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August 28, 2007

UFC's Din Thomas discusses upcoming fight against Kenny Florian

UFC veteran Din Thomas takes on Kenny Florian Sept. 19 at UFC Fight Night.  The lightweight match could play a very pivotal role in who contends for the title if Sean Sherk's appeal fails and he is stripped of the belt.

MMA Madness writer Ryan McKinnell interviewed Thomas a couple of weeks ago in advance of this fight.  It was a wide-ranging interview that covered a number of topics including Thomas' fight against Florian.

When asked if he felt he deserved a title shot if he wins this fight, Thomas responded by saying:

Definitely. You know, I have been hearing all this other nonsense about Tyson Griffin getting in line, and Thiago Tavares. And I’m just thinking, man, these guys are just getting here, you know what I’m saying? What have they done? I’ve been with the UFC since 2001 and I have those wins over the guys you just said. I’m 3-0 in my last current run and I have a win over the current champ Matt Serra. Sorry Matt, had to say it! But you know, it’s the truth, it’s a fact. I mean he just fought for the belt a couple months ago, you know? If I win this coming fight, how can you deny me?

For the full interview, click here.

Posted by at 9:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

August 26, 2007

Exclusive video interview with UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra

Saturday afternoon, UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra was in town to do a three-hour seminar at the Ground Control Academy in Canton.  There were an estimated 45 students who paid between $100 to $125 to learn from the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt.  I took the opportunity to head down to Ground Control and conducted a video interview with Serra.  Serra touched on a number of subjects including his upcoming title defense against Matt Hughes, his thoughts on Hughes as a person and his role as a coach in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=68

 

Posted by at 11:14 PM | | Comments (0)
        

UFC 74 Recap: Please forgive me, Randy

Going into UFC 74, I eagerly anticipated what I believed to be a very good card with great main event fights, as well as depth top to bottom. And, I am happy to say, the night of fights did not disappoint.  Yet, despite the fantastic action, the evening was a bittersweet one for me.

Why?

Because for the second time this year, I doubted Randy Couture and with no animosity but only consummate professionalism he proved me and all the other doubters wrong yet again.  For the second time this year, I predicted Couture would succumb to a younger opponent, who on paper appeared to have all the physical tools to defeat him.  His opponent last night, Gabriel Gonzaga, came in fresh off a devastating victory over Mirko Cro Cop in which Gonzaga showed all-around skills on the ground and standing up.

But, Couture has been in the game a long time and he showed again last night at age 44 why he is a UFC Hall-of-Famer.  Couture showed that there is no measure for heart, for intelligence, and for proper gameplanning.  He showed that age does not have to be a defining number. 

In fact, Couture looked like the quicker man last night with his punches.  And, despite being almost 25 pounds lighter than his opponent, Couture showed amazing strength with his slam that apparently inflicted the deep gash on Gonzaga's nose.  And, Couture rarely allowed Gonzaga the range he needed to unleash his arsenal of punches and kicks -- instead Couture kept the fight in close with his dirty boxing tactics. 

So with this performance, how can anyone ever doubt Couture again?  I, for one, have seen enough of Couture this year in the heavyweight division to say that I won't be picking against him ever again.  From now on, let his opponents prove me wrong.  Last night is the last time Couture will do that to me.

With that, I say bring on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, bring on Andrei Arlovski, bring on Brandon Vera, bring on Mirko Cro Cop.  And yes, bring on Fedor Emelianenko.

I've got Couture in every one of those matches...

What else I learned last night:

- Georges St. Pierre looked very good against Josh Koscheck and he looked like he had a gameplan that he followed to a T.  From beginning to end, St. Pierre made it clear that his goal was to take Koscheck to the ground and work him from the top position.  St. Pierre used what many thought was his strength coming in -- his striking -- to set up his takedowns.  St. Pierre almost pulled off a kimura to submit Koscheck as well.  Despite his wrestling background, Koscheck had no answers for GSP.  I would say one more fight and GSP is ready for another title shot...

- Patrick Cote started off the pay-per-view portion of the card with a stunning victory over Kendall Grove.  Cote landed a solid punch to the side of Grove's head and that pretty much ended the fight as the Canadian finished the Hawaiian on the ground.  This victory was huge for Cote who came into the fight 1-4 in UFC.  For Grove, this result is a step back for him, but in MMA losses are part of the game.  How Grove comes back from this loss will do much to define him as a fighter.

