Cage Rage: Contenders 2
Held August 20, 2006 at Caesar’s Nightclub, London
By David West
Fast finishes were the order of the day for Cage Rage’s second Contender show, their breeding ground for new talent. Top of the bill was the experienced Jess Liaudin who had no trouble taking Lee Doski to the canvas where Liaudin pounded away inside the guard for ten minutes. Doski kept his guard shut and tried to tie up his assailant, but Liaudin repeatedly made room to punch and a series of heavy right hands left Doski with a cut under his left eye which started to swell. After round two Doski told the referee he could not see out of his left eye and the fight was waved over, giving Liaudin the TKO win.
Andre Winner, representing Team Rough House, mixed it up with Jess Lawson, whose stop-start style and leaping kicks made him an unpredictable foe, but Winner landed the clean punches and Winner verbally submitted early in the second round from an injured eye.
Mark Weir’s cousin and teammate Che Mills (3-2-0) stepped in to the cage to face power-punching Lithuanian export Marius Zaromskis, who boasted an unblemished record of 4-0-0 with all four wins by stoppage. After trading on their feet, Zaromskis took Mills down, but the British fighter took mount and roughed up his opponent before being reversed. Back on their feet, Zaromskis rushed Mills to the cage, but Mills drove a knee clean into Zaromskis’ head that dropped him face first to the canvas. Mills followed up with a burst of punches before the referee leapt in to save the unconscious Lithuanian who was out cold.
The unorthodox but always entertaining Sami "The Hun" Berik started his fight with Extreme Taekwondo stylist Steven Elliott weaving around the cage performing what looked like drunken kung fu. Elliott threw some kicks then opted to take Berik down, which proved his undoing as Berik has been working on his ground game with Royler Gracie-affiliated instructor Eddie Kone. From the bottom Berik swiftly wrapped a triangle around Elliott and forced the tap out.
Jake Bostwick made a spectacular debut at the first Contenders show knocking out Torey Groman in nine seconds. Tonight he proved that it wasn’t luck, blasting out Nick Porter in nineteen seconds of frantic brawling. Both men threw caution to the wind and let rip from the opening bell, but Bostwick managed to secure a Thai clinch and staggered Porter with knees. When Porter retreated to the fence, Bostwick knocked him down and smashed him with his right until Porter was defenceless.
Jason Barret chopped Nigel Whitear down with a succession of hard leg kicks that tenderised Whitear’s left leg. In the second round, the action stalled on the ground and when the referee told the fighters to stand up the exhausted Whitear was unable to do so, giving Barret the TKO.
New Blood thickens Light-Heavyweight Division
By Derek Callahan
Having new light heavyweights coming into the UFC is like finding water in the desert. Of course the desperation isn’t the same because fans can go to Pride or other shows for good light heavyweights. Still, the glamour division that Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture have nursed to popularity took too much effort to fall by the wayside, and athletes like David Heath are helping to pick it up. Putting off studies at the National Academy of Railroad Sciences to debut in the UFC, Heath (7-1) fights Cory Walmsley (10-0) at UFC 62.
"I’m not one of those guys that has to find specific motivation to fight. I love it, I’m good at it and I will always give it my all," says Heath. Fighting out of Tulsa, Oklahoma by way of Wellington, Kansas, Heath is a middle-American that isn’t too set into one way of fighting.
"A lackluster win does me no good," says Heath. A 30-year-old who sees himself closing in on the top light heavyweights in the world, Heath isn’t focused on how he wants to win. "I’ll be coming to finish the fight one way or another. Hopefully Cory and I will be a good style match-up to produce some fireworks," he says.
Heath has seen the one-and-done scenario in the UFC enough to know that he too could be a part of it depending on how he performs. He feels like that won’t be a problem from his end: Heath has finished six of his seven wins with two TKOs and four submissions.
"Cory is in the same position that I am in so I’m sure he will ‘show up,’" he says. His recent career boost has obviously been from winning, but it’s also part timing. His win over Sean Salmon in mid-July seems to have been the surge he needed to make the jump to the UFC. It isn’t hard to imagine Salmon making an appearance had he been the one submitting Heath in the first round.
"As far as that win getting me here, I guess I was the right guy in the right place at the right time," Heath says on the win. For the fight with Salmon he worked extensively on his wrestling.
"That kept me from getting taken down for about 40 seconds," he jokes. Having been busy even before the Salmon fight, Heath is feeling like his cardio won’t be a problem if the time comes to show it off. Credit for that is due mainly to his trainers Thomas Jones and Clay Marrs, but also to a familiar face.
Training in Tulsa, Heath has crossed paths with Mikey Burnett, and has benefited from the training. "He has unreal strength and a bottomless gas tank and uses them both. The guy doesn’t half ass anything," says Heath. "All I can really say about Mikey is the guy is a machine! If you are training with him you better be there to train hard."
Like many UFC rookies, Heath is now coming to terms with where he may rank among light heavyweights. Once in the show, it takes only a couple solid wins to get into title contention. Heath isn’t thinking about that just yet, although does think the best 205-pound fighter in the world is the one he’s shooting for.
"He is consistent. He is very good at making the fight go where his strengths are," says Heath on Chuck Liddell. "Obviously there is a gap due to his experience and training time but I know I have the ability [and] potential to compete."
