December 26, 2006
Georges St-Pierre Wins FCF’s 2006 Canadian Fighter of the Year Award
For the second year in a row, Georges St-Pierre has been awarded Full Contact Fighter’s "Northern Touch" Canadian Fighter of the Year Award. This year’s finalists for the Nation’s fighter of the year award were Pride Middleweight star Denis Kang, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s newly crowned Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre. Due to both men’s accomplishments during the year, voters were hard pressed to consider any other fighters.
Denis Kang excelled in Pride’s 183 pound division this year, going 4-1 fighting for the organization in 2006, with wins over Mark Weir, Amar Suloev, Murilo Rua, Akihiro Gono. Kang’s only loss, and for that matter, his first loss since 2003, came against Kazuo Misaki in the Pride Bushido "Survival" Tournament Finals. Kang also had a win competing in South Korea’s Spirit MC Promotion, where the American Top Team fighter KO’ed Albert Basconcelles in the first round on April 22nd.
Defeating two of the world’s best welterweight fighters, on route to securing the UFC’s Welterweight Championship was ultimately, what the Canadian voter’s determined was the winning criteria for GSP. St-Pierre was victorious in both his fights this year, first defeating former UFC Welterweight Champion BJ Penn at UFC 58, on March 4th by split decision, and then by stopping long time UFC Champion Matt Hughes in dramatic fashion at UFC 65 on November 18th.
Over 30 of the Nation’s MMA fighters, trainers, promoters and media members cast their votes, to award GSP the Canadian Fighter of the Year honor, giving the Quebec fighter back to back wins in 2005 and 2006.
Here are just a few of the comments, some of Canada’s MMA community had in regards to their votes for the "Northern Touch" Fighter of the Year Award.
"GSP, in a walk, he will be the UFC Champion for as long as he wants….and talk about a marketing dream."
Hardcore Fighting Championship CEO, Keith Crawford
"Denis Kang, mainly because he fought 6 times and St. Pierre fought 2 times, they both really deserve it.
Team Toshido Head Instructor, David Lea
"George St-Pierre, after such a dominating performance over the seemingly undefeatable Matt Hughes, GSP deserves top honors in this spot, but Denis Kang deserves honorable mentions for an amazing year."
Combat Athletics, John Cooper
"GSP, Rush killed it this year!"
Team Tompkins’ fighter, Chris Horodecki
This year FCF expanded the awards to include categories for Canadian Comeback Fighter of the Year, and Canadian Break Out Fighter for 2006, an honor awarded to the fighter who achieved widespread international acclaim for the first time.
The final candidates for the Nation’s Comeback Fighter were Krzysztof Soszynski, Patrick Cote, Jeff Joslin and Victor Valimaki. Both Soszynski and Cote turned their careers around in 2006 after having a somewhat lack luster year in 2005, while both Joslin and Valimaki won Apex and Maximum Fighting Championship titles respectively, making it to the UFC in the process, after having relatively inactive 2005 seasons.
In what ended up being an extremely close race, Patrick Cote narrowly edged out Krzystof Soszynski in voting to win the 2006 Canadian Comeback Fighter of the Year Award. After going winless in the UFC in 2005, Cote returned to the organization via the "The Ultimate Fighter" television show, progressing through to the show’s finals on November 11th. Although Cote lost to Travis Lutter at the "TUF" finals, this year the Quebec fighter defeated Jorge Rivera and Edwin Dewees during the show’s run, and secured King of the Cage Canada’s Lightheavyweight Title and the MFC’s Middleweight Title, with wins over Bill Mahood and Jason Macdonald respectively.
The finalists for this year’s Break Out Fighter of the Year included Mark Hominick, Jason Macdonald, Kalib Starnes and Chris Horodecki. All of the first three aforementioned fighters had successful UFC debuts in 2006, arguably gaining widespread international awareness for the first time in their careers. Although Horodecki also captured the attention of the MMA world in 2006, his international exposure was via the International Fight League, competing for Bas Rutten’s Anacondas.
In what was also another tight race in the voting, "The Athlete" Jason Macdonald won the Break Out Fighter Award by just a few votes over 19-year-old Team Tompkins’ fighter Chris Horodecki. The subject of Macdonald immediately lit up MMA forums after his UFC debut on October 10th at Ultimate Fight Night 7, where the veteran fighter submitted the highly touted "Ultimate Fighter" middleweight finalist Ed Herman with a first round triangle choke. Macdonald went 4-1 in 2006, including a notable unanimous decision win over TUF Season 4 cast member Gideon Ray at Extreme Caged Combat 1 on April 29th. Macdonald will head to UFC 66 with his record of 17-7 this Saturday, to take on another of the UFC’s rising stars, Chris Leben.
Apex "Caged Inferno" Card Set for January 13th
The Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, will host the latest Apex Fighting Championship event, "Caged Inferno" on January 13th. The night’s main event will feature the return of Sean "Pimp Daddy" Pierson (4-3) to the MMA ring for the first time since 2003, who will be taking on Fritz Paul (8-3) for the Apex Canadian Middleweight Title. In another Canadian title match, Thierry Quenneville (9-5) will meet the undefeated Shaun Krysa (4-0) for Apex’s National Lightweight Championship. Krysa has gone 3-0 in 2006, winning all three of his bouts by submission, while Quenneville lost by TKO to Damacio Page in his only bout this year at TKO 25 on May 5th.
Some of the other scheduled bouts for the "Caged Inferno" card include, an Apex Women’s World Lightweight Title match between Rebecca Sweeney (2-0) and Jessica Augilar (2-1), Nabil Khatib (5-1)versus Darly Bonar (3-1) in middleweight action, and welterweight Jacob Macdonald (2-4) fighting Daniel Grandmaison (2-3).
Canadian MMA Spring Schedule
IFL Press Release:
INTERNATIONAL FIGHT LEAGUE WOLFPACK-SILVERBACKS FINAL TO AIR ON FOX SPORTS NET NEW YEAR’S EVE
Lindland, Miletich’s Squads Ring In New Year with a one-hour show
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 26, 2006 – International Fight League, Inc. (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, will give its fans another way to ring in the New Year, with an evening of exciting MMA action on Fox Sports Net. The IFL "World Team Championship" final between the Wolfpack, based in Portland and coached by Matt Lindland, and the Silverbacks, who train in the Quad Cities and are coached by Pat Miletich, will air on Fox Sports Net on Dec. 31 in most markets. The Wolfpack-Silverbacks matchup will be a tape delay of the "World Team Championship" that will take place Friday, Dec. 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The coverage is the final part of FSN’s 10 hours of IFL World Team Championship coverage this fall. Broadcast times in several regions include:
For the complete weekend TV schedule go to http://www.ifl.tv/press/FSNIFLDec.pdf.
In addition, Canadian fans can catch Rogers Sportsnet’s re-broadcasts of the two-hour "Best Damn Sports Show" special across all of its networks overnight on Saturday, Dec. 30/Early Sunday, Dec. 31 (East, Ontario, HD: 12:30 a.m. ET/ 1:30 a.m. AT; West: midnight MT/11 p.m. PT; Pacific: 1 a.m. MT/ midnight PT). The World Team Championship Final will air on Saturday, Jan. 6.