Jens Pulver. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
“How could I have a falling out? Fallen out with who? There is nobody. They’re all gone. There was Pat, but Pat is too busy trying to make cash, making a living. He ain’t coaching people. Everyone always thought Pat had a magical touch and was teaching us all these magical things. No he wasn’t. No. Never. Never ever. It was a great combination of things that left. Jeremy left, Matt left, Robbie left. Matt Pena left. Everybody grew up more or less. We weren’t there anymore. And that’s why the great experiment is over.”
—Former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver tells ugo.com that there was no falling out with Team Miletich but that everyone moved on and the experiment is over.
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.
It’s one thing to be a wrestler going into the sport of mixed martial arts. Throughout history it’s been shown that those with superior wrestling skills have been relatively successful. However it’s a different situation when you are a standout college wrestler and have been deemed by Pat Miletich himself to be the next great fighter in the featherweight division.
That’s the situation L.C. Davis finds himself in. It’s been a little more than a year since Davis quit his job as assistant wrestling coach at Pratt Community College in order to move to Bettendorf, Iowa and train at Miletich Fighting Systems full time. The move has paid off as three days from now, Davis will find himself fighting for a world title just 20 months into his professional career.
Davis is slated to take on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout Wagnney Fabiano for the IFL Featherweight Title at the promotion’s Grand Prix Finals this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The bout will be the first featherweight matchup in IFL history.
Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Davis doesn’t think so.
“There’s no added pressure going into this bout,” Davis said during a recent interview session. “I’ve been trying not to think about the fact that it’s for a belt too much and it’s worked pretty good so far. I’m just taking this fight like it’s just like any other.”
While Davis may be the superior wrestler in this bout, more talented on the ground than his opponent he is not. Fabiano is widely considered to be one of the top ground specialists in MMA today - all four of his wins in the IFL have come by way of submission.
“My game plan is going to be sprawl and brawl,” said Davis. “I’d like to keep it on the feet. I believe that I’m a more well-rounded fighter than he is and that’s where I can expose him. I’m not worried if the fight goes to the ground though since I feel that I’ll be prepared to hang with him there.”
Regardless of the outcome of the fight, the two will automatically be established as anchors of the new featherweight division. If victorious, Davis can expect to have a chance to defend the championship gold a couple of times in ‘08 due to the IFL’s revamped schedule for next season. None of that matters right now of course, the fight against Fabiano comes first.
“The key to this fight is my ability to adapt to any position,” stated Davis. “I’m confident that I’ll be able to do that. As long as I stick to my strategy and make smart decisions, I don’t see any reason why I won’t come away from this fight victorious.”
Davis is being sponsored for this fight by Premier Fighter. You can check out their selection of shirts, shorts, and hoodies at their official website.
The IFL will be changing in many ways in 2008 and we’re here to tell you all about it…
The promotion held a conference call yesterday afternoon to announce the new changes and answer any questions that the press might have had. IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and IFL Manager of Public Relations Jerry Milani were both on hand during the call.
Teams, Titles, and TV
The IFL will be switching from a team to a camp format meaning that instead of the Quad City Silverbacks and Portland Wolfpack, Miletich Fighting Systems and Team Quest will now be represented. Events will now feature teams putting three fighters in place to compete instead of five like in the past. This was done in order to create easier injury replacement situations.
Camps that are not under contract with the IFL will be permitted to compete. Team Punishment and Xtreme Couture are examples of this. Fighters from those camps can also compete for a title. Speaking of titles, each event will feature a minimum of eight fights - two title defenses and two matches between teams. Preliminary bouts are an option for each event also, especially for those that will be entering via the IFL Draft.
The IFL’s next event will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on February 29th. They currently have a deal in place with FOX Sports Net and are currently in discussions with MyNetworkTV. They are also in talks with other networks as well.
Updates on Frye, Rothwell, Rutten, Angle, and Gusmao
Don Frye will no longer be coaching with the IFL but will continue to do his “Dear Don” episodes as well as visiting with US troops overseas in conjunction with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is currently not with the IFL and is a free agent. Otto stated that while he’s sure that Rothwell will end up somewhere else, he hopes that he would consider a return in the future.
Bas Rutten will not be coaching in 2008 and will remain as the color commentator on broadcasts. There is no real news involving Kurt Angle except that Angle’s manager formally expressed his client’s interest in competing inside the confines of the IFL.
As far the Andre Gusmao situation goes, Gusmao and his agent misinterpreted his contract and attempted to strike a deal with the IFL. The IFL let the UFC know that they still had his rights and they retracted their offer. Otto and company are currently in talks with Gusmao and his representation during an exclusive negotiation period.
There was no official mention of plans to have another IFL Grand Prix. Both fighters with multi-fight deals and single-fight deals will be busy. No intent to include women in the fold anytime soon. The old IFL teams and logos will be done away with. Rosters will be announced after the new year. No indication of a formal set of standings for next season. Plans are currently to tame the travel schedule. Shorts will have an IFL logo and the logo of the camp on them. The IFL’s official “road map” is here. Sam Caplan has another excellent breakdown of everything here. Jarry Park has audio of the call here.