- Roger Huerta also looked good in yet another exciting lightweight fight against Alberto Crane.  Huerta wore down Crane over the course of the fight before finally stopping him in the third round.  Still, give Crane credit for seemingly being one mistake away the entire night from a submission victory.  I believe Crane showed a lot in his UFC debut and could make some waves in a deep division.  While Joe Stevenson looked good against Kurt Pellegrino, I think Huerta moved ahead in the quest for a shot at a potentially vacated lightweight title. 

- Thales Leites'  armbar submission of a game Ryan Jensen was a thing of beauty.  With the victory, Leites has now run off three straight UFC wins.  Couple that with Grove's loss and Leites could be moving himself into position to challenge the top of a fairly thin middleweight division. 

Posted by at 1:54 PM | | Comments (4)
        

August 25, 2007

Pre-UFC 74 video footage

MMA Madness writer Ryan McKinnell has been in Las Vegas all week covering UFC 74 for MMA Madness.  And, he's gotten some great video interviews for the site.  Check them out as you prepare for tonight's event:

Georges St. Pierre: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=56

Josh Koscheck: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=57

Kendall Grove: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=58

Roger Huerta: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=59

Alberto Crane: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=60

Randy Couture training: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=61

Randy Couture's trainer Shawn Tompkins: http://mmamadness.com/insight.html?newsitem_id=62

 

Posted by at 1:08 PM | | Comments (0)
        

August 24, 2007

UFC 74 preview

After a long layoff, UFC is back with another pay-per-view event this Saturday with UFC 74: Respect.  The headlines clearly belong to the main event fight for the UFC heavyweight title between champion Randy Couture and challenger Gabriel Gonzaga.  However, there are a number of other intriguing fights on the card including the welterweight fight between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck.  Here is my preview of the event.

Who will walk out of UFC 74 with the heavyweight title?

Randy Couture made a surprise comeback to UFC earlier this year, jumping back to the heavyweight division and then dominating Tim Sylvia for five rounds to win the title.  Couture has had an inconsistent career but he is best when he is underestimated.  Very few picked him to defeat Sylvia and the same can be said this time around.  However, he is a legend and UFC Hall-of-Famer and the fans will be in his corner.

While Couture is the titleholder, Gabriel Gonzaga is the betting man's favorite in this fight.  Gonzaga comes in with a sparkling 4-0 UFC record including his memorable deconstruction of former PRIDE superstar Mirko Cro Cop.  While fans may remember Gonzaga's kick that knocked Cro Cop instantly unconscious, don't forget that Gonzaga was dominating with his ground-and-pound before the referee mysteriously stood the two fighters up just before his kick. Gonzaga apparently has everything -- great ground skills and great striking.  The only thing he doesn't have is Couture's fan appeal or name recognition.  I believe after UFC 74, everyone will know who Gonzaga is.  To recognize him, all fans will have to do is look for the belt around his waist.

Georges St. Pierre returns to action after losing his belt

Georges St. Pierre's loss to Matt Serra at UFC 69 to lose in his first title defense was nothing short of stunning.  Whether St. Pierre didn't take the fight seriously enough, train hard or long enough, or was injured, most fans could not have predicted such a swift and decisive loss by UFC's golden boy.  Serra is known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so the manner of St. Pierre's loss was even more stunning.

St. Pierre has a history of pulling out of fights because of injury and some have questioned his mental toughness.  There is no questioning his physical tools.  But, who will we see at UFC 74 this weekend?  The man who thoroughly dominated Matt Hughes to capture the title at UFC 65 or the man who looked lost in losing the title against Serra?  This fight will be a test of where St. Pierre is as a fighter more than what his opponent, Josh Koscheck, will do.

Koscheck has earned a bad reputation from the fans for his controversial statements in the past and his perceived boring style of fighting.  However, there is no doubt that the former collegiate wrestling champ is a superb athlete himself and that the former TUF fighter is a rising star in the welterweight division.  Koscheck has continued to add to his arsenal and fought a smart fight in defeating rival Diego Sanchez in his last fight at UFC 69. 

