In the latest look at Canadian mixed martial arts we delve into a busy weekend for fighters and promoters. A recap of Friday's TKO card is followed by a look at the IFL's Los Angeles Anacondas with its impressive Canadian contingent. Other news and notes inside.
TKO tourney notes
As I'm sure you recently read on Sherdog.com, our very own Freddie DeFreitas was in Victoriaville, Quebec last weekend to cover TKO's new event brand titled, "TKOMMA Tourney."
This is a new concept by TKO that is similar to the "Unplugged" cards held by the MFC in Edmonton, and is also being considered by ECC this summer. The idea is to have a smaller card that can be held in a smaller venue. In addition, there will usually be a main event or two, with the rest of the fights comprised of newer fighters, probably local, who are looking to start their climb up the ladder.
The underrated Jonathan Goulet (Pictures), who stopped tough Lethbridge, Alberta fighter Jesse Bongfeldt at just under four minutes of the first round, headlined TKOMMA's main event.
Bongfeldt is no tomato can, far from it. I've only met him once at ECC2, and he was very quiet and respectful. But when he got into that cage he turned into a rough and tumble SOB that shocked the heck out of me.
So the fact that Goulet took him out so roundly only attests to his still strong desire to excel in MMA. He's currently 2-2 in the UFC having defeated Jay Hieron (Pictures) and Luke Cummo, with his losses to Duane Ludwig (Pictures) and Josh Koscheck (Pictures). With the UFC expanding so rapidly, as well as the ramping up of the WEC, I'm confident we'll see him there again soon.
Another fighter on that card to watch out for is Boreland Combat Team's Ray Penny, who defeated Yan Pellerin (Pictures) by strikes in the first. I've seen him step into the cage twice, and both times he looked to be very tough and well rounded.
I think that he can go far in MMA, should he choose. You heard it here first.
IFL – Los Angeles, Canadians rule
In last weekends International Fight League match-up between the Anacondas and Razorclaws, Canadians Chris Horodecki (Pictures) and Krzysztof Soszynski (Pictures) both won their bouts, helping their L.A.-based team to a 5-0 shutout that puts them firmly in contention for the IFL team title.
After getting back to his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Soszynski had elbow surgery to remove bone chips and debris that had been bothering him for some time.
The heavyweight prepared for his fight against Dan Christison (Pictures) by staying with Shawn Tompkins (Pictures) in PRIDE superstar Dan Henderson (Pictures)'s house in Temecula, Calif., which I must say was a great opportunity for him.
Also, Soszynski is now a proud new member of Team Quest and plans on a permanent move to Temecula soon. Next up for him is his very own MMA promotion, the UCW, which will be in Winnipeg April 7. More on that in the upcoming weeks.
Speaking of Shawn Tompkins (Pictures), what won't this guy accomplish? Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five days, you probably know that Shawn is now the new head coach of the Anacondas, replacing his mentor Bas Rutten (Pictures), who's moving on to other opportunities within the IFL.
Shawn is a genuinely great guy, and it's nice to see him achieving all his success.
"The Natural" John Alessio (Pictures) vies for WEC welterweight crown
This weekend Vancouver, B.C. native John Alessio (Pictures) will be taking on Carlos Condit (Pictures) for the vacant WEC welterweight title. At only 27 years of age, Alessio is one of those guys who seem to have been around forever. He started fighting professionally around nine years ago, and is a veteran of the UFC, PRIDE, and was champion of KOTC.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend you listen to John speak with Josh and TJ on Monday's "Beatdown." Without sounding arrogant or cocky, John evoked a supreme confidence in himself that really makes the listener believe that after this weekend he'll be the new WEC welterweight champion.
GSP gets "All Access" treatment
Speaking of welterweight champions …
According to the official Web site of UFC spokes-model Rachelle Leah, in February she made the trek north to the beautiful city of Montreal to film an episode of the UFC show "All Access," with ever-popular Canadian welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (Pictures).
The UFC hasn't scheduled the airdate yet, but they've historically been shown a few days before the pay-per-view, so look for this to appear on SpikeTV in early April.
I wonder if Georges took Rachelle for a smoked-meat sandwich, or maybe some poutine?
Wanderlei … Arlovski … Shamrock … Black Sniper?
"Never Submit" is the title of a feature film scheduled to start principal photography in April, set against the backdrop of the MMA world.
The plot, according to the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com):
A 22-year-old Judo champion trains to enter a Pride FC style MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) tournament after being haunted by the memories of his father's 1997 No-Holds-Barred fight.
Imperia Entertainment recently announced the addition of the "Black Sniper," Michael McDonald (Pictures) to the cast. He'll be joining such MMA notables as Ken Shamrock (Pictures), Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), Josh Koscheck (Pictures), Cung Le (Pictures), Andrei Arlovski (Pictures), "Shogun" Mauricio Rua (Pictures), Nathan Quarry (Pictures), and Matt Lindland (Pictures).
So who is Michael MacDonald (Pictures) you ask? If you live and breathe the Sherdog.com Fight Finder, you'd look at his 0-1 record and think to yourself "What's the big deal?"
What the Fight Finder doesn't tell you is that the Canadian is a decorated K-1 fighter. MacDonald holds the Canadian WKA heavyweight and WKC world cruiserweight championship titles in kickboxing.
Known as the "Black Sniper" from his 1996 K-1 debut in Japan, McDonald captured titles from 2001 through 2004 in the K-1 tournaments in Las Vegas. He boasts wins over legendary fighters Rick Roufus and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.
If you'd like to know more about McDonald, check out his Web site at blacksniper.com, or do a search for his interview with Sherdog.com's Mike Sloan. McDonald's views on "Cro Cop" and his account of their fight are pretty interesting.
Le Ring Interieur
Another reason to love the Fight Network is the little gems you find that you'd otherwise never know about. The other night I stumbled upon a documentary called "Le Ring Interieur," which I'm pretty sure means "The Ring Within" in English.
The main character is Charles Nestor, a Montreal fighter and promoter of Ultimate Generation Combat (UGC.) This doc follows Charles as he makes his way through life, and shows how he turned from a young man, full of anger, into a productive member of society.
Also featured are a very young David Loiseau (Pictures) and Steve Vigneault (Pictures), who although not featured as much as Charles, still offer us some insights to their lives.
If you get a chance to see this I highly recommend it.