Saturday, June 21, 2008


Saturday, June 21, 2008 - by Lee Whitehead and Ken Pishna -

It appears Phil Baroni will be looking to bounce back from consecutive losses on July 12 at Cage Rage 27 “Step Up” against an opponent to be determined. Cage Rage promoter Dave O’Donnell revealed to that EliteXC has granted a path to the U.K. as means of getting the New York brawler back on track and to provide some much needed international star power for the upcoming card.

“Baroni will be fighting on the July 12 show,” revealed O’Donnell, adding, “but I can’t release the name of his opponent yet. He will be a British guy and it will make for an exciting fight, as we all know how Baroni likes to go about things. We are talking to a few people now, but until contracts are signed, I won’t be mentioning any names.”

According to Baroni’s manager, Ken Pavia, they are deep into negotiations with Cage Rage for the bout and a deal appears likely, but it has yet to be finalized.

Pavia did say, however, “Whoever Phil’s next fight is, it will take place at 170 pounds.” He said that in surveying the MMA landscape, there aren’t many fighters in the welterweight division with the one-punch knockout power that Baroni possesses, presenting an opportunity for Baroni to move into the weight class for the first time in his career.

“He’s going to fight at 170,” said Pavia. “He’s at 182 (pounds) right now.”

Baroni is known as an exciting hard hitter, but is currently on a three-fight slide following a devastating TKO loss to Joey Villasenor at EliteXC Primetime last month, when the promotion made its debut on CBS Television.

Should it be finalized, his appearance at Cage Rage should appeal to all those fans looking for a slugfest. The confirmation of his bout on England’s shores will finally mark the appearance of a fighter who was originally mooted to appear back at Cage Rage earlier in the year following his clearance from suspension due to a failed drug test in California. If he wins, he heads down the rebuild path, and if he loses, his opponent will be catapulted to the main spotlight.

Cage Rage has appeared to be in a transitional phase of late with rumblings over losing SKY TV and facing budgets cut, but according to O’Donnell there are many things in the pipeline. “What surprises me is that everyone is quick to read into the negatives of something that isn’t there. Our contract with SKY TV reached its conclusion, it wasn’t cut. We are currently negotiating a new deal with them and when it is done we will let you know,” he commented.

“Until then people will still be able to watch Baroni fight on live TV. We have a one-show deal in place for Cage Rage 27 and it will be announced shortly. It won’t be terrestrial TV and it will still be provided by the SKY carrier service.”



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