This match will feature an interesting contrast in styles between the striking St. Pierre and the wrestler Koscheck.  I believe St. Pierre when he says he's a new fighter after his loss to Serra.  And I believe he badly wants to atone for his embarrassing loss at UFC 69.  Unfortunately for Koscheck, I believe St. Pierre will bring the complete package -- physical and mental -- to UFC 74 and win an exciting back-and-forth fight between the two.

Who else should we be watching?

This card has a number of notable names.  As UFC continues to gobble up the best fighters in the world, these cards should be the norm.  So, here are some other names to look out for on Saturday:

Roger Huerta and Joe Stevenson - These are two rising lightweight fighters who won't face each other on Saturday.  In a division that is in upheaval after champion Sean Sherk's positive drug test at his UFC 73 title defense, a number of fighters can make a claim to legitimate title shots if the title is vacated.  These two are right in the mix for that title shot.  Huerta takes on UFC newcomer Alberto Crane while Stevenson takes on Kurt Pellegrino.  Much about the lightweight picture will be clarified by these two fights.

Kendall Grove - The TUF 3 champ, Grove has been making steady progress in the UFC middleweight division.  With long arms and long legs, he is a difficult matchup for any fighter in his division.  With a win against Cote, who has a 1-4 UFC record, Grove will position himself on the cusp of the top of the division that features Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Yushin Okami, and Jason MacDonald.

Frank Mir and Renato Sobral - These two fighters make the list of those to watch for different reasons from everyone else on the list.  They are on the list because they are one-time UFC stars who have struggled mightily in the last year.  The former UFC heavyweight champ Mir has been unable to regain his old form.  His last fight was a UFC 65 loss to Brandon Vera last year.  While his UFC 74 opponent -- Antoni Hardonk -- is a relative newcomer with a 1-1 UFC record, what does Mir have left in the tank?  I think we will find out this Saturday in a fight he should win.

Sobral is coming off two straight losses in the UFC light heavyweight division and really needs this fight to remain a legitimate pay-per-view fighter in what is an increasingly strong division.  His opponent this Saturday is no slouch -- David Heath is 2-1 in UFC and while his resume is not as impressive as Sobral's, this fight could be a tough one for Sobral.  Will Sobral be able to break out of his slump and return to the form that earned him a title shot last year?  We will learn a lot this weekend.

For the entire UFC 74 card, go to UFC.com.

Posted by at 2:49 PM | | Comments (13)
        

August 19, 2007

Matt Serra coming to Baltimore next weekend

I received word a couple of days ago from Ground Control co-owner John Rallo that UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra will be visiting Baltimore next weekend.  Serra will be in town to give a seminar at Ground Control's training facility in Canton.  The seminar is from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, and will cover MMA as well as no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

According to Rallo, Serra will be bringing one of his black belts with him and will be assisted by Tom Muller.  According to the Ground Control Web site, the cost of the seminar is $100 for members.  For non-members, the cost is $125.

Rallo says he and Serra have known each other since Rallo began training with Renzo Gracie in 1999, and have remained good friends since.

Posted by at 1:52 PM | | Comments (0)
        

August 18, 2007

Silva and Vera sign with UFC to cap off big week

As many of you may be finding out, the big news in MMA Friday was the signing of former PRIDE superstar Wanderlei Silva by UFC president Dana White.  Silva (a.k.a. "The Axe Murderer") has been a force in MMA for close to a decade and is PRIDE's former light heavyweight champ.  He is currently on a two-match losing streak but his opponents in those losses -- Mirko Cro Cop and Dan Henderson -- are no slouches.

This signing sets up the much-anticipated and oft-rumored fight between Chuck Liddell and Silva.  While this would have been a better fight mid-2006 when both held their respective belts, it is still a great match.  Look for this fight to take place towards the end of this year, possibly at UFC's last event of the year on December 29.

Click here for UFC.com's report on the Silva signing.

In addition, earlier this week UFC announced the re-signing of Brandon Vera to the promotion.  Vera is the much-ballyhooed up-and-coming heavyweight fighter who hasn't fought since defeating Frank Mir at UFC 65 last November.

