Monday, 10 March 2008

Cage Rage 25: Bring It On on Sky Sports - TV Review

He’s here. The legend that is Ken Shamrock is making his British MMA debut against Robert “Buzz” Berry. But how did he fare? That’s what I intend to find out with my review of the latest show from Britain’s top MMA promotion with Cage Rage 25: Bring It On, shown live on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The first fight action we see on the show comes from a fight earlier in the evening, as Giorgio Andrews takes on Ken Shamrock’s son Ryan in the featherweight division. Although the fight looked action packed, Shamrock junior broke his left hand with his first punch, and although he managed to make it to the end of the round, his corner men pulled him out. I can’t really tell much from these brief highlights, but hopefully he’ll be back in fighting condition sooner rather than later.
Then it’s on to the first fight proper, with Pierre Guillet taking on Tom “Kong” Watson in the middleweight division. Although this lasted just over two minutes, it was a great little fight. Guillet took Watson down twice, but the Brit was always trying to fight back, stopping the American from getting a dominant position. Then Guillet got to his feet, and with Watson still on his back, Guillet tried for a flying Superman punch - only to be met by an up-kick which knocked him senseless and opened up a gash underneath his eye. With the referee jumping in quickly to stop the fight, Watson was awarded the knockout victory. A great performance from Watson here, one again going to show that he’s improving all the time.
Up to the heavyweight division next, with Rob Broughton versus Neil Grove. The battle of the big men certainly proved to be interesting. Grove was clearly on top in the first round, connecting with a serious of stiff leg kicks to Broughton’s legs, and at one point stunning him with a quick combination, which Broughton survived by tying Grove’s arms up and taking him down. During the second round Grove, who had very rarely been beyond the second round, began to visibly tire as the round went on as Broughton began to establish his own form of control. The fatigue began to show in both men as the third and final round went on. A lot of the punches thrown looked like they didn’t have any real power behind them, and although Broughton took control of Grove’s back, Grove came back with a double leg takedown of his own, but as very little was actually happening, the referee stood the fighters up with less than a minute left. In the end the judges awarded the majority decision to Broughton in what could only be termed as a good comeback. Grove did well in the first round, but was clearly gassed after his efforts.
The only title fight of the evening follows, with Masakazu Imanari defending the World Featherweight title against Jean Silva. A lot was expected of this one, and although it didn’t last long, it certainly delivered. The great technical skills of Silva, and in particular Imanari, was present for all to see, especially when Imanari escaped from Silva’s guard position. Then it was a quick battle of leg submission attempts, before the champion synched in a heel hook, with Silva tapping instantly. It may have lasted only two and a half minutes, but it was still a hell of a fight.
A look at women’s MMA action follows with a fight from earlier in the evening, the first ever women’s MMA fight in London, with Aisling Daly tackling Aysen Berik in the featherweight division. Lasting less than two minutes, Daly dominated from the onset, and once on the mat unleashed with the ground and pound, opening up a cut near Berik’s eye, and with Berik unable to defend herself, the referee stepped in to stop the fight. A good effort from the girls here, and let’s hope we see more from the women’s division soon.
Main event time, with UFC legend Ken Shamrock making his British MMA debut against Robert “Buzz” Berry in the heavyweight division. It didn’t last long. Berry threw out a few left jabs, which stared a swelling under Shamrock’s right eye. A three punch combination from Shamrock didn’t even connect, and Berry then defended well against his takedown attempt. Then after a few one punch combinations from both men, Berry connected with the knockout blow, a right hand that sent Shamrock crashing to the mat, with the referee stopping the fight immediately. A good performance from Berry, who didn’t look overawed by his opponent in any way.
With time to spare in the broadcast, we see another fight from earlier in the light heavyweight division between Ivan Serati and Roman Webber. Another one that didn’t last long. Webber began this one like a greyhound coming out of the traps, and it cost him. Serati took him down immediately, and unleashed with the ground and pound, which Webber had no defence for, and with less than a minute gone in the fight, the referee stepped in to stop things. Serati looked great in this one, and clearly had Webber’s number.
In conclusion - it seems that Cage Rage, perhaps thanks to their affiliation with Elite XC, just keeps going from strength to strength. A great display from the majority of the fighters here, with special mention to Masakazu Imanari for his outstanding performance. However, although I enjoyed the show, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for one of my personal favourites, Ken Shamrock, and I’m now left wondering just what’s left for him at this stage in his career. At the age of 44 time certainly isn’t on his side, and his performance here and against long time UFC rival Tito Ortiz have proven that he’s not the fighter he once was. As hard as it is for me to say, but maybe it’s time for Shamrock to hang up the gloves.