the end of the fight with some ground-and-pound of his own, but it was too little, too late as Mann comfortably held on for the well-earned unanimous decision.

In a wild back-and-forth fight, Jack Toczyelowski came through some testing moments against the determined Jason Barrett (Pictures) to win a first round cut stoppage. Barrett did well to get out from underneath Toczyelowski on the floor, but could not take advantage of mount position. After a warning for holding the fence and a horribly damaging punch from Toczyelowski, “Punching Preacher” was forced out of the contest by the doctor.

The first bout of the night saw late replacement Francis Heagney patiently work his ground game on Lee Doski (Pictures), taking advantage of his good positioning to sink a Kimura for the submission at 2:50 in the second round.
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