The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to discuss the upcoming IFL World Grand Prix Finals which are set to take place on Saturday, December 29th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
Nothing new was reported in terms of the IFL itself, that will come later in the week, on Wednesday to be exact when IFL President Kurt Otto meets with the media again to discuss the layout for next year.
Fighters participating on the call were Chris Horodecki and Jay Hieron. Notes on both are after the jump.
NEW YORK - John “?Guns”? Gunderson, standout for the Lions, will replace Shad Lierley in the International Fight League World Grand Prix lightweight championship against undefeated (11-0) star Chris ?The Polish Hammer? Horodecki on Saturday, December 29, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Lierley broke a toe in training and is unable to compete at the event, at which five Championship bouts, believed to be unprecedented in North America, will take place.
Gunderson went 2-1 during the regular season for Coach Ken Shamrock?s Lions, defeating Josh Odom and Gabe Casillas via submission and falling in an exciting split decision to Bart Palaszewski. He is 15-5 in his mixed martial arts career, including a 2-2 mark in IFL matches. Horodecki has won all four of his 2008 matches and is 7-0 in IFL competition.
Imagine getting a title shot in only your first year as a professional in MMA… Sounds insane doesn’t it?
Well that’s exactly what has happened to Shad Lierley as he’s been given an opportunity to challenge undefeated lightweight phenom Chris Horodecki for the vacant IFL Lightweight Title at the IFL Grand Prix Finals later this month. Lierley and Horodecki clashed earlier this year in what turned out to be a definite ‘fight of the year’ nominee. Horodecki came away with an unanimous decision victory.
We were able to post video of the fight courtesy of the IFL last month. You can find it here.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Shad late last week and get his thoughts on a chance for redemption against Horodecki.
News and Notes
- Reaction from last night’s Ultimate Fighter 6 episode:
UFC: Matt Hughes’ Blog – Week Eleven; The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes – Episode Eleven Recap
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Speer Into TUF 6 Semis
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 11 Recap
MMA Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 recap and discussion
Five Ounces of Pain: TUF 6: Episode 11 Recap/Thoughts
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 Recap
Steve Cofield: Ben Saunders has his say
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 10
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Leonard Garcia will be moving to the WEC to compete in the featherweight division according to Garcia’s trainer Greg Jackson:
“Leonard (Garcia) is such a great fighter and a strong guy, but he walks around at like three pounds over weight,” said Jackson about his fighter’s move to featherweight. “He had to eat the morning of the weigh-ins the last time. We’ve got to bring him down a weight class where he’s going to be more effective. We talked after his last fight and 145 is where he’s going to be. I’m really looking forward to proving ourselves in that division in the WEC.”
- Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will take on former WEC bantamweight contender Rani Yahya at K-1 “Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve according to a report from Sports Navi.
Touch of gloves to The Fight Network for that one.
- Sam Caplan has some pretty big news to report…
First off, apparently Andre Gusmao will not be fighting David Heath at UFC 81 because he’s not even signed with the UFC:
Several reports have surfaced in the last 48 hours claiming that Andre Gusmao will be debuting for the UFC at UFC 81 on February 2 against David Heath. Pro Elite has learned that those reports are incorrect, as the IFL has a contract option to retain Gusmao for the 2008 season and will be exercising that option.
The UFC had been in discussions with someone falsely claiming to be representing Gusmao and misrepresenting information during the faux negotiations. According to the source, the UFC was contacted by the IFL soon after hearing the reports of Gusmao’s departure.
Secondly, Caplan has learned that M-1 Global is leaning towards holding their first-ever event at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ in March, which is good for this site because of a short traveling distance.
- Adam Morgan at Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Dan Barrera and Ben Saunders will rematch at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale next Saturday.
London Free Press: He’s called the Crosby of fighting
Sherdog: Politics of Promoting on New Year’s Eve in Japan
MMA Opinion: We Found Rampage!
Bloody Elbow: How Dana White Blew It in 2007
MMA Analyst: Sengoku won’t prove who is the Fight Master
Here is the first meeting between IFL lightweight Chris “The Polish Hammer” Horodecki and Shad Lierley. The fight took place June 1, 2007 at the Everett Events Center in Everett, Washington. Horodecki and Lierley will step into the ring again Dec. 29 at the IFL World Grand Prix Finals for the IFL lightweight title.
Sam Caplan is reporting that Miletich Fighting Systems’ L.C. Davis will take on Wagnney Fabiano at the IFL Grand Prix Finals at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The bout will crown the first-ever IFL Featherweight Champion.
Brian Knapp of The Fight Network announced earlier today that Fabiano had been replaced by Shad Lierley who will now face the unfeated Chris Horodecki for the IFL Lightweight Title.
The IFL is expected to officially announce the changes at some point this week.
The Fight Network is reporting that Wagnney Fabiano will no longer be facing Chris “The Polish Hammer” Horodecki at the IFL Grand Prix Finals on Dec. 29 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Chris Horodecki will now be facing Shad Lierley Dec. 29 for the IFL lightweight title.
According to the report, Fabiano will be making the drop to 145 lbs. and will be fighting for the IFL featherweight belt Dec. 29.
“We were ready to face Wagnney Fabiano in the final,” Tompkins said. “That’s being changed. Shad Lierley, who Horodecki fought before [in what was] probably one of the most exciting fights in the IFL, will be put into the Grand Prix spot against Chris.”
