IFL World Team Championship Final Preview
By Jim Genia
What: IFL World Team Championships. When: December 29th. Where: Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Capping off their inaugural year with an MMA blowout, the International Fight League returns to the East Coast with a Wolfpack and Silverback team showdown, as well as a few intra-league superfights that have "action" written all over them. Here’s a look at some of the fighters:
Renzo Gracie – The Pitbulls
The consummate jiu-jitsu fighter, this Pitbull patriarch is suddenly more popular than ever thanks to a highly-favorable "60 Minutes" segment and a recent victory over MMA legend Pat Miletich. But Father Time is a tough adversary to beat, and at 40 years old, one has to wonder if the amiable Gracie – who’s beaten the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Sanae Kikuta and Maurice Smith in his long career – has enough for his rematch with the always-dangerous Carlos Newton.
Carlos Newton – The Dragons
A crafty grappler and former UFC champ, Newton scored a split-decision win over Gracie three years ago at Pride’s Bushido 1, but it’s been a rough road since. One thing that cannot be denied, though, is that a focused Newton is very tough to beat. The question: will he be focused on December 29th?
Jamal Patterson – The Pitbulls
Following in the footsteps of Matt Serra and Ricardo Almeida, this Renzo Gracie student is a jiu-jitsu monster set to make waves in the MMA world. Scoring submission victories both times he’s entered the IFL ring, Patterson is stepping up once again, this time to take on the more-experienced Reese Andy. Can he keep up his winning ways?
Ben Rothwell – The Silverbacks
If the IFL has made any stars, Rothwell is certainly one of them. A heavyweight slugger with KO power in his fists, this Miletich-trained fighter has spent years racking up a wealth of ring experience – and is the man to beat amongst the League’s heavyweights.
Bart Palaszewski – The Silverbacks
Another emerging IFL star, this lightweight packs a punch, and that, coupled with his submission skills, makes him a formidable opponent for anyone. Look for "Bartimus" to keep his IFL record spotless when he squares off against Ryan Schultz on December 29th.
The fight card as of 12/27:
Renzo Gracie (Pitbulls) vs. Carlos Newton (Dragons)
Mike Whitehead (Scorpions) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (Anacondas)
Jamal Patterson (Pitbulls) vs. Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks)
Brent Beauparlant (Dragons) vs. Andre Gusmao (Pitbulls)
Erik Owings (Pitbulls) vs. Ed West (Sabres)
World Team Championship Finals
coach: Matt Lindland coach: Pat Miletich
Ryan Schultz vs. Bart Palaszewski
Chris Wilson vs. Rory Markham
Matt Horwich vs. Ryan McGivern
Aaron Stark vs. Mike Ciesnolevicz
Devin Cole vs. Ben Rothwell