Call me Russ L

London never sleeps, it just…

Posted in Combat Sports by Russ L on 23 July, 2006

Off to the capital we went on the first of July, where people talk all funny like. The purpose of the exercise was Cage Rage 17, at Wembley Arena. Originally this was going to be me old mucker Trigger’s stag do, but things happen and it ended up just being him, me, and his Brother Dom a-going (as part of his stag month). It was also the day of England vs Portugal, which didn’t really mean a lot to me but was something that neither of them would even entertain missing.

Things went about as smoothly as they realistically could, which is slightly surprising ‘cos Trig and I become absolute mongs and tend to get lost when you put us together (neither of us is that bad individually…). The train turned out to be cheaper than expected, and the Tube wasn’t a problem this time. It was HOT, though. Standing out on Wembley High Street was only slightly short of incineration, and I really do dread to imagine what those tube trains are like at busy times. It must be sickening.

We wondered around for a good while looking for Travelodge, only to eventually get a taxi. Please note, dear reader – if you’re going to an event at the Wembley Arena, the Travel Inn is practically on top of it whereas the Travelodge is a stretch outside the town centre. This knowledge will serve you well.

My God, it was hot. I want to make it clear just how hot it was. I saw a camel mopping the sweat from its camel-y brow (I didn’t, actually. We did see the biggest beetle in the world ever, though).

After checking in and then waiting unnecessarily long for another taxi (have I mentioned how hot it was?), we headed back into town and into the Wetherspoons to watch the football. I’m not really a football fan, but I enjoyed watching this about as much as can be expected and (as I anticipated) got caught up in the exciting bits. It’s just a shame that there are always so many long stretches of nothing in particular happening between the exciting bits. Unfortunate result, anyway. Portuguese players seem to be anti-Weebles – wobbling then falling down at the slightest opportunity.

Over to the arena. Lots of things I’ve seen online seem to be suggesting that the event was sold-out or nearly sold-out. I dispute this. There’s no doubt that there was a massive crowd and that it bodes well for the sport, but there were plenty of empty seats around. The section of the £35 seating that we were supposed to be in was practically deserted (and justifiably so, since it offered a terrible view – we went and sat in a few unoccupied seats a little bit further forward. We got away with it, fortunately, but I doubt a whole section could have displaced itself thusly).

Here are the results. We missed the first four fights, (including Mason vs Daley, which was one of the ones I most wanted to see and so made for a real disappointment), but were there in time for Jean Silva vs Abdul Mohamed. There’s been some complaint from some quarters since then about Mohamed getting the decision in this one. I did actually have it two rounds to one in favour of Silva, but you have to remember that A) I was quite pissed by this point; and B) it was very close, no result would have surprised me. Abby Mo got the most of Cage Rage’s ‘open guard’ rule with some spectacular jumping stomps, which make for a hell of a thing to see live.

Pierre Guillet vs Daijiro Matsui was a bit of a disappointment (despite Matsui being uncharacteristically active on his feet), with a cut stoppage giving it to Guillet in non-decisive fashion. Two nasty, brutish and short (I mean those things in a good way) heavyweight matches followed as Buzz Berry stopped Sentoryu Miller and Mark Epstein knocked out the comical Dave Legano (who adopted a religious-themed entrance, prior to the inevitable), both in next to no time at all. Zelg Galesic proceeded to impress the living daylights out of me (and everybody else) with a slick armbar win over the very dangerous Curtis Stout. Having now proved he has a ground game as well as the lethal stand-up we already knew about, I foresee Zelg going straight to the top and fast.

Fabiano Scherner’s submission attempts made little impression on Gilbert Yvel before he got a battering (no mad YVEL~! antics, though), but the fight of the night was to follow. The highly anticipated rematch between James ‘The Collosus’ Thompson vs Tengiz ‘The Barbarian’ Tedoradze was called off due to Tengiz getting knocked out in Holland a fortnight before, and so the largely unknown (and very unlikely looking) Rob Broughton was drafted in as a replacement. For two rounds, Thompson absolutely pasted Broughton, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him. Broughton had no answer for any of it, but absorbed the lot and somehow kept going. By the time the third came around James was looking exhausted, and (bizarrely – I really don’t know why) the crowd had turned against him after initially being strongly supportive. Broughton came out with renewed vigour, took the advantage standing, and finished the whole affair on the ground with a volley of hammerfists from side control. An amazing display and a huge win for him. What now for Bristol Jimmy, I wonder?

The main event followed, with Ian Freeman’s big comeback fight against the (downright scary) Melvin Manhoef. I (and practically everyone else there) was firmly behind Freeman, and we were hoping and praying that he’d be able to survive the initial onslaught that would surely come from the Dutchman for long enough to take advantage of his conditioning problems. It wasn’t to be. Freeman went down early and Manhoef wasn’t slow to finish him off. Such a shame, but there we are.

Not a good sporting day for England, all in all.

There was no chance for anything else the following day (needing as we did to return back to the Midlands early due to Trig needing to be in work) but this was a very fun trip. It’s just a shame that some of the wrong people won.

More accounts of this can be found here, here and here (some great photos in that last one), but I feel the need to state again that it definitely wasn’t sold out. James Thompson definitely isn’t a Londoner, either.

~ Russ L, who is still occasionally getting the “UL-timate, UL-timate CHA-llenge” jingle they were playing between fights running through his head.

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One Response

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  1. Russ L said, on 25 July, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    You can read Trig’s (very funny) version of this here.

    I’d completely forgotten about his Danny John Jules-meeting exploits. The amount of his chicken kebab I pinched was minute, though. Don’t believe him.


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