Ellenberger-Healy Set to Clash at IFL Feb Show

Jake Ellenberger grapples with Zach Light at the tapings for BodogFight: Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of BodogFight.

Highly touted Team Quest prospect Jake Ellenberger will take on Lion’s Den veteran Pat Healy in a welterweight bout at the International Fight League’s first scheduled event in 2008.

The bout, which was confirmed by the IFL earlier today, will take place at the promotion’s “New Blood New Battles” event on February 29th, which will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The fight rounds out a card that features a total of eight fights, including three championship contests.

Ellenberger is coming off of an emphatic knockout win over Jose Landi-Jons at an Extreme Fighting Challenge event in November. However two of Ellenberger’s career losses have come under the IFL banner. The former middleweight also defeated Ben Uker at the IFL Championship Finals in December of 2006.

Healy has gone 2-1 since joining the ranks of the IFL early last year. A knockout loss to dangerous striker Rory Markham has been sandwiched between decision wins over Ray Steinbeiss and Mike Guymon respectively.

HDNet to Televise First Three IFL Events of ‘08

Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.

NEW YORK - The International Fight League and HDNet Fights today announced an agreement to televise the first three IFL events of 2008 live, beginning with the Friday, February 29 card from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

HDNet Fights will also air the April 4 card live from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and the May 16 event from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Each two hour show will carry a minimum of five of the eight fights on the card, including no fewer than two championship fights. This is the latest partnership between the IFL and HDNet, which began with the December 29, 2007, IFL Championship event from Mohegan Sun.

?“We are very pleased to be able to offer our fans around the country these next three events live and in HD,?” said IFL President and CEO Jay Larkin. ?The quality of our broadcasts is second to none, highlighting the outstanding athletes and exciting bouts as we start 2008 in Las Vegas, live on HDNet.?”

?“The first event we did with the IFL was a great success, and we are very pleased to be able to expand that relationship into the first quarter of 2008,? said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. ?HDNet Fights Presents: The IFL is a fantastic addition to MMA action on HDNet.?”

The Feb. 29 card will be the first in the IFL?‘s new camp vs. camp format, with Ken Shamrock?s’ Lion?s Den meeting Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest, and Mario Sperry?‘s World Class Fight Center against Xtreme Couture. The night will also feature three individual championship defenses, with lightweight titleholder Ryan Schultz, who defeated previously unbeaten Chris Horodecki for the belt, meeting John Gunderson, middleweight champ Matt Horwich, a surprise winner over Benji Radach, defending his crown against Ryan McGivern of Miletich Fighting Systems, and heavyweight champ and Las Vegas native Roy Nelson battling Fabiano Scherner. The two hour show will air live on HDNet at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.

McGivern Likely to Replace Kennedy in Feb

Ryan McGivern grapples with Fabio Leopoldo at an IFL event in September 2007. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.

Tim Kennedy will reportedly bow out of his scheduled International Fight League middleweight title bout against current champion Matt Horwich and will likely be replaced by Miletich Fighting Systems middleweight Ryan McGivern.

The fight is slated to happen at the IFL’s “New Blood New Battles” event on February 29th, which will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The news comes from Five Ounces of Pain, who also report that the IFL is expected to make a formal announcement concerning the change at some point this week.

McGivern fought and defeated Horwich by unanimous decision at the IFL Championship Finals in December 2006. While an official reason as to why Kennedy will be unable to compete at the event, it is speculated that he is tied in to a military commitment.

IFL Names Bas Rutten Vice President

NEW YORK - The International Fight League today announced the latest step in its reorganization heading into the 2008 season, naming Mixed Martial Arts legend Sebastian ‘?Bas’? Rutten to the newly-created position of Vice President, Fighter Operations.

Photo courtesy of IFL.

Rutten, who has been with the IFL since its inception as a coach and commentator, will oversee the contact between the IFL, its current athletes and other athletes in the sport, as well as working to create potential future matchups and cards both internally and with other organizations. He will report directly to IFL CEO Jay Larkin.

The 42 year old Dutchman competed professionally for over 20 years in various MMA disciplines, and was a three time champion in Pancrase (the Japanese precursor to what is now MMA) as well as holding the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title.

He became interested in martial arts when he was 14 after seeing the Bruce Lee classic film ?Enter the Dragon,? and began taking up Tae Kwon Do and other forms of karate. He had had skin problems and asthma as a youngster in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and martial arts became an excellent outlet for his growing athletic ability.