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.
Miletich Fighting Systems was profiled last night on ESPN’s newest program, E:60. The segment reviewed a normal day at Pat Miletich’s gym in Bettendorf, Iowa and showed certain fighters getting ready to compete in the IFL.
News and Notes
- MMA Junkie is reporting a lot of news lately…
The UFC has apparently signed former PRIDE, Shooto, and Pancrase veteran Akihiro Gono and has sent UFC welterweight Tamdan McCrory a contract proposing the fight according to McCrory’s manager:
“He’ll (be at) UFC 78 if he accepts the fight, which I assume he will considering he has fought top guys his whole career,” Ciotoli.
”(The UFC’s been) trying to get me on that card, being that I’m from the area and have a strong fan base in New Jersey,” McCrory told us last month.
Marvin Eastman has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Demian Maia at UFC 77 after undergoing eye surgery:
“I had a weak spot on my retina for a long time, and about two weeks ago, it tore a little bit,” Eastman said. “It felt like sleepy eye. I went in to check it out last Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., and I was in surgery by 7. It’s fixed now, and I’ve got to chill a month and can’t fight until November.“
No word as of yet on a replacement opponent for Eastman.
Chris Lytle may be heading over to the WEC for a possible title shot against WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit:
MMA fan favorite and “The Ultimate Fighter 4” welterweight runner-up Chris Lytle may be leaving the UFC for Zuffa LLC’s other fight promotion — the WEC — and may be in line for an immediate title shot.
In fact, a source close to current WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit (21-4) first contacted MMAjunkie.com about the possibility, saying UFC and WEC officials were discussing the potential title fight. However, the WEC recently folded a proposed November event into its Dec. 12 fight card, and as of now, the organization has far more fighters than it has fight slots.
A reliable source tell us that a Condit-Lytle fight would happen no sooner than February 2008 — if then — because of the backlog.
- Brazilian MMA website Tatame is reporting that former PRIDE star Ricardo Arona may currently be in contract talks with the UFC.
Hat tip to UFC Mania for the Arona link.
- So Matt Hamill has a torn ACL? He also fought Michael Bisping with that torn ACL? Read what Adam Morgan and 411Mania have to say about that.
- It seems that the UFC has took down UFC Takedown:
Late last week, Matt Cava of UFCtakedown.com was issued a Cease and Desist by Zuffa, LLC. He has been told to remove his website. They specifically nailed him for using UFC in his URL as well as broadcasting illegal fight videos. September 8th’s UFC 75: Champion v. Champion videos as well as a fight between Ricardo Arona and Quinton Jackson were specifically mentioned. As of today, UFCtakedown.com no longer exists. In the meantime, Matt has been able to secure MMAtakedown.net for the time being.
- Brigham Young University has banned Versus from the school’s channel selection, citing costs and the broadcasting of MMA as the reasons:
BYU has banned access to Versus on its campus cable, citing cost and content issues such as ultimate fighting.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for that one.
Luke Thomas, Sam Caplan, and Matt Cava recap EliteXC: Uprising and preview UFC 76.
Sherdog: Tale of Two Coaches
MMA Weekly: Catching up with Matt Lindland
Fight Opinion: Pro Elite pays big for KOTC & Cage Rage
Fightlinker: Kang forsakes America, may secretly be a communist
Bloody Elbow: How to Build a MMA Cage?
Houston Chronicle: Fitch gets his shot at UFC’s main stage
Daily Star: Dancing Iceman’s Hot Move
Chicago Sports: Keeping up with Montini’s Chase Beebe
HDNet Fights hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon to promote their new venture into the world of mixed martial arts as well as their inaugural event which will take place on October 13th at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. HDNet Fights officials eatured on the call were HDNet owner Mark Cuban and UFC and PRIDE veteran Guy Mezger. The fighters participating were Erik Paulson, Jeff Ford, Justin Eilers, Jason House, and Freddie Espiricueta.
Showtime hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon in preparation for the upcoming EliteXC: Uprising event scheduled to take place on September 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fighters featured on the call were ICON Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler, EliteXC Middleweight Champion Murlio Rua through the use of an interpreter, Jake Shields, and Gina Carano. Other officials participating in the call were EliteXC President Gary Shaw and ICON Sport President T. Jay Thompson.
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes and current ICON Sport Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler are set to leave Miletich Fighting Systems in Iowa to start their own gym in Granite City, Illinois.
MFS founder Pat Miletich confirmed the news on The Fight Network’s radio show earlier today.
“Matt’s been with me for almost a decade,” said Miletich on Fight Network Radio today. “We’ve had a lot of great years together. This is a natural progression for guys to eventually go out on their own.”
“I’m sure he’s had a lot of offers to do something like this and he got one close to home,” said Miletich. “I know it’s been tough on him driving up to Iowa all these years, spending the week up here and going home on weekends year after year.”
The gym will be named H.I.T (Hughes Intensive Training) and will officially open to the public in January of next year. Matt Pena and Rob Fiore are said to be two of the members of the gym’s staff. Various reports also have TUF 5 alumnus Corey Hill switching gyms to train with Hughes and Lawler as well.