Saturday, February 10, 2007


By Jim Burman

Tonight’s Cage Rage show at the Wembley Arena showcases a fairly mixed card with something for everyone. The headline fight of the night matches Eric “Butterbean” Esch against James "the Colossus" Thompson. Esch (8-3-1) is a slugger who is capable of putting anyone on the wrong side of a highlight reel on any given day. Thompson (13-5-0) similarly is a powerhouse of a fighter who seems to have turned the tide against a three-fight losing streak in 2006 after defeating Hidehiko Yoshida at PRIDE’s 2006 Shockwave event last New Year’s Eve. It’s unlikely fans we’ll see a technical grappling match out of these two, while it will be surprising if this brawl makes it out of the first round.

There is a smattering of internationally recognizable names on the card. One time Pride gatekeeper Daijiro Matsui (8-16-4), who was originally due to face rumored PRIDE inductee and Cage Rage British Middleweight Champion Zelg Galesic before he dropped out with a shoulder injury, faces Tom “Kong” Watson (2-0).

PRIDE veteran and “The Smashing Machine” documentary star Mark Kerr (13-5) faces Mustapha Al Turk (3-2) at heavyweight.

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