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.?”
The rest of the card includes several matchups between top IFL athletes vying for spots in future title bouts. Ian Loveland of Team Quest will take on Dennis Davis of MMA Top Team, with the winner possibly earning a title bout in the featherweight division; the crown is currently held by Wagnney Fabiano. Lion’s Den? member Pat Healy will take on a Team Quest member in a welterweight matchup that may determine a future title bout at 170 lbs. (Team Xtreme Couture?s Jay Hieron of Las Vegas holds the belt at present).
Additionally, Marcello Salazar will represent MMA Top Team at 170 lbs. against an opponent to be determined, and Radach will compete for Xtreme Couture in a middleweight bout.
One other matchup will also be contested, athletes TBD.