His professional career began with Pancrase, the upstart Japanese fighting organization in 1993 and he rose through the ranks to take his first ?King of Pancrase? title in 1995, defeating Minoru Suzuki. He defended the title twice and ended his Pancrase career with 19 straight wins.

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IFL Unveils New Logo for 2008 Season

Above is the International Fight League’s new logo for the upcoming 2008 season.

NEW YORK - The International Fight League, a leader in the growing sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), today unveiled the new visual identity of its corporate brand.

The new logo is a reflection of the IFL?s exciting style of MMA action as the league enters its second full season of competition. The design incorporates the traditional gloved fist coming towards the viewer from between forward-slanted ?IFL? initials in front of a silver oval plate, utilizing the league?s new color scheme of deep red, silver and black.

?“The IFL has always showcased the top up-and-coming athletes, coached by the legends of MMA”,? said Jay Larkin, IFL CEO and President. ?“Our new identity is part of the league?s renewed commitment to putting together the best matchups to a wide, burgeoning audience of fans worldwide.?”

The revised IFL logo will appear in marketing materials and branding opportunities as well as on an array of merchandise available to fans attending events as well as through IFL.tv, the league’?s official website, which will be relaunched to reflect the new branding.

Larkin also announced that the IFL has also eliminated the league-created team logos and will instead use branding of the camps led by its coaches, such as Miletich Fighting Systems, Xtreme Couture, Team Quest and the Renzo Gracie Academy.

Report: Matyushenko-Patterson Proposed

Vladimir Matyushenko throws a left hand at Tim Boetsch. Photo provided by IFL. Getty Images.

IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko may defend his title for the first time against jiu-jitsu stylist Jamal Patterson when the IFL travels to New Jersey for an event on April 4th.

The news comes from Brian Knapp of The Fight Network who confirmed the possibility with representatives from the IFL.

Matyushenko won the IFL light heavyweight belt this past October when he defeated Alex Schoenauer by unanimous decision in the only bout included in the light heavyweight portion of the IFL Grand Prix. “The Janitor” remains undefeated in the IFL, owning wins over Tim Boetsch, Aaron Stark, Justin Levens, and Dwayne Compton as well.

Patterson has actually fought at heavyweight and middleweight inside the confines of the IFL before finally settling at 205 lbs. All of Patterson’s career fights have come within the IFL. He owns wins over Chris Baten, Alex Schoenauer, and Reese Andy. He also defeated current IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich twice.

UFC Files Lawsuit Against Randy Couture

Dana White congratulates Randy Couture after his win over Pedro Rizzo at UFC 34. Photo by Joshua Hedges.

The feud between Randy Couture and the UFC has now gone to a completely different level…

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that lawyers hired by Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Clark County District Court yesterday, citing that Couture has made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management.

They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the latest contract he signed with the company in December of 2006.

Basically the lawsuit was filed because Randy’s Xtreme Couture gym will be fielding a team that will compete at the IFL’s next event in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29th. The UFC is claiming that Randy’s gym being involved with the IFL is a violation of his contract with the UFC. Will the claim hold up in court? We’ll just have to wait and see.

The lawsuit will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent Couture from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.

According to UFC president Dana White, the toughest thing about all of this is the fact that he and Couture have been friends for a long time:

“What’s really tough for me, to be honest, is we have been friends for a very long time,” White said. “The hard part is that he is not living up to his obligations. Captain America is not keeping his word. I expect Randy to honor the obligations in his contract that he signed (a year ago). I tried to resolve it by talking to this guy that I’ve had a relationship with for eight years and was unsuccessful. Now this thing’s in the hands of the justice system.”

Angle Gives His Take on IFL Situation

Well it seems that we won’t be seeing Kurt Angle competing in the IFL anytime soon now…

Jarry Park has a short, but must read interview with Angle where he clears up the rumors that he had pulled out of a scheduled fight against Ken Shamrock at an IFL event last September:

A couple of weeks ago on HDNet’s Inside MMA, Ken Shamrock and Kurt Otto had some not-so-flattering things to say about Jarry Parker (catchy, eh?) Kurt Angle’s interest in mixed martial arts. Basically, Otto said that after Angle sat in the front row at an IFL event in September 2007 he got cold feet and decided against fighting Shamrock at an IFL event. Shamrock then implied that Angle was scared to go toe-to-toe with “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

“That’s because they tried to force a fight with me and Ken in two and a half months. (It’s) not enough time to take off from TNA and train for a fight. They rushed it…I would have never been ready. They didn’t care. He just wanted PPV buys.”