“I believe the IFL, in that show, is going to start a 145-pound division, and Wagnney Fabiano will be fighting for a 145-pound title,” Tompkins said. “We’re big fans of Wagnney Fabiano. Obviously, he’s waved the Canadian flag for [the Toronto Dragons]. We hope he becomes the 145-pound champion.”
IFL World Grand Prix Finals
IFL Featherweight Championship
Wagnney Fabiano vs. TBA
IFL Lightweight Championship
Chris Horodecki vs. Shad Lierley
IFL Welterweight Championship
Delson Heleno vs. Jay Hieron
IFL Middleweight Championship
Benji Radach vs. Matt Horwich
IFL Heavyweight Championship
Antoine Jaoude vs. Roy Nelson
Brent Beauparlant (185 lbs) vs. Benji Radach (186 lbs)
Bart Palaszewski (155.5 lbs lbs) vs. Chris Horodecki (154 lbs)
Alex Schoenauer (205 lbs) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (204 lbs)
John Gunderson (155.5 lbs) vs. Wagnney Fabiano (155.5 lbs)
Gideon Ray (173 lbs) vs. Delson Heleno (175 lbs)
Shane Ott (264.5 lbs) vs. Antoine Jaoude (248.5 lbs)
Bryan Vetell (266 lbs) vs. Roy Nelson (261.5 lbs)
Brian Foster (184.5 lbs) vs. Matt Horwich (187.5 lbs)
Donnie Liles (177 lbs) vs. Jay Hieron (170 lbs)
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to promote this weekend’s opening round of the IFL Grand Prix, which will take place at at the Sears Center in Chicago. A portion of the event will be televised live on MyNetworkTV at 9 PM EST.
IFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Larkin was on hand to answer the media’s questions.
Larkin noted that the IFL will do away with the teams being attached to cities, citing that putting on events between two teams in neutral cities didn’t make much sense. The teams will now focus more on their name and head coach as well the gym the coach runs, if he has one. Larkin stated that the look of the league will look dramatically different compared to this past season.
The IFL is still in talks with MyNetworkTV about a television deal in 2008 but those negotiations are nearly complete. There aren’t currently any plans to have the final round of the Grand Prix televised live. Larkin also said that the IFL will announce a new television deal with a Canadian network tomorrow. The network will televise two hours of the Grand Prix. Larkin is also currently in talks with HBO concerning a television deal in the future.
Larkin said that he will not be at the Grand Prix because he is required to attend an HBO boxing event taking place overseas this weekend. He also said that he did not understand UFC President Dana White’s criticism of boxing officials even though he hired, Marc Ratner, a long-time boxing official, to be the UFC’s vice president.
There were no remarks made in terms of new coaches being hired or coaches being replaced. Larkin said those announcements will come at a later date. When asked about the possibility of hiring Randy Couture as a coach in the IFL, Larkin said that he would be interested but wouldn’t approach anything until all of the “dust” settles concerning Couture’s situation right now. Larkin also said that Couture is still under contract with the UFC so it wouldn’t be possible anyway.
The IFL will stay with a ring for next season, no plans to use a cage. The idea of eliminating the heavyweight division and adding a featherweight division is being discussed. No new news in terms of Kurt Angle signing with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is still with the IFL and will be ringside at the Grand Prix. Several IFL stars will be on hand at various locations throughout the city of Chicago to sign autographs today and tomorrow. Televised matchups for Saturday night will include Benji Radach vs Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki vs Bart Palaszewski, Vladimir Matyushenko vs Alex Schoenauer.
News and Notes
- The Nevada State Atheletic Commission has overturned Donald Cerrone’s Sept. 5 victory over Kenneth Alexander after he tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide.
- In a sit down with Yahoo! Sports, former PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva discussed a variety of subjects including steroids, Chuck Liddell, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and more.
Actually, they do test in Japan. I was tested before and after my fights in Japan. But if you are thinking of Mirko (Cro Cop) and Shogun as examples, Mirko may have lost because he has so many other things going on in his life, such as his duty in government, and his business. Shogun went through a lot of changes before he fought in the UFC. He changed his home, he changed his training, and he changed fighting organizations. I don’t know why they lost their fights in the UFC; only Shogun and Mirko understand the reasons why they lost.
- Sticking with Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Iole posted a mailbag article yesterday and in it he stated that non-UFC sources say that the contract Randy Couture signed before fighting Tim Sylvia was for four fights paying between $13-15 million.
Non-UFC sources say that the contract Couture negotiated and signed before his comeback fight against Tim Sylvia in March is for four fights and between $13 million and $15 million, which puts him behind only Chuck Liddell, at four fights and $17 million, in the UFC salary pecking order. Those numbers are believed to include percentages of pay-per-view money.
- In a recent interview with MMAWeekly, Chris Lytle spoke about his upcoming fight with Thiago Alves and also provided his thoughts on being labeled a “utility fighter”.
“(The UFC has) told me this, ‘Chris, we can call you at any time and you’re going to be in shape and we can put you in with anybody.’ It’s not like, no, this guy’s too tough for Chris,” said the Indiana native.
“At the same time, they’re trying to utilize me not towards my best interests at times. It’s probably not a good label, but if I had less skill, I wouldn’t have it. It really speaks to the level of my ability to fight.”
Sports Illustrated: Q & A with Chris Horodecki
MMAWeekly: Alan Belcher Version 2.0
The Fight Network: Familiar Territory
UFC: Patience is no virtue for Jason MacDonald
UFC: Words of Wisdom with Brandon Vera
Sherdog: Behind the Curtain: Zuffa’s Finances Come Into Focus