Vera is unbeaten in UFC competition and began his training at the local MMA gym run by Lloyd Irvin.  While the UFC heavyweight division is stacked now, unlike when Vera last fought, look for him to make waves with his exciting well-rounded fighting style and sparkling personality.

White has said that Vera's first fight will probably come against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia later this year.

For more on Vera's signing, click here.

And, finally UFC held its UFC 74 conference call on Thursday.  MMA Madness writer Ben Lipov outlines the key points from that call in this article.

Posted by at 10:55 AM | | Comments (1)
        

August 11, 2007

MMA rankings galore

With the explosion of MMA in the mainstream media in the last year or so, it's no surprise that there are now an abundance of MMA ranking polls out there trying to get a grasp of who the best fighters in the sport are.

I'm fortunate enough to have been invited to be on the panel of three such rankings.  Each one has its own take on which fighters to rank and how to rank them.  Each ranking also comes out at various intervals.  In the future, I will alert you when a new ranking comes out and if there is demand, I may even reveal my own ballot.

Check them out:

1) Over at Yahoo! Sports, Dave Doyle has brought in some of the true heavyweight MMA writers from throughout the country for a a top 10 pound-for-pound ranking.  I didn't have time to submit my ballot for the debut rankings last month, but here is what the panel came up with.  This is a monthly poll.

2) I'm also a voter at the popular UFC blog, UFCMania.com.  This poll ranks the top five fighters in each of the five UFC weight classes.  These rankings come out approximately every month.  Here are the latest rankings.

3) Another comprehensive ranking system can be found at TopFighterStandings.com.  I've admittedly fallen off in activity level with this poll in recent months, but it's nicely done.  These polls rank the top 10 fighters in each of the weight classes in each of the major MMA leagues.  These rankings come out after every major MMA event.

Posted by at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
        

August 5, 2007

WEC live tonight on Versus

World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) is holding its second live event on the Versus network tonight.  The program begins airing at 9 p.m. EST.  There are a number of good matches on the card of this Zuffa-owned promotion, but without a doubt, the two title matches that are most intriguing.  The main event features the WEC Welterweight title between Brock Larson and titleholder Carlos Condit.  Another feature match takes place between PRIDE veteran Paulo Filho and Joe Doerksen for the vacant WEC middleweight title.

From a WEC press release, here are some quotes from Condit and Larson at the weigh-ins yesterday as well as all the fighter weights:

Condit: “(He’s) a tough dude. I plan on knocking Brock Larson’s [rear end] out.”

Larson: “I trained to go the distance.  Lots of cardio, there’s a chance it’s going five five-minute rounds.”

WEC welterweight title: Carlos Condit - 170 vs. Brock Larson - 168.5

Vacant WEC middleweight title: Paulo Filho - 184.5 vs. Joe Doerksen - 185

Featherweights: Jeff Curran - 145 vs. Stephen Ledbetter - 146

Lightweights: Sherron Leggett - 156 vs. Jamie Varner - 156

Middleweights: Fernando Gonzalez - 185 vs. Hiromitsu Miura - 184.5

Middleweights: Logan Clark - 185 vs. Eric Schambari - 183.5

Bantamweights: Justin Robbins - 135 vs. Antonio Banuelos - 136

Light Heavyweights: Steve Cantwell - 205 vs. Justin McElfresh - 206.5 (McElfresh was given one hour to lose a half-pound)

Welterweights: Blas Avena - 169.5 vs. Tiki Ghosn - 172 (Ghosn cut one pound to get to 171 after first trip to scale)

For more information on the card, head over to WEC's Web site.

If you can't make it to a TV for the event, head over to MMA Madness, where Jeff Hamlin will be live-blogging the event beginning at 9 PM EST.

Posted by at 1:01 PM | | Comments (0)
        

August 4, 2007

Thoughts on IFL team semifinals

With the Quad City Silverbacks and New York Pitbulls advancing to next month's finals after winning their semifinal matches on Thursday, here are some of my thoughts on what took place at the Meadowlands.

1) Ben Rothwell is a heavyweight star in the making

Even with IFL's rigorous fight schedule, Ben Rothwell has dominated his competition, winning six of seven of his IFL fights by stoppage, including two by submission.  Rothwell is at his most impressive standing up, but he has an underrated ground game.  On Thursday, Rothwell took 13 seconds to finish off Krzysztof Soszynski.  It was vintage Rothwell.  The question is, how long can IFL hold on to Rothwell before promotions such as UFC and EliteXC dangle money and fame in his face?  And, will we ever get to see a fight between Rothwell and fellow Miletich stable mate Tim Sylvia?

2) Submission of the night

Submission of the night is easily earned by Dan Miller.  Miller defeated Dave Phillips with a guillotine choke that left Phillips unconscious standing up.  When the ref stopped the match and pulled Miller off Phillips, Phillips' body collapsed to the mat.

3) The finals will feature a marquee matchup of two of IFL's model teams

New York and Quad City are teams based around two very strong MMA camps.  New York's squad is centered around coach Renzo Gracie's jiu-jitsu academy in New York City, while Quad City's squad is based on coach Pat Miletich's Bettendorf, Iowa camp.  Is it any wonder that two teams with such strong roots and large academies full of superior MMA athletes are in the finals?  I don't believe it's any coincidence.  As IFL grows, these two teams -- along with a couple of other teams including Portland Wolfpack -- will serve as templates for future successful teams.

And, there was no doubt who the home team was at the Meadowlands -- fans were most energized for the Pitbulls' matchup against the Tokyo Sabres.

4) The IFL's team-based model has a lot of potential with need for a couple of tweaks

I don't know how the promotion can get around this, but after both Quad City and New York went up 3-0 in their respective best-of-five matches, fans lost interest in the remaining two matches.  In fact, most fans had left the arena by the time the final New York-Tokyo match was over.

Hopefully, the introduction of the individual grand prix tournament will add to fan interest in not only the teams in the league but also the individual fighters as well.

IFL has definitely created a niche market by taking what was commonly believed to be an individual sport and making it a team sport.  As I've said before, they very well could serve as the model for MMA competition between countries in a future Olympic games.

5) What's brewing in the Tokyo Sabres team?

There was definitely some tension at the post-fight press conference when the Tokyo Sabres took the podium.  From what I could tell, it appears there is some internal dissent within the team.  I will be interested to hear what -- if any -- developments come out of that camp in the next few months.

Posted by at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
        

August 2, 2007

Heavyweight: Vladimir Matyushenko (Sabres) vs. Tim Boetsch (Pitbulls)

Boetsche is fighting for the second time in a week.  Boetsch starts the fight with a guillotine attempt but Matyushenko gets out of it.  Matyushenko ends up on top of Boetsch but the two fighters end up on their feet where they whale away at each other.  I give this round to Matyushenko.

In the second round, Boetsch hit Matyushenko with a right hand that appears to rock Matyushenko.  But, Matyushenko ends up on top of Boetsch on side control.  The two fighters are back on their feet but Boetsch gets Matyushenko back on the ground and attempts a guillotine choke.  I give this round to Boetsch.

The third round starts with a takedown by Matyushenko but he can't do anything on the ground.  The two get back on their feet and Matyushenko takes Boetsch down again.  Matyushenko has Boetsch pinned in the corner where Matyushenko pounds away at Boetsch.  Matyushenko ends up on top of Boetsch as the round ends.  I give this round to Matyushenko.

I predict Matyushenko wins 29-28.

Official Result: Matyushenko wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Pitbulls win 3-2.  Most of the remaining crowd doesn't wait for the decision to be announced as they head for the doors.

Posted by at 11:03 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Welterweights: Antonio McKee (Sabres) vs. Delson Heleno (Pitbulls)

This is a very highly anticipated fight.  The two begin the first round feeling each other out and not doing much.  The two fighters finally engage and McKee is pushed through the ropes.  After the restart, McKee scores a takedown in the corner.  The round ends with a spattering of boos.  I give the round to McKee for his successful takedown.  It was a fairly uneventful round.

In the second round, McKee scores another takedown.  McKee can't do anything on the ground and the two fighters end up on their feet after a brief flurry of activity.  As the two fighters grapple in the corner standing up, McKee gets hit with a low blow and is writhing in pain for a few minutes.  During this time, McKee's wife gets a hearty cheer from the crowd when her image is flashed on the video screens.  Finally, McKee is ready to fight again.  When the action resumes, the two fighters are back in the clinch.  As the round ends, it appears that Heleno gets another knee to McKee's groin.  I give McKee the round.

