THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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British MMA was on the agenda again as Cage Wars returned to the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain this past Wednesday night with two one hour highlight shows, featuring former UFC stars Jeff Monson and Dan “The Beast” Severn.
The first show featured fights from their Decade show from March 2009, beginning with Jordy Puete against Gary Morris. Morris began this one in somewhat controversial fashion, sucker punching Puete just after they’d touched gloves. The Dutchman had the last laugh though as he locked in an arm bar, with Morris verbally tapping a minute or so later. A good performance by Puete, and serves Morris right for his disrespectful show!
It was up to the middleweight division for the next fight as Lee McKibbin took on Karolis Liukaitis. A fast past back and forth fight saw both men going all out from the bell, with Karolis scoring with the first take down before McKibbin came back strongly with a take down of his own. From there he worked into a position where he could take Karolis’ back, but not even two back slams could shake him off. Indeed, the second one proved to be Karolis’ undoing as McKibbin was finally able to synch in the rear naked choke he’d been working for, quickly getting the submission victory.
Then it was back down to the lightweight division as Daniel Abrol went up against J.C. Pennington. Another of those back and forth affairs that looked quite ragged at times but was enjoyable nonetheless. Abrol put on some good work in the first round, while the second round was a bit of a war, with Abrol on top early on with his wayward striking, before Pennington took the fight to the ground and controlled things from there, eventually getting the submission win with a rear naked choke.
The lightweight action continued as Peter Duncan took on Bryan Goldsby. This proved to be a highly entertaining encounter, with two very good performances. From the moment Goldsby scored with the early take down we saw a great display of ground work from both men. Duncan was able to match the American in this very tight contest, and it looked like it could go either way until Duncan locked in a kimura for a second round submission win.
The main event saw Jeff Monson against Sergej Maslobojev in the heavyweight division. Lots of feeling out at the beginning of this one, but when the fight went to the ground Monson all but dominated. Sergej had his moments with a couple of submission attempts, but it wasn’t enough as Monson locked in an anaconda choke for the second round submission win. A great performance from Monson, who used his experience advantage to good effect here.
The second show featured fights from the Staredown show in March 2008, beginning with Tim Estes against Chris Stringer in the lightweight division. A nice little back and forth affair here saw a rather frantic first round in which both men went all out. However, by the time the second round started the pace slowed down considerably, and even though there wasn’t overly flashy the striking and the ground work looked sound. The judges were called upon to render a decision here, with all three scoring in favour of Stringer.
Middleweight action in the form of Lee McKibbin against James Head followed. This was another of those enjoyable back and forth encounters, with two good performances from those concerned. The first round saw some great ground work, with Head in particular looking pretty impressive. The second saw McKibbin connect with a good shot, only to find himself tapping out to Head’s triangle choke shortly after the fight went to the ground. Some good work from the American here.
It was up a division to light heavyweight for the next fight as Jimmy Mills faced Michael Nichol. A slow paced fight here which went to the ground early saw Mills in the dominant position throughout. There were a few times when it looked like the referee was going to stand the fighters up for inactivity, but these moments were followed by Mills suddenly springing to life, either transitioning to another position or going for a spot of ground and pound, Then, just as the first round was entering it’s final thirty seconds Mills locked in an anaconda choke which Nichol soon tapped out to. Nothing too spectacular here, and the best way to describe Mills’ performance would be workmanlike.
The main event saw Colin Robinson face Dan Severn in the heavyweight division. Now while I admit that I’m a huge fan of the Beast, especially of his professional wrestling work, I haven’t exactly been too impressed his MMA fights over the past few years or so, and while this fight didn’t feature any flashy moves, Severn dominated for the most part, taking Robinson down at will and controlling him on the ground, just doing enough to keep him out of commission using the guard, half guard and side control, delivering a series of fists and knees. It wasn’t flashy, but it was highly effective, and earned the veteran the unanimous decision.
In conclusion – two very enjoyable shows from the Cage Wars crew here, with Decade the best of the two for me. The fights featured all varied from good to great, and it was good to see familiar faces in the form of Monson and Severn. So in all another good advertisement for British mixed martial arts, one I hope that the powers that be at Extreme Sports will repeat soon with other promotions.