The IFL Finals are in the books, and the SilverBacks/Pittbulls match was a great show!
Jake Ellenberger had the first fight with Delson Heleno; it was a great fight. Ellenberger took the fight to Heleno, and was absolutely not afraid for a takedown. He was standing straight up and defended every takedown defense that Heleno had. When Heleno did take
him down and got the mount, Ellenberger rotated to his stomach. Heleno wanted to go for a rear naked choke, but then Ellenberger rolled inside Heleno’s legs and got into his guard. Heleno went for a straight arm bar; Ellenberger tried to get out by rolling out over his shoulder, but Heleno rolled with him, finishing the fight by way of a straight arm bar in the first round.
Fight number two came up: Deividas Taurosevicius was facing Bart Palaszewski. Both fighters came to fight, both pressing the action. Bart was doing well, and staying just outside Deividas’ reach so he could counter, but Deividas fought back, throwing a few high kicks in the process. Bart went for a takedown and ended up in Deividas guard. Deividas right away went for a straight arm bar, he pulled it, Bart slapped Deividas’ thigh
once, and Deividas let go. Later he would tell us that he felt the arm pop. Some say Deividas kicked Bart by accident in the face; it was more of a “sickle kick,” if you can call it a kick, because if wasn’t even meant as a kick, with the outside of his foot. So it wasn’t intentional and even if it was, it wasn’t illegal because Bart was on both his feet.
The ref saw Bart’s “pain face” from the arm bar, plus Bart turned away from his opponent, so the ref stopped the fight. We found out that one of Deividas’ toes got into Bart’s eye, and he couldn’t see. That was the reason he turned away.
The Pittbulls were now up two fights. Nobody in IFL history ever made a comeback after that, so the Silverbacks were under pressure.
Ben Rothwell was up next, against last minute replacement Ricco Rodriquez. Ricco looked good; he had lost about 40 pounds, and this fight was going to be the biggest test for Rothwell in his career. Rodriquez, a former UFC heavyweight champion, came out strong, as did Rothwell. Ricco put some strikes in to set up a takedown. Rothwell was a little cautious, and didn’t really commit to his punches, being afraid of course of the takedown. After a few takedown attempts from Ricco, Ben felt that he was able to start punching with more power and commit more to his strikes.
Round two was off, and I gave that one to Rothwell. Rothwell came forward faster, and started to land some strikes. Ricco landed a low kick in Rothwell’s jewels, but Rothwell didn’t take too much time to start again, realizing that Rodriquez started to gas a little bit. Like I mentioned, Ricco took the fi ght on four days notice. Although he was training, he was of course not in the best shape he could be. Rothwell also landed some right straight body shots, which are always good to set up another punch. Ricco got in a few guillotine chokes, but wasn’t able to finish Ben with them. It went to a judge’s decision, who ruled in favor of Ben Rothwell! Great victory for Ben; he knows now that he’s up there with the best of the heavyweights!
Ryan McGivern against Fabio Leopoldo was up next. Fabio beat Ryan last time they met, by way of a straight knee bar in the second round. He told us that he had many distractions the last few fights, but that he was ready this time. Boy was he! Leopoldo threw a few high kicks, but Ryan kept pressing the action and throwing huge upper cuts. In round two, one of those connected, and that was the end of the fight!
I always say that you have KO power or you don’t. It’s hard to learn that, but McGivern showed that I was wrong. His footwork looked good, and also his power in his punches. When that comes together; good footwork gives you great power! Good win for the newly wed McGivern!
Now it was 2-2. Whoever would win the last fight would give their team the Championship. No pressure!
Last time Mike Ciesnolevicz and Andre Gusmao met, Gusmao won the fight, so Mike C had revenge on his mind. