Jim Miller landing a punch on Bart Palaszewski. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.
The International Fight League returned to the Izod Center in New Jersey tonight, presenting what may very well have been the deepest fight card in the promotion’s history. It turned out to be very exciting night of fights that included some massive knockouts along with a vicious submission toward the end of the night.
With the IFL just opening up the lower level of the Izod Center while curtaining the upper, it looked like a great venue. It was set up a bit differently than the last time the IFL was in town for the League semi-finals last August. And while the crowd ended up filling 2/3 of the bottom bowl, it was a good deal less than last year’s. The theme of the night within the crowd seemed to be cheering for the underdog, as each had some very vocal supporters in the crowd. To my happiness, I had the pleasure of sitting next to some extremely knowledgeable fans who really knew and appreciated the sport. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sit next to the guy 3 sections over screaming “use the elbows!”, something that is illegal in the IFL. I’d like to thank Drew and friends for their conversation and knowledge of the sport. On to the action!
Chris Horodecki and Shad Lierley weigh-in for an IFL event in June 2007. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.
The International Fight League earlier today announced details for their upcoming East Rutherford, NJ event, which will take place at the IZOD Center on April 4th.
Three title fights are scheduled to headline the card. IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko will make his first title defense against New Jersey native Jamal Patterson. Popular welterweight champion and Xtreme Couture product Jay Hieron will attempt to keep his belt around his waist when he goes up against former U.S. Marine Mark Miller.
Upstart Shad Lierley, who made headlines after going toe-to-toe with lightweight sensation Chris Horodecki last year, will drop down to the featherweight division in exchange for a shot against current title holder Wagnney Fabiano, who submitted L.C. Davis this past December to grab the vacant belt.
Horodecki is also expected to return to action at the event, currently against an opponent yet to be named.
The nine-fight card will feature matchups between four different camps. Fighters from Renzo Gracie’s Academy will take on athletes from Midwest Combat while American Top Team will make it’s IFL debut against martial artists from the renowned Miletich Fighting Systems.
“I like the local feel of this card,? said IFL Vice President Bas Rutten. “?In addition to three outstanding championship bouts, featuring fighters from New York and New Jersey, you have Renzo Gracie?‘s camp, which was the champion last year, Midwest Combat, which features our top fighters from the Chicago area, and great battles with the Miletich camp and American Top Team, who we are very excited to have on board.?”
Miletich fighters Rory Markham and Mike Ciesnolevicz will go up against American Top Team’s Emyr Bussade and Lew Polley respectively. L.C. Davis will also likely compete for Pat Miletich as well.
A lightweight clash between Deividas Taurosevicius and Bart ?Palaszewski is the only announced battle between Renzo Gracie’s Academy and Midwest Combat as of right now. Skilled welterweight Delson Heleno will also represent Renzo Gracie on the card.
Provided by IFL. Getty Images.
UNCASVILLE - Ryan ?“The Lion? Schultz” knocked out previously undefeated 20-year-old Chris ?“The Polish Hammer”? Horodecki, capping off an exciting night of action with Schultz winning the lightweight championship at the inaugural International Fight League World Grand Prix finals, held tonight in front of 5,731 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Four other championship fights also took place, including victories by Roy ?“Big Country” Nelson at heavyweight, Wagnney Fabiano at featherweight, Jay Hieron at welterweight, and Matt Horwich at middleweight.
The five championships were the most ever contested on one night in North American MMA history.
Schultz took control early in the first round and continued to pound Horodecki before the referee stepped in late in the round to stop the bout. Schultz had been named a late replacement in the title bout after injuries to Horodecki?‘s previous two opponents.
We will be going live at 7:30 PM EST with live results of the IFL World Grand Prix Finals which are taking place this evening at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
The event features three preliminary bouts and five title fights including a rematch between Ryan Schultz and lightweight phenom Chris Horodecki for the IFL Lightweight Title.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
Photos courtesy of the IFL.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s IFL Grand Prix Finals are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
Chris Horodecki (153 lbs) vs. Ryan Schultz (153 lbs)
Benji Radach (184 lbs) vs Matt Horwich (183 lbs)
Jay Hieron (168 lbs) vs. Delson Heleno (168 lbs)
Roy Nelson (258 lbs) vs. Antoine Jaoude (253 lbs)
L.C. Davis (143 lbs) vs. Wagnney Fabiano (144 lbs)
Marcello Salazar (180 lbs) vs. Alex Cook (180 lbs)
Brett Cooper (169 lbs) vs. Rory Markham (170 lbs)
Elias Rivera (181 lbs) vs. Tim Kennedy (186 lbs)
After earning a unanimous decision over Donnie Liles at the IFL World Grand Prix semifinals in November, Jay Hieron is now on the path to becoming the IFL’s first-ever welterweight champion.
However the only thing standing in Hieron’s way is Delson Heleno, who also was victorious at the Grand Prix semifinals last month and might be giving Hieron the biggest test of his MMA career thus far.
Hieron has acknowledged that quite he has quite the test coming up for him next weekend but it’s exactly the type of fight he wants to be in.
“I’ve fought a lot of tough fights,” Hieron said during a Monday teleconference. “He’s just another tough fight for me. I love these tough fights though. I’m really excited for this fight. After this it’s just about getting through this last hard week and then putting up game face on and getting out there.”
The matchup presents an interesting contrast of styles. Hieron has been a wrestling standout since high school while Heleno is widely known as one of the most talented jiu-jitsu practicioners out there today. While Hieron is more than capable of holding his own on the ground with Heleno, he’d like to try and keep the fight on the feet in this one.
“I think my striking is much better than his,” said Hieron. “That’s the plan, to keep it on the feet. If it goes to the ground I’ve been doing wrestling for years so I’ll be prepared for that as well. He’s a great fighter but I think he likes to force the takedown and I think that will play into my ability to keep things standing. Like I said, I’m more than prepared to go to the ground but I’d like to stay out of his element as much as possible.
Hieron’s standup is the one thing that many followers of MMA haven’t seen very much. An abnormally high percentage of Hieron’s fights have ended up going to the ground. Hieron hopes to break that trend on December 29th. As one of Hieron’s teammates at Xtreme Couture, Chris Horodecki attests that Hieron’s striking is a secret that will surprise a lot of people when he finally gets the opportunity to show it.
“I’ve been working on my striking constantly since I started doing mixed martial arts,” said Hieron. “That was the first thing that I worked on when I came into the sport. I feel my striking is just as good as anyone in the IFL, I just haven’t had a chance to show it since so many of my fights have ended up going to the ground.”
The IFL World Grand Prix Finals are scheduled to take place next Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
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.
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)
Pat Healy has been forced to pull out of this weekend’s IFL Grand Prix after suffering an elbow injury during a training session over the weekend. Healy was slated to face Jay Hieron in the opening round of the welterweight portion of the tournament.
Healy made the announcement this morning on TAGG Radio.
“I was training over the weekend and I dislocated my elbow,” said Healy.“I’m not sure if there is any further damage though. I’m going to go for an MRI this week to see if there are any torn or strained tendons. If there are, I’m going to need surgery. It would probably be a quicker recovery for me if I did have to have surgery but it’s looking like two months recovery time as of right now.”
Healy mentioned that Donnie Liles will most likely take his place in the Grand Prix.