In the third round, McKee scores a nice takedown slam on Heleno.  The referee stands the two back up and the two end up back on the ground but this time Heleno is on McKee's back.  Heleno is pounding away at McKee until the end of the round.  I give this round to Heleno for his work at the end of the round but it's too little too late. 

I predict McKee wins 29-28.

Official result: McKee wins by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

Pitbulls are up 3-1.  Fans continue to leave even before the judges' decision for this fight is announced.

Posted by at 10:31 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Lightweight: Savant Young (Sabres) vs. Deividas Taurosevicius (Pitbulls)

In the first round, after an initial feeling out process, Taurosevicius attempts a kick and Young counters with a right that floors Taurosevicius.  Young gets on top of Taurosevicius and survives an armbar attempt before getting back on top in full guard.  The two fighters are told to stand back up.  Young attempts a superman punch but Taurosevicius catches him as the round ends.  I give the round to Young.

In the second round, the two fight standing up for a while before Taurosevicius controls the fight on the ground and spends most of the second round on Young's back attempting a rear naked choke.  The bell saves Young.  I give the second round to Taurosevicius.

In the third round, Taurosevicius scores a takedown but the two are quickly back standing.  Taurosevicius catches Young with a punch that knocks Young down.  Taurosevicius controls this round and I give it to him.

I predict Taurosevicius wins 29-28.

Official result: Taurosevicius wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).

Pitbulls are up 3-0 and have clinched a spot against the Silverbacks in the finals.  The knowledgeable MMA fans in the arena know this and head for the exits in droves.

Posted by at 10:09 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Heavyweight: Wayne Cole (Sabres) vs. Bryan Vetell (Pitbulls)

In the first round, Vetell controls in the corner and then goes for a single-leg takedown that is unsuccessful.  During the takedown attempt, Cole goes to town on Vetell's head.  Vetell is able to reverse and both stand against the ropes, working hard before the ref stops the bout for a low-blow that has Cole doubled over.  Good pace of action between two big guys and the fans enjoy.  I give the first round to Vetell.

In the second round, the two fighters start out in the clinch and hold each other against the ropes.  Vetell is peppering Cole with right knees to Cole's left leg.  Vetell scores a takedown, much to the crowd's delight.  Vetell whales away at Cole as the two fighters are half-standing up, leaning on each other.  Back standing, Vetell scores a couple more knees.  Another active round for Vetell.  I give him the second round as well.

Vetell starts the third round with a kick to Cole's leg.  At this point, Cole needs a stoppage to win the fight, but he doesn't seem too eager to engage.  Vetell locks up Cole in the corner a couple of times and leans on the smaller fighter before they are separated towards the end of the round.  Cole is able to take Vetell down to the ground and attain full mount but it's too little too late as the round ends.  I'll give the last round to Cole for the takedown.

I predict Vetell will win 29-28.

Official Result: Vetell wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Pitbulls are up 2-0.  The official attendance is 7,077.  That seems right to me.  Very nice crowd.

Posted by at 9:45 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Middleweight: David Phillips (Sabres) vs. Dan Miller (Pitbulls)

In the first round, Miller takes Phillips down to the ground and works from full guard.  Phillips attempts an armbar but Miller is able to slam out of it.  On their feet, Miller gets Phillips in a guillotine choke and Phillips is out standing up.  The referee stops the fight and Phillips' body slumps to the mat.

Official Result: Miller wins by guillotine choke submission at 1:30 of the first round.

Pitbulls are up 1-0 in what amounts to a home match for them.  The fans were pumped for the introductions of Gracie's team and for this first victory.

Posted by at 9:36 PM | | Comments (0)
        

IFL Team Semifinals intermission

IFL is unique compared to other fight leagues in the sense that they have what amounts to halftime activities.  The announcer is doing his best to involve the entire arena in their activities and it seems to be working.

This is definitely an enthusiastic crowd.

