U.K.-based MMA organization Cage Rage is putting on a thoroughly kickass show tomorrow, featuring Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Elvis Sinosic, Mark Weir, Neil Grove, and TUF3 alum Ross Pointon. Check out the full fight card here. I’d never heard of Rua’s opponent Xavier Foupa-Pokam (please keep your “fupa-poker” jokes to yourself), so I decided to search for a clip of him in action, which I’ve posted below. Rua might have his hands full, as Foupa-Pokam looks like a sharp striker who’s absolutely deadly once he falls on his ass. You should also keep an eye out for Neil Grove, a 4-0 heavyweight bruiser whose last two fights resulted in a 10-second knockout of James “The Colossus” Thompson (the video is below) and a 34-second TKO of Domagoj Ostojic. Cage Rage 24 can be seen live at ProElite.com PPV; the action kicks off at 1 p.m. ET.
(Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Alex Cook at Cage Rage 18, 9/30/06)
(Neil Grove vs. James Thompson at Cage Rage 22, 7/14/07)
Grove…holds the black belt rank of Shihan in Go-Ju Ryu Karate, a full-contact style which emphasizes sparring and grappling.
Judging from some of his fights, you’d think he was a third-degree black belt in Drunken British Soccer Hooligan. But it works for him, and that’s cool with us. Grove is looking to debut at UFC 95 (February 21st; London, England), and has his eye on Mustapha Al-Turk, the man who held Cage Rage’s British heavyweight title before the organization shut down. Al-Turk will first face Cheick Kongo at UFC 92 (December 27th, Las Vegas).
Ron Sparks (8-0) continued his rise towards relevancy with an 84-second knockout of Mark Holata. Sparks also happens to be one of those dudes with his own last name tattooed on his stomach, but we won’t hold it against him. Speaking of stoppages, Blagoi Ivanov (5-0, 1 no contest) also kept his unbeaten record, smashing Zak Jensen standing then putting him to a sleep in the second round with a guillotine choke.
Three years after his embarrassing 11-second destruction at the hands of Fedor’s younger brother, James Thompson managed to shave one second off of his personal getting-knocked-out record during this Cage Rage match against 2-0 rookie Neil Grove. Following a very brief feeling-out process, Grove starts swinging his big meathooks around until one of them connects squarely on Thompson’s glass chin, sending the Colossus facedown onto the mat for a lil’ nap. The announcer immediately calls the stoppage “UN-BA-LAY-VA-BOWL,” but honestly, what did you expect to see in a fight between two British heavyweights — a flying gogoplata?
I’m gonna be honest — I have no idea who these people are or when this fight took place. But you can tell it’s an educated audience by the way they openly laugh at that jacked-up teep kick and standing hammer-fist at the 0:07 mark. After that, the dude just hangs out with his hands down, and the Neil Grove-lookalike kicks his head into last month. Concussions, man. Always entertaining.
At the minimum, last night’s Super Fight League 2 card was a small, albeit significant, improvement over the upstart promotion’s first card. The fact that Bob Sapp was not participating already ensured this. Yes, it was still riddled with the goofy, often laughably bad commentary of Phil Baroni and some other guy who I don’t really care to look up at the moment, but overall, it was able to deliver more action and dramatic finishes than this weekend’s Bellator card could account for, and considering it was free, who are we to complain? If only they could get rid of those awkward crowd shots.
But before we get to the most exciting finish, perhaps we could focus on the oddest one– Alexander Shlemenko’s first round TKO of Ikuhisa Minowa. Minowa continued his rough streak against recognizable-named opponents this morning, and it looks like he could be on the shelve for a little longer than usual this time around. For the first couple of minutes, the fight was vintage Shlemenko, featuring more spinning death attacks than a tornado in an axe factory. Minowa simply had no answer for “The Storm” on the feet, and was stalked around the cage until around the two minute mark, when Shlemenko was able to land a well timed knee to Minowa’s skull that sent him reeling backward.
Minowa seemed to be alright, reaching for a leg log in the moments afterward, but when Shlemenko was able to pull out from danger, Minowa suddenly curled up in the fetal position with an apparent rib injury. No word yet on exactly how bad he is hurt, but we’re going to guess that the injury was more, you know, real, than the quad injury that felled Sapp in his main event clash against James Thompson at SFL 1. The announcer not named Phil Baroni was kind enough to inform us that Shlemenko has now fought 13 times in the past two years. That is fucking insane. And speaking of insane, Shlemenko’s thirst for his well deserved rematch against Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard might just be driving him a bit loony. After defeating Minowa, Shlemenko gave what was perhaps the greatest post fighting interview of all time, calmly stating, ”Hey India. Hector, I kill you.” If only Lombard could come to an agreement with the Bellator brass, perhaps we could watch these two throw down again.
The Duffee/Grove video, along with the full results are after the jump.
It looks like Robert “Buzz” Berry’s beating last Saturday at the hands of Neil Grove could be his last. Berry (13-8), who suffered a second-round TKO loss at Cage Rage 27 and who has dropped three of his last four fights, announced his retirement last night via the Cage Warriors forums, writing the following:
Just to let you all know I have had to retire. After my fight with Neil Grove I was taken to the hospital and had to have surgery on my face. They have had to put two plates in, one in my cheek bone and one on my eye socket. So that is it, over for me.
Can I take this opportunity in congratulating Neil Grove on the fight and good luck in the future. Thank you to all my camp and other camps for their help over the years in getting me ready for fights. Thanks to all my fans in their support for me, it has always meant a lot. A real big thanks to John Close, he has been a diamond — we have been joined at the hip for a few years. Neil Wain has been a star for me and wish him all the best in his fight in the UFC. Thanks to the guys at Cage Rage for their part in my fighting and to anyone I have missed out: Thank you.
As you can see in the video from the Berry/Grove fight (above), Buzz was on the mat for about three minutes after the loss, in visible pain. Grove’s leg kicks were responsible for breaking Berry down during the fight, but his final flurry of punches turned out to be a career ender for the man who’d previously knocked out Ken Shamrock at Cage Rage 25 in March. With the win, Grove increased his record to 6-1; in the post-fight interview he called out Cage Rage British heavyweight champion Mustapha Al Turk, as well as (who else) Kimbo Slice.
Don Frye’s most recent fight, at PRIDE 34 on 4/8/07, was notable for three reasons: First, it kicked off with the best/gayest staredown in MMA history. Second, Frye and Thompson briefly locked into a hockey-punching spree that recalled Frye’s legendary brawl with Yoshihiro Takayama. And finally, it ended in a notorious late-stoppage, with Frye getting whaled on against the ropes for a solid minute before the ref stepped in. All in all, it was one of the most memorable fights of 2007. Thompson’s next match would result in a 10-second knockout loss to Neil Grove…