IFL “New Blood New Battles” pre-fight analysis
After putting on one of the most exciting MMA fights of 2007, the International Fight League returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena on May 16th with a solid line up of mixed martial arts fights.
The preliminary bouts feature athletes from four noted MMA camps, including Team Quest, Team Bombsquad, World Class Fight Center and Team Prodigy.
Once again, the main card will air live in high definition on HDNet.
Here are my predictions for the main card fights:
Team Match ups:
-Marcello Salazar vs. John Howard
Marcello Salazar is a Brazilian submission fighter who is riding a 5-fight win streak. His first fight in the IFL was a rematch with Alex Cook, the last fighter to defeat Salazar. Maracllo avenged the loss and is looking to stay hot when stepping into the ring against John Howard. John â€œDoomsdayâ€ Howard is another excellent submission fighter, but he has lost 3 of his last five fights. Howard is coming off of a win, but he will have to bring his â€œAâ€ game when stepping into the ring against Salazar. Salazar has the advantage of previously fighting in the IFL.
Prediction: Marcello Salazar, Unanimous Decision
-Danillo Villefort vs. Mike Massenzio
Danillo Villefort is a well-rounded fighter who trains with the world famous â€œAmerican Top Teamâ€. He ownâ€™s a 6-2 record, and only one of his wins has come by way of decision. That is pretty impressive for a new MMA fighter.
Mike Massenzio is a more experienced fighter and holds a record of 10-1 in MMA competition. Massenzio is a ground fighter with most of his stoppages coming by way of submission. Massenzio sinks in a lot of chokes and is riding a 9-fight win streak.
I think the stand up game will determine the outcome of this fight, and since Villefort trains with ATT, I am giving him the advantage in that department.
Prediction: Villefort â€“ TKO Round 2
IFL Heavyweight Championship Fight:
-Roy Nelson vs. Brad Imes
Roy â€œBig Countryâ€ Nelson is not your average looking MMA fighter. You wonâ€™t fight a six-pack on this guy, but he moves around the ring and has the conditioning of a guy sporting a much leaner physique. He owns a 12-2 record, has never been stopped in a fight, and is riding a 4 fight win streak; 3 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
Nelson originally signed on to defend his title against UFC veteran Brandon Lee Hinkle, but Hinkle had to bow out due to an injury. You may remember Brandon Lee Hink because his loss to Jeff Monson appears on many UFC highlight reels. Monson Sunk in a tight north-south choke that caused Hinkleâ€™s arms to flail for mercy, and left him unconscious.
Brad Imes is going to be a much tougher opponent then Brandon Lee Hinkle. You may remember Brad Imes as a finalist in season two of “The Ultimate Fighter” where he lost a close split decision to Rashad Evans. He is a tall, strong fighter who has been experience in the cage and the ring. He has a decent stand up game and is hard to knock out. He also has a slick submission game, and is probably the only heavyweight in MMA today to pull off back to back gogoplata submission victories.
“Big Country” has his work cut out for him. Nelson handled himself well when he fought Ben Rothwell, another large fighter. He ended up losing a controversial split decision to Rothwell but has been on a tear ever since. I don’t know if he will be able to handle the “Hillbilly Heart Throb” Brad Imes, and this fight may come down to conditioning. Imes has never been knocked out and only submitted once and I think he has a really good chance of putting a stop to Nelson’s title run.
Prediction: Imes â€“ Split Decision
IFL Middleweight Championship Fight:
-Ryan McGivern vs. Dan Miller
Ryan McGivern dethroned Matt Horwich and claimed the IFL middleweight title on February 29th. Less then three months later, he is defending that title against Dan Miller. McGivern is a cardio machine, and can fight for days.
Dan Miller is an up and coming mixed martial artist who has a lot of buzz around him. He will be making his IFL debut and fighting for the title on the same night. That is a lot of pressure. His only loss comes by way of split decision, and he has 7 wins to his credit.
If any title switches hands this night, I believe Dan Miller will be the one to take a belt home. Eighty percent of McGivernâ€™s losses have come by way of submission. If Miller can keep up with McGivernâ€™s pace, then he has a good shot of taking this title.
Prediction: Miller â€“ Submission round 3
IFL Middleweight Championship Fight:
-Ryan Schultz vs. Deividas Taurosevicius
Ryan Schultz not only avenged a loss when he defeated Chris Horodecki, but he earned himself the IFL lightweight title. He successfully defended that title last February, and is stepping into the ring again to take on Lithuanian submission fighter Deividas Taurosevicius. Taurosevicius is riding a 6 fight win streak and has finished all of those fights by way of submission.
Schultzâ€™ superior wrestling ability enabled him to earn a unanimous decision victory over John Gunderson last February; Gunderson is another excellent submission fighter. I believe Schultzâ€™ match with Taurosevicius will go much of the same way.
Prediction: Schultz â€“ Unanimous Decision