CAGE RAGE 15
02/07/2006

PRIDE stars Ikuhisa Minowa and Daijiro Matsui fought in the London England mixed martial arts event CAGE RAGE 15 on February 4th. Both fighters walked away with wins from their cage matches and Minowa screamed "England Heaven!" on the London streets.

■ Minowa magic turns boos to cheers.

In the 12th match of the night, Ikuhisa Minowa appeared and gave the English fans a taste of Minowa-World. However, he was on enemy territory and they let him know it with a barrage of boos. On the other hand, Minowa's opponent, Dave Legeno, was cheered as the hometown fighter when he made his entrance carrying a sword.

Although Minowa previously declared that this fight would be "one minute in Heaven" meaning the fight would be finished within the first minute; he found it difficult to attack in the beginning because of Legeno's punching power. Minowa finally found a chance to take Legeno down with a tackle and used a technique he developed in PRIDE, the "Millennium Corner" dragging Legeno to the cage and putting his head against the post.

The fight turned out just as Minowa predicted before the match, "I'm probably better suited for fighting a cage. I'm going to send (Legeno) to Millennium Corner hell."

After setting the fight to his own pace, Minowa took advance of a mistake by Legeno, grabbing Legeno's leg for an Achilles-tendon lock. The English fans, unaccustomed to Minowa's style of joint locks, weren't immediately sure what had happened but when Legeno tapped out, the jeers Minowa received during his entrance became cheers from the audience.

Minowa's victory came at 2 minutes at 21 seconds into the 1st round, realizing Minowa's promise of "England Heaven!" Minowa quickly became a popular figure after the match, even being asked for handshakes and autographs as he walked through town.

■ Matsui fights a hard battle for a decision win!

Daijiro Matsui appeared in the semi-finals of Cage Rage 14 on December 3, 2005. He fought to a long battle, ending in a draw and impressed the fans so much that they were cheering "Matsui, Matsui" by the end. Some fans from the previous event remembered Matsui, cheering for him as he made his entrance this time in Cage Rage 15.

However, Matsui's opponent, Curtis Stout, quickly launched a punching assault in the beginning of the match and Matsui gave up a takedown. Matsui, never one to quite, continued to work for tackles and apparently inspired by Minowa, even attempted a drop kick on Stout.

Matsui continued attacking until the very end, eventually wearing down Stout's stamina. Matsui scored several takedowns in the final round, winning the match by decision and Matsui's gutsy fighting style drew loud cheers from the fans.