Nelson, Schultz Defend; Miller New IFL Champ
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Despite the bad weather, 4,530 fans made their
way Friday to Mohegan Sun for the IFL.
It was a night filled with upsets that had a throwback feel, not
just because IFL matchmaker Kurt Otto was seen raising the roof
during the lightweight title fight but also because two fights
ended in back-to-back kneebars. The consecutive submissions left
members of the media scratching their heads, trying to remember how
many years it had been since that happened.
The fights that were expected to be good were just that, as the IFL
continues to showcase fighters that like to fight and impress the
crowd while doing so.
Roy Nelson (Pictures)'s title defense against Brad Imes (Pictures) was supposed to be a slugfest,
and it was. Only it was a one-sided affair.
Nelson showed why he is the most underrated heavyweight in the game
against a tough and difficult opponent in Imes. Both men came out
throwing heavy leather, but trading blows with Nelson has proven to
be a bad plan. Imes landed a knee and a jab, and that was about
Nelson tagged him early with a punch that had him stumbling. Imes
hung in there for quite a while as Nelson continued to pick him
apart with an onslaught of strikes. The beating continued until
another hard shot finally dropped Imes, and Nelson pounced on top
of him before the ref called off the storm at 2:55 in round
"He's one of those guys that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin,"
Nelson said of Imes. "I'm glad I'm the only one that has finished
him that way. Everyone else like Rashad [Evans] or even Heath
[Herring] couldn't put him away, and they had to take him to the
third round and win a decision."
Ken Shamrock (Pictures) just nodded his head as his
fighter celebrated by rubbing his belly, which delighted the crowd.
Shamrock knows what others have seemed slow to understand: Roy
Nelson is the real deal.
"I consider myself top five, easy," Nelson said on where he sees
himself in the heavyweight division. Then, taking a playful jab at
Sherdog.com, he added: "If I stopped fighting, I'd probably be in
the top 10."
Most fans figured Ryan
Schultz (Pictures)'s lightweight title defense
Taurosevicius (Pictures) would be the fight of the night,
and the two didn't disappoint. They were cautious at times but also
attacked each other full bore.
The second and third rounds were a seesaw battle with both men
getting takedowns. Taurosevicius spent his time on the ground
looking for triangles or escaping from the bottom. When Schultz was
on top, he made sure to deliver ground and pound, usually stealing
the rounds in the final minute.
In the last two rounds of the title fight, Schultz used his
wrestling to take over. Any chance he got to dish out some
punishment, he made it count.
Taurosevicius seemed to wobble Schultz after connecting with a hard
punch in the final round, but that was his only shot as Schultz
balled him up in the corner of the ring and smothered him with
Schultz was awarded the unanimous decision, 48-47 on all three
Following the fight it was announced that Taurosevicius had broken
his foot early in the first round, making it all the more
impressive he was able to hang in there so long.
(Pictures) came out throwing hard,
crisp punches in his middleweight title defense against Dan Miller (Pictures). Eventually, though, Miller
scored a rare takedown against the former Iowa wrestler. McGivern
then landed an up-kick from his back that rocked Miller.
Miller was undeterred, though, and soon he dropped down for a
kneebar that had McGivern tapping at 3:36 in the first round. With
less than 10 fights under his belt, Miller is now an IFL
Mike Massenzio came out
strong, delivering a high kick to the chin of Danillo Villefort. Villefort
looked for a judo toss, but he ended up on his back, where
Massenzio stacked him up and delivered some blows.
Villefort made his move during a scramble, wrapping his legs around
Massenzio's midsection while grabbing for his legs. Massenzio lost
his balance, and when he hit the ground, Villefort got the angle he
was looking for and locked in a solid kneebar. The submission ended
the red-hot Massenzio's win streak, as he tapped at 3:25 in the
Massenzio had come into the fight heavily touted, but Villefort was
confident he could win no matter where the fight went.
"He's a tough guy," Villefort said. "He's a tough wrestler, so we
knew he was going to take me down -- it's OK, he's doing me a
favor. I'm a jiu-jitsu black belt, you know. I have confidence in
my ground game and that's it."
There was just something in the eyes of Josh Souder, even during the
weigh-ins the day before his matchup against Zac George (Pictures).
After being told he was a quarter-pound heavy, he looked as if he
wanted to tear the official's head off as he paced the stage. The
IFL touted him as being the first of "Team Prodigy" from Ohio to
break into a big show.
Souder made the most of the opportunity, mauling George after their
first separation and piling it on as George crumpled into the
corner. The fight was stopped at just 47 seconds into the first
"I worked the body and then threw a body shot and then an overhand
right, and that hurt him," Souder said. "So when we clinched, I let
go and then threw it again and that's what hurt his eye. He fell
down, and I finished him off."
The first two rounds of Matt
Horwich (Pictures)'s fight against Joey Guel (Pictures) were mostly comprised of Horwich
punching his way inside the clinch. Guel successfully pummeled his
way out of most trouble, but he wasn't able to get much offense
going against the former middleweight champ.
Horwich got serious in the third, pressing forward with strikes
until finally taking Guel down and getting side control. He spent
the rest of the round delivering short shots and keeping Guel from
getting any offense going.
Horwich has been very entertaining of late, but this fight was not.
He took the unanimous decision: 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
John Howard got a
grappling lesson from Nick
Calandrino for most of the first round, including a rear-naked
attempt mixed with some side control.
In the third round, though, Howard connected with a knee and some
heavy shots that opened a cut. The flurry convinced the ref that
Calandrino was done, and the fight was stopped at 2:44, though
Calandrino heavily protested the decision.
Aaron Stark (Pictures) dominated Lamont Lister (Pictures) with his superior wrestling for
most of the first round. The second round was uneventful, and in
the third Stark knocked his opponent to the ground with a right
Stark fell into a triangle, but eventually he escaped and finished
the fight on top for the unanimous decision, 30-27 on all the
John Franchi (Pictures) looked like he was in a nice,
calm training session in the first fight of the night. He patiently
worked his way onto Frank
Latina (Pictures)'s back, got a body triangle and
dispatched Latina early with a rear-naked choke at 2:19 in the
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