The Wolfpack, coached by Matt Lindland and based in Portland, Oregon, and Pitbulls, coached by Renzo Gracie and based in New York, won their 2007 International Fight League debuts in front of 5,057 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. UFC veteran Robbie Lawler defeated Brazilian upstart Eduardo Pamplona by TKO in the Superfight which followed the team competition.
The Wolfpack topped the Dragons, coached by Carlos Newton, 3-2, while the Pitbulls subdued the Red Bears, trained by Igor Zinoviev, by a 4-1 margin. The victory moved the Pitbulls into first place after the first round of IFL competition.
The Atlanta card marked the first event in the Southwest for the IFL , the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, and is part of the full 11-event IFL 2007 schedule, the most comprehensive advance schedule in the history of fight sports.
Waggney Fabiano started the Dragons off on the right foot with a first-round choke-out of fellow lightweight Ian Loveland. The light heavyweights were up next, with John Krohn evening the score by out-pointing Wojtek Kaszowski via unanimous decision. Middleweight Matt Horwich put the Wolfpack ahead by submitting Brent Beauparlant with a kimura in the second round. Welterweight Mike Dolce secured the victory for the Wolfpack by knocking out local product Jim Abrille with a spectacular flurry of shots just 19 seconds into the first round. Rafael Feijao won the heavyweight matchup, scoring a second-round TKO of Devin Cole for the final 3-2 count.
Next, Erik Owings grounded-and-pounded Peter Kaljevic before choking out his lightweight opponent to stake the Pitbulls to a 1-0 advantage against the Red Bears. Delson Heleno made it 2-0 in favor of the Pitbulls with a convincing unanimous decision over Mark Millerw in the welterweight bout. Then, middleweight Fabio Leopoldo took out Chris Albandia via submission in the first round to clinch the Pitbulls’ win. Tim Kennedy got the Red Bears on the board with a solid triumph over Dante Rivera, via submission in the second round. Bryan Vetell pushed the final margin to 4-1 with a heavyweight triumph over Mo Fowzi, gaining the first-round submission by keylock.
The IFL is the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league. Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 have completed the first of their three respective regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15.
The IFL next moves to The Forum in Los Angeles, where the Condors, coached by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Marco Ruas, take on the Sabres, coached by Japanese world-class trainer and bodybuilder Ken Yasuda, and the Razorclaws, coached by MMA champion Frank Shamrock, battle the Anacondas (Los Angeles), coached by MMA champion Bas Rutten.
The 10 venues for the 2007 season will scale to between 7,000 and 13,000 seats, which has been consistent with the IFL’s plan of managed growth.