Bart Palaszewski (Pictures) will be the latest talent to join the WEC’s ranks on the heels of the demise of the rival International Fight League promotion. Palaszewski (29-11) has been offered a six-fight deal with the Zuffa-owned organization and said he will be ready to compete as early as its Sept. 10 event in Hollywood, Fla.
Jeff Curran (Pictures), Palaszewski’s longtime friend and coach, made the announcement Sunday at the opening of his new training facility in Crystal Lake, Ill., unbeknownst to the Polish-born lightweight.
Curran, who unsuccessfully challenged champion Urijah Faber (Pictures) for the WEC featherweight crown last December, also announced his own intentions to move down to the promotion’s bantamweight division.
“I guess he wanted to make it a big deal, which it is,” said Palaszewski upon learning of his new contract. “He made the announcement in front of our whole gym, family and friends. That’s phenomenal, very cool. It’s definitely the way I would like to find out.”
Palaszewski, 25, gained notoriety in the now defunct IFL, where the red-haired striker competed for Pat Miletich (Pictures)’s Silverbacks team and racked up eight victories (four by KO or TKO) in his tenure, including his toppling of eventual IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz (Pictures).
Palaszewski and 20-year-old phenomenon Chris Horodecki (Pictures) rose to notoriety with a pair of barnburner clashes under the IFL banner. Palaszewski lost both affairs by split decision.
The Wonder Lake, Ill. resident snapped a three-fight losing streak in June with a second-round TKO stoppage over Jeff Cox (Pictures) at Adrenaline 1 in Chicago.
“I think I match up very well with a lot of guys in the WEC; they’ve got a lot of strikers and I think I’m going to put on some phenomenal wars,” he said. “If I get two really good shows, really good fights against ranked opponents, I think I’ll be able to get a title shot.”
Curran’s move down to the WEC’s 135-pound division will help to “reinvent” the 30-year-old veteran, he said.
“I think that the fast pace and the real high technical level is a great fit for me,” said Curran (30-10-1). “The talent pool in that division is sick.”
In order to sit atop the mountain, Curran will have to go through fighters like champion Miguel Torres (Pictures) (34-1) and Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures) (23-5-2), who battled one another in June in what has been heralded as a “fight of the year” candidate.
Curran will look to rally from back-to-back losses to champion Faber (22-1)and Mike Brown (17-4), who Curran dropped a decision loss to in June. Faber and Brown will square off for the WEC featherweight title on Sept. 10.