Russian Promoter Aims High With October 15th Tournament Event, Fedor and Pulver to Support from Sidelines
By Loretta Hunt
If everything goes as planned, it will be good vibrations all around for fighters and fans tomorrow night from the Tropicana Resort & Casino, where promoters EUPHORIA MFC (Mixed Fighting Championship) launch the opening round of not one, but two internationally-charged 8-Man tournaments from the shores of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
With world cross-over competition a main priority for EUPHORIA as many of their promoting peers shy away from it, "The Road to the Titles" hosts an assemblage of notables and up-and-comers alike, including a diverse pool of heavyweight prospects culled from Canada to Brazil to Russia. Among them, Minnesotan Travis Wiuff leads the pack with his 16-fight winning streak in tow. Canadian’s number one heavyweight Ulisses Castro is also hoping to make an impression, along with 2004 Athens Olympic Greco-Roman competitor Antoine Jaoude. With the heavyweights a precious commodity throughout the world, this tournament could speak volumes as to who might emerge the next star onto the international scene.
However, it’s the lightweight brackets that pack the most punch with a superior line-up–one of the strongest ever attempted in America. Well-known stand-outs Texan "Thugjitsu" master Yves Edwards and Brazilian Top Team’s latest recruit Hermes Franca are onboard, but it’s a group of first-timers that should peak hardcore fans’ interests considerably. Former SHOOTO champion Joachim Hansen is set to make his U.S. debut along with Japan’s ZST poster boy Naoyuki Kotani, while returning EUPHORIA competitors and rivals Rich Clementi and Sergei Goliaev round out the roster.
The event has also garnered the support of a few select fighters outside the ring, who will lend their talents in various ways. After taking Japan by storm, current PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will be in attendance to meet and greet with fans on his first visit to the States. Emelianenko will surely be cheering on Red Devil Sports Club lightweight teammate Goliaev, as well as heavyweights Roman Zentsov and Ibagrim Magomedov, who will face Jaoude and Wiuff respectively. "EUPHORIA, M-1, and Red Devil all have a comfortable relationship," comments matchmaker Miguel Itturate on the coup that was Fedor and the trio of companies "foreign exchange" of players. "Anything is possible," the cool 19-1 Russian annihilator quietly answered from his hotel room last night as to the prospect of competing in the States, possibly under the EUPHORIA flag. Emelianenko added that he is intrigued by the promotion’s internationally-friendly intentions, and eager to see how the country clashing match-ups play out.
As part of the show taping for a future DVD release, former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver will serve as co-commentator alongside Jeff Osborne on play-by play detail, while Brazilian TV personality Jorge Guimaraes will conduct backstage and post-fight interviews. With his nationally-regarded HOOKnSHOOT promotion, heavily-experienced fight analyst Osborne has also commentated UFC events in the past. Guimaraes produces and also hosts the weekly MMA show "Passing The Guard" in Brazil, along with his involvement with the MECCA promotion. But, probably the most noticeable of the three will be Pulver, who has reinvented himself as a formidable contender in the 145-pound division since relinquishing his UFC title almost four years ago over contract disputes.
"I think it’s extremely important," says Pulver of the event’s international undertones. "It shows that Americans and Japanese are not the only fighters. You have guys training all over the world, and they need a place to fight too. I think it’s a great opportunity for American fans to [get a look at these fighters]. The biggest thing is, when you have an international show like this, you can really say, ‘Man, I’m a world champion,’ because you’re fighting the world’s best. It’s really great to know this sport is blossoming everywhere."
Slated to kick off at 8:30 PM, tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.com. With an outstanding card of characters from all corners of the globe, this unique event is one not to be missed.
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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm