Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Cage Wars Nightmare on Extreme Sports - TV Review

British mixed martial arts returned to the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain recently as Cage Wars presented their Nightmare show from last November. The show was split over the past two Saturdays, and featured Jay Adams, Graham Little and Jude Samuels on commentary, with a guy I haven’t seen since my days in the British wrestling business, “Hardcore” John Atkins, as the master of ceremonies.

Part one began with Radek Rychlak taking on Ryan Boyd in the heavyweight division. A somewhat scrappy fight to begin with, with both men swinging for the trees, looking for the knockout. Round two was a much more technical battle as Rychlak first went for a kimura, then a key lock, before finally getting the submission with a rear naked choke. I was really ready to criticise this one, but the Pole’s good ground work in the second turned it for me.

Then it was on to Colin Neeson against Jonny McGillion in the featherweight division. This was a far superior fight, with better stand up and exceptional ground work, with Neeson putting in a great performance, almost getting the win with a kimura on a couple of occasions. The fight went the two round distance, and no surprise with the decision as all the judges scored in favour of Neeson.

Next up, Ali McClean facing Julien Dennis at lightweight. A one-sided fight saw McClean coming forward from the off, quickly flooring Dennis before going to work on the ground. The Frenchman went for a guillotine briefly, but it wasn’t long before McClean applied the d’arce choke for the submission win. McClean looked great here, a really impressive performance from the Irishman. Poor Dennis though didn’t know what hit him!

Next, Ben Boekee against Hugh Brady in the featherweight division. A very good fight saw Boekee putting on a good display of ground work, going for numerous submissions. Brady, in turn, showed some great defensive work as he managed to escape from all of those submission attempts. Brady took control in the final round as his ground and pound opened up a nasty cut under the Dutchman’s right eye. So with the fight going the distance, the decision was split in favour of Boekee. Two good performances here, and a good decision from the judges.

Part two began with Jordy Peute taking on Neil Seery in another featherweight fight. A pretty even first round saw some good ground work from both men, with Seery in particular looking impressive. However, the fight came to a quick end just fifteen seconds into the second as Peute applied the knee bar for the submission win.

Then it was on to Daniel Thomas against Duane van Helvoirt in the lightweight division.  For some reason the introductions and beginning of this fight were missing, although we did see a good performance from Thomas as he secured the submission win with a guillotine.

Colin McKee against Neydson Santos Ferreira at welterweight followed. Another of those one-sided affairs saw McKee coming forward early with some good combinations, with Ferreira turning his back and running away at one point. The end came when a relentless onslaught of blows from McKee saw Ferreira go down to his knees and unable to defend himself, with the referee stepping in and giving McKee the very impressive TKO win.

Up next, Lee McKibbin taking on John Lober in the middleweight division. The proverbial blink and you’ll miss it affair. A sweep from McKibbin caught Lober off guard, and seconds later he applied a standing guillotine for the quick submission win. Impressive stuff from McKibbin.

The main event saw Chris Stringer facing Rich Clementi in a catchweight fight, made at 160. This was the first fight of the two shows that saw any sort of feeling out, as Stringer circled the cage, frustrating his more experienced opponent, especially when Stringer caught one of Clementi’s kicks and took him down. But from there it was all Clementi as he reversed his position and took the mount, going for an arm bar as the first round ended. Clementi cemented his dominance in the second, controlling every aspect on the ground and getting the submission win with a triangle choke, putting the cap on a very good performance.

In conclusion - my first experience of a Cage Wars show has been a good one. Apart from the slightly disappointing opener, every fight delivered, and although there were no real stand out performances, that didn’t really matter.

Production-wise it was very good. The commentators knew their stuff and did a good job of putting the fighters over. The production values were what you’d expect from a British promotion getting exposure on television.

Son in all a very good and a very enjoyable show, and I hope that Extreme Sports show more of the Cage Wars product in the future, instead of relying on old Cage Rage repeats.

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