Cage Rage 17 “ultimate Challenge” En Route To Attendance Recordweigh-ins Clear 12 Bouts For Saturday
Cage Rage 17 "Ultimate Challenge" en Route to Attendance Record
Weigh-ins Clear 12 Bouts for Saturday
Report & photos by David West
With England still in the soccer World Cup, spirits were high at the weigh-ins for Cage Rage 17 "Ultimate Challenge" despite the loss of several bouts, including the former main event Tank Abbott versus Amokrane Sabet, cancelled after Sabet tore his abdominal muscles in training. With the fight card going from fifteen to twelve matches, the new headlining bout between Ian "The Machine" Freeman and "The Manhunter" Melvin Manhoef promises fireworks in abundance and has captured the attention of the British fans. Freeman is coming out of retirement and making his first appearance as a light heavyweight against the explosive Dutchman who stopped Shungo Oyama in his last fight at K-1 Hero’s.
Tengiz Tedoradze was scheduled to defend his British Heavyweight title against James Thompson, but Tedoradze was knocked out just two weeks ago at 2 Hot 2 Handle in Holland, disqualifying himself from competing. Cage Rage has stripped the belt from Tedoradze and its new holder will be either Thompson or his opponent Rob Broughton, who has not fought the same level of opposition as PRIDE veteran Thompson and will be in need of an upset.
Fighting away from PRIDE for the first time will be one of Thompson’s previous opponents Henry "Sentoryu" Miller, who will face British slugger Robert "Buzz" Berry. At 1-4-0 Miller needs the win, while Berry (9-4-0) is coming off a loss by submission to Dan Severn and will be equally hungry for the victory.
Curtis Stout had originally hoped to mix it up with Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, but with Santos signing with PRIDE, Stout will now face Zelg Galesic, of Croatian origin but now training with Trojan Free Fighters, home camp of James Thompson. Galesic looked sharp knocking out Michael Holmes at Cage Rage 15, but will be stepping up in class to meet the more experienced American.
Tough Japanese fighter Daijiro Matsui will meet the U.S. Air Force’s Pierre Guillet in a match-up of two talented grapplers. Matsui beat Curtis Stout by decision in his last match, while Guillet similarly took a decision off Frenchman Laurent Bonafoux at European Vale Tudo in May.
Guillet’s training partner Robbie Olivier had hoped to get his rematch with Featherweight Champion Brad Pickett, but with Pickett out with an injury, Olivier will be facing Mark Chen, who has been clamouring for a shot at Pickett on various Internet forums. Chen will have to get past the very durable Olivier to earn his shot at the crown.
Cage Rage 17 will be the first MMA event held at the Wembley Arena, which has a maximum capacity of 7,500 people for tomorrow’s show. At the time of the weigh-in, almost 6,000 tickets had been sold, which bodes well for the promotion and may be a record attendance for an MMA event in the UK.
Cage Rage 17 "Ultimate Challenge" Weigh-in Results
Olivier Battles for Title Contendership at Saturday’s Cage Rage 17
By Eduardo Alonso
As the European MMA scene widens, the "old continent’s" biggest stage is proving to be England and its standout promotion Cage Rage. Among its accomplishments, Cage Rage has created exposure for some deserved British fighters who are starting to get more attention in the bigger MMA circles – from Michael Bisping’s dominant "TUF 3" performances to James Thompson’s PRIDE appearances. Behind them, however, a local pool of fighters is battling for their space on the bigger stages, one being a pioneer of the UK scene in firefighter Robbie Olivier. Having fought in the very first Cage Rage event, judo black belt Olivier is ready for yet one more battle as Cage Rage’s 17th edition this Saturday against Mark Chen, a bout for contendership of champion Brad Pickett’s featherweight (145-pound) title.
FCF: I understand you come from a judo background. Lately, some judo players have been achieving success in MMA, and other high caliber judo players have been coming to the sport. How do you feel judo adapts to MMA, and what do you think of so many Olympic judo players coming to our sport?
FCF: Being a judo black belt yourself, how did you make the transition to MMA, and what did you find the most difficult part to adapt?
FCF: I know you’re also a firefighter in the UK. How do you manage to do such a grueling work, and still train and teach?
FCF: The MMA scene in the UK seems to be growing a lot. What do you think of the current level of British fighters and where do you see the sport going in the UK?
FCF: Your last bout was for Cage Rage’s British title and had somewhat of a controversial result, where you lost a judges’ decision that many thought you had won. How did you feel about that fight and the decision?
FCF: Do you want a rematch with Brad Pickett, and is that on the plans for the near future?
FCF: Now you’re fighting Mark Chen at the next Cage Rage. What do you think of him as an opponent?
FCF: How was your training for the fight? Did you and teammate Pierre Guillet, who’s fighting Daijiro Matsui on the same card, train any specific strategies for both bouts?
FCF: The best of luck in your fight and thanks for the interview!
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