Eventually, that potential will turn into talent on display. If not for Heath, then from some other light heavyweight eating up the competition, trying to find himself higher up on the food chain.
From the event’s promoter:
Bodog.TV Charges into Mixed Martial Arts
USA takes Russia to war in groundbreaking reality series ‘BodogFight’
With a fierce cast of nearly two dozen American competitors, Bodog.TV has produced its first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) television show, with filming slated to begin August 17, 2006, in Costa Rica. The debut episode of the action-packed weekly series BodogFight – in which Bodog.com’s billionaire Founder and CEO Calvin Ayre sets out to find the toughest fighters in the world – airs September 12 on Men’s Network, a Dish Network satellite channel, and online at Bodog.TV.
In an onslaught of head-to-head bouts, the field will be whittled down to the top seven. The elite modern-day warriors who survive the jungles of Central America will form the U.S. team that squares off against fighters from the Russian Red Devil Sports Club, home to some of the world’s nastiest MMA competitors. The USA vs. Russia grudge match will take place in Los Angeles on November 4 and be broadcast live on pay-per-view.
The brainchild of billionaire digital entertainment mogul Calvin Ayre, the series documents Ayre’s two special agents – rock phenomenon Bif Naked in the United States and her beautiful Russian counterpart Natalia Vilakova – in their search for the toughest, most ruthless Mixed Martial Arts athletes the two countries have to offer. Once selected by Ayre, the fighters travel to Costa Rica, where they will compete for the opportunity to be part of the American contingent that will advance to battle the world famous Russian Red Devil Team.
Each episode will focus on the lives of the athletes and discover the rich traditions, extreme personalities, grueling training regimens and riveting human dramas that make up the sport and culture of Mixed Martial Arts. As well, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the secret training regimen of the elite Russian squad, which is led by world champion heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
"BodogFight is another example of how we are becoming a dominating force in mainstream digital entertainment," says Ayre, creator of a number of reality television series and Founder and CEO of Bodog.com Entertainment Group. "With the immense popularity surrounding MMA as a sport, hosting and producing our own world-class sporting event marks the next step in the evolution of our entertainment brand. BodogTV has evolved into an international TV production powerhouse."
Elimination battles, behind-the-scenes training, interviews with fighters, and lifestyle segments will compose seven of the weekly one-hour "BodogFight" episodes, with the recap finale leading into the USA versus Russia main event in L.A. Three massive superfights will determine the victorious side on that night.
For biographies of all the fighters, behind-the-scenes footage, and unedited interviews and confrontations, go to www.bodogfight.com. Once each of the eight episodes has aired on the Men’s Network, it will be available online through Bodog.TV.
Hollywood Hosts a Night of Quick Fights at Pangea
By Steven Marrocco
Billed as the "Tinsel Town Battle", Pangea hosted a brief but exciting night of fights in the heart of Hollywood, CA. An estimated audience of 700 fans cheered on the fighters, some making their debut under the lights of Sunset Blvd.’s Palladium. Often reminiscent of the theme park atmosphere of Medieval Times, sections of audience loyal to their friends would come alive as they marched into the cage and went to battle.
It was rumored that many fighters were forced to drop out at the last minute, but at the rate the fights concluded, it probably wouldn’t have added more than 30 minutes to the competition. Of the 10 featured fights, only 6 came to fruition, and another 4 were stopped prior to the two minute mark. Fortunately, the fights that did go past the opening minutes were competitive enough to keep the audience entertained.
Particularly of note was the debut of Brazilian Richardo Arrivabeni, who faced an undefeated Jared "Hammer" Hamman. A part time college football coach, Hamman survived a series of sharp submission attempts to catch Arrivabeni gassing in the second round. His tenacity in pushing Richardo with strikes made the final difference as he landed a solid punch that sent Richardo to his back, anxious to pull Hamman into a ground war. Unwilling to play that game, Hamman launched a series of punches standing over Richardo that forced the referee to stop the bout.
The fifth bout of the night saw Brian Cobb fight a three round war with Mike Corey. The fight went back and forth for most of the allotted 15 minutes, with Corey working for several submissions as Cobb hung on and managed to work his way out of them, nearly sinking in a rear-naked choke of his own to close out the first round. The second round saw Corey gain the advantage in their stand up exchanges, landing several strong leg kicks before taking Cobb down again. Transitioning to the mount, it appeared Corey was seconds away from finishing the bout, when Cobb started punching up from the bottom, distracting Corey enough to allow him to reverse the mount and conclude the round dishing out his own punishment from Corey’s guard. The third and final round saw both men sliding off each other as they played another chess match of submission, with Corey attempting two more armbars and eating some direct shots from Cobb before taking him to the ground. Ultimately, both men fought their hearts out, but Corey was awarded with the unanimous decision from the judges at ringside.
Final Results of Pangea – "Tinsel Town Battle":
Sherman Pendergarst def. Aaron Brink at 0:54 of R1 by rear-naked choke.
Mike Corey def. Brian Cobb at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision.
Jared Hamman def. Richardo Arrivabeni at 2:14 of R2 by ref stoppage (strikes).
Anthony Johnson def. Jonathan Romero at 1:09 of R1 by TKO.
Gene Gisdorf def. Justin Jorgensen at :40 of R1 by triangle choke.
Sky Rivera def. Anthony McDavitt at 1:44 of R1 by ref disqualification (McDavitt disqualified for holding the fence while striking).