At this point it seems that the possibility of Angle and the IFL hooking up are slim to none. I’m kind of wondering if we’ll see Angle ever fight MMA at all. From what he’s said in the past he wants to take at least a year to train and learn before he competes. Well his TNA schedule doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all and he’s not getting any older. Maybe Brock Lesnar being successful would be enough to entice him to throw his hat back into the ring.

Three Title Fights Headline IFL in Vegas

NEW YORK - IFL titleholders Matt Horwich, Roy Nelson and Ryan Schultz will defend their belts when the International Fight League opens its 2008 schedule with an eight-bout card at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29.

In addition to the three Championship bouts, team competition will feature Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest vs. Ken Shamrock?‘s Lions Den and Team Xtreme Couture vs. Mario Sperry?‘s MMA Top Team.

Horwich, who claimed the middleweight title with a victory over Benji Radach at the IFL World Grand Prix on December 29, will defend his crown against Tim Kennedy who won all three of his IFL matchups in 2007 with first or second-round finishes.

Nelson, who knocked out Antoine Jaoude to win the heavyweight crown, will take on IFL newcomer Fabiano Scherner, who trains with Lindland at Team Quest. Schultz, whose lightweight victory over Chris Horodecki raised eyebrows in the entire MMA community, makes the first defense of his lightweight belt against John Gunderson, who competes for the Lions Den.

?“This card is a good example of how the flexibility of our new format makes for great matchups,? said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. ?Fans will get to see three Championship bouts, plus some exciting team competition feeding some of our upcoming title fights.?”

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CKA: Jan 7, 2008

NBC has released a nice video introducing each of the women American Gladiators, including Gina Carano. She was pretty impressive last night in my opinion and I’m sure everyone got a kick out of her pulling guard during the “Pyramid” event. Another episode is on this evening in it’s normal time slot at 8:00 PM EST on NBC.

Cage Potato says that last night’s episode was terrible. I think it was bad but not that bad, with a few changes it’ll be better.

Catching up…

Here’s a little catch-up on some of the things that we may have missed over the weekend:

Bloody Elbow: Vince McMahon and the UFC
Houston Chronicle: Henderson supremely confident prepping for Silva
MMA Weekly: UFC Offers Machida Fight With Ortiz
TKO Xtreme: Xtreme Couture Coming to Toronto
Sherdog: Hardy Headed for U.S. in ‘08
MMA Junkie: Heath Herring Offered UFC 82 Fight with Cheick Kongo
Five Ounces of Pain: Xtreme Couture to field team at IFL opener on Feb. 29
Sam Caplan: Baroni talks career options and steroids
Fight Opinion: He’s back… Bob Meyrowitz

Our rumors page will be updated as soon as possible.

Matyushenko and Palaszewski Move to Chicago IFL Team

IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko and popular lightweight Bart Palaszewski have opted to leave their respective teams and join the new Chicago franchise in the IFL according to The Fight Network:

According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers, and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2), and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Los Angeles Sabres team.

Palaszewski said the team will train at Sean Bormet’s Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Naperville, home of Arlovski and Team Pitbull. Overtime’s coaching staff is comprised of wrestling standouts Bormet, Kerry Boumans, and John Kading, along with boxing trainer Mike Garcia and jiu-jitsu specialist Dino Costeas.

I thought it was the Tokyo Sabres and the Los Angeles Anacondas but whatever…

Pancrase Releases Partial Card for Jan 30 Event

Panrcrase has announced four scheduled bouts for the first event on it’s 2008 Shining Tour. The main event will feature Katsuya Inoue defending his welterweight King of Pancrase title against Satoru Kitaoka in the third career fight between the two.

The remainder of the card:

Daisuke Hanazawa vs. Wataru Takahashi
Shinsuke Shoji vs. Yuichi Ikari
Yuki Yamasawa vs. Seiya Kawahara

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
1-3 PM EST - The Savage Dog Show
3-5 PM EST - The Beatdown
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio

Sherdog debuted two new radio shows yesterday - MMA Sunday School with Scott Holmes and Rodney Dean; Gross Point Blank with site editor Josh Gross. Both will be airing regularly on Sundays.

Fightlinker is also still taking e-mailed questions until 6:00 PM EST today for their usual “mailbag” show that will go up later tonight.

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