Let's name three great things about the IFL. First, the always- funny Bas Rutten is a part of their organization. Second, they're willing to change their ideology and product when they realize something isn't working. And last, they don't always make you pay $40 to watch their shows.
Oh yeah, and it just so happens that on May 16, 2008 at their IFL Connecticut event there were these three IFL champions on the docket going by the names of Ryan McGivern, Ryan Schultz, and Roy Nelson.
Let's get this party started.
Middleweights Joey Guel and Matt Horwich started things off. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of the most exciting encounters of all-time. Still, Horwich was clearly the aggressor in the clinch?where the majority of this fight went down?and also managed a couple of takedowns more than his opponent. On top of it all, Horwich delivered some decent ground and pound in the final stanza. Thus, there was really no other way to score this one than for the former IFL Middleweight Champion.
Matt Horwich wins via unanimous decision.
Zac George (AKA- The Red Devil) took on Josh Souder in the next bout. How about this for a prediction? "In the second round, I'm gonna overwhelm him," said George coming in.
Josh Souder came out aggressively, connecting with a nice body punch and knee inside. Soon after, he followed that up with a hard right to George's eye that sent him into the corner. As George went to the ground there, Souder continued to pound away with fervor until the referee was forced to stop things.
Josh Souder wins via TKO after 47 seconds of round number one.
Next on the docket was a match between Danillo Villefort and Mike Massenzio. "I feel that I'm one of the best in the world, and now I actually have my chance to show what I can do and what I got," said Massenzio coming into this bout. In other words, he was obviously confident. But would that confidence translate?
Not on this night.
Yes, Massenzio took his opponent down, just as many thought the man with the superior wrestling background would. Further, he started executing some solid ground and pound. But then Villefort, a rather crafty jiu jitsu guy, grabbed a leg. Soon after, he had a kneebar.
And that was that.
Danillo Villefort wins via kneebar at 3:25 of round one.
Then came the IFL Middleweight Championship between Dan Miller and Ryan McGivern. Coming in, McGivern was known for his cardio and striking skills. Miller, on the other hand, was a grappling and submission specialist.
Let's put it this way, folks?grappling won out this time.
Basically, this became a night of kneebars when Miller caught McGivern in one and the then IFL Middleweight Champion tried to launch himself out of the hold before it was time. Tough one for the Miletich fighter to lose, and you could tell he was heartbroken afterwards.
Dan Miller wins via kneebar at 3:36 of round one.
I honestly think it's going to be like a car crash between me and him," said IFL Lightweight Champion Ryan Schultz coming into his bout with Deividas Taurosevicius. It certainly started off like that in the first as Taurosevicius landed several hard low kicks while Schultz seemed to connect with the harder and cleaner punches. In the end, the first round could've gone to either fighter, but Schultz may have hit home with the harder shots (and shirked a couple of takedown attempts to boot).
Taurosevicius started off the second with a lot of activity on his feet, landing some very hard punches. From there, Schultz took his opponent down, and after avoiding an armbar attempt, he started in with the ground and pound. However, the action on the canvas wasn't enough, prompting the referee to stand the two fighters up. Soon after, came the bell. This was another very close round. However, this time Taurosevicius may have done a little bit more damage.
If you're a fan of those up, up, and away kinds of takedowns, you likely would've enjoyed Schultz's takedown to open the next stanza. However, soon after Taurosevicius turned things over, took side mount, and started in with the ground and pound. From there he managed to take his opponent's back momentarily, before Schultz got out of the position and started firing away from the top position. That's how the round ended. Another close stanza, but give it to Taurosevicius.
This is a very good and close fight.
In the fourth, things got even more interesting. Taurosevicius was turned over on the ground by Schultz. However, soon after Taurosevicius nearly armbarred the champ. In fact, only an awesome slam by Schultz managed to get him out of trouble. From there, the IFL Lightweight Champion controlled things on the ground and eventually secured the mount position. Near the end of the stanza he nearly took Taurosevicius's back and came dangerously close to finishing the fight with a rear naked choke before the bell sounded.
I think this one will go to the man that takes the fifth round.
In the final stanza, Taurosevicius landed a nice punch on their feet. That said, Schultz ended up on top on the ground delivering some very devastating ground and pound on his opponent soon after. And that's how the majority of the final round looked.
In this writer's opinion, the fight should go to Schultz but barely.
The judges agree.
Ryan Schultz takes home another 'W' by unanimous decision.
Next came the final bout between Brad Imes and Roy Nelson for the IFL Heavyweight Champion. "Brad's one of those guys that's going to be there for all five rounds unless you can put him away," said Nelson coming in.
Nelson was wrong.
Basically, Roy Nelson connected with a very hard right early on that stunned Imes, who up to that point had been landing some jabs and knees effectively. From there, both fighters continually threw punch after punch at one another, but Roy Nelson hit home with another hard right later in the fight that put Imes on the canvas. A punch or two later and it was all over.
Roy Nelson wins via TKO at 2:55 of round one.
In the end, this version of the IFL Connecticut was a very good night of fights. First, Dan Miller and Danillo Villefort shocked some people. Second, that fight between Ryan Schultz and Deividas Taurosevicius was one of the better ones this year. And last, Roy "Big Country" Nelson is always a lot of fun to watch. Definitely a worthwhile watch.