Next up: #2 N.Y. Pitbulls (coached by Renzo Gracie) vs #3 Tokyo Sabres (coached by Ken Yasuda)

The fight order is:

Middleweight

Heavyweight

Lightweight

Welterweight

Light heavyweight

 

Posted by at 9:13 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Heavyweight: Ben Rothwell (Silverbacks) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (Anacondas)

This fight is over in a heartbeat.  Rothwell attacks with a solid punch, knocking Soszynski to the ground.  Rothwell follows with a flurry of punches on the ground, leaving the referee with no choice but to end the fight.

Official Result: Rothwell wins by TKO at 13 seconds of the first round. 

Silverbacks with the match 4-1 and head to the IFL Finals.

Posted by at 9:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Middleweight: Gerald Harris (Silverbacks) vs. Benji Radach (Anacondas)

In the first round, Harris lifts Radach over his head and drops him to the mat.  However, Radach reverses and has a guillotine choke.  Harris again lifts Radach, causing Radach to release the choke.  After a minute or so later, Harris looks like he just quits.  I don't know if he just quit or if he was hurt. 

After seeing a replay on the video screens, it becomes apparent what happened.  Radach caught Harris with a right to the face that pretty much knocked Harris out.

Official result: Radach wins by TKO at 3:03 of Round 1.

Silverbacks are up 3-1 now.

Posted by at 8:50 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Lightweight: Bart Palaszewski (Silverbacks) vs. Harris Sarmiento (Anacondas)

Round one is fairly even with both fighters standing and exchanging punches and kicks.  This round is too close to call.

Palaszewski scored two takedowns in round two but didn't do much either time.  In fact, the referee stands the two fighters up after the second takedown.  I give Palaszewski the round for the two takedowns.

In the third round, Palaszewski scores another takedown and finishes the fight with an anaconda choke, causing Sarmiento to tap out.

Official result: Palaszewski wins by tapout due to a guillotine choke at 1:06 of the third round.

Silverbacks are now up 3-0 and have won the team match, advancing to the IFL team finals.  However, the remaining two fights in the match will still be fought.

Celebrity note: Andrei Arlovski is in the arena and draws a nice round of applause.

Posted by at 8:29 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Welterweight: Rory Markham (SIlverbacks) vs. Chris Clements (Anacondas)

This fight ends quickly with Markham knocking Clements to the ground with a solid right punch and follows it up on the ground.  The referee actually draws boos for the stoppage and maybe rightly so because it appears Markham had missed on a number of punches on the ground.  Clements wasn't too happy with the stoppage either, especially because he came out strong prior to Markham's punch that floored him.

Official Result: Markham wins by TKO (strikes) at 1:17 of Round 1.

Silverbacks are now up 2-0.

Posted by at 8:19 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Light Heavyweight: Schoenauer (Anacondas) vs. Ciesnolevicz (Silverbacks)

Matches in the IFL are three 4-minute rounds and the fights have been cleaned up (ie. no elbow strikes) to be more palatable for mainstream audiences.  In addition, fights are fought in a ring.

Both fighters score a number of takedowns in the first round but don't do much more than that.  I'll give the round to Schoenauer for having more takedowns.

In round two, action starts slowly but ends with a flurry of action.  Schoenauer attempts a guillotine choke followed by a rear naked choke attempt by Ciesnolevicz.  Schoenauer ends the round beating on the head of Ciesnolevicz.  I give this round to Schoenauer.

In round three, action was slow again until the final minutes when Ciesnolevicz lands a kick on Shoenauer.  I give the third round to Ciesnolevicz.

I score the match 29-28 Schoenauer.

Official result: Ciesnolevicz wins split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28).

Silverbacks up 1-0.

Posted by at 7:59 PM | | Comments (0)
        

IFL Team Semifinals

Folks, I'm here at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ for the IFL Team Semifinals.  I'm impressed with the crowd here for Thursday night MMA action just outside NYC.  And the IFL has a very nice setup in the arena with two large video screens at either end of the arena. 

The national anthem has just been sung and the first matchup between the #1 L.A. Anacondas (coached by Shawn Tompkins) and the #4 Quad City Silverbacks (coached by Pat Miletich) is being introduced to the fans.

Bout order has has been determined by a flip of the coin:

1) Light heavyweights

2) Welterweights

3) Lightweights

4) Middleweights

5) Heavyweights

Let the matches begin...

 

Posted by at 7:34 PM | | Comments (0)
        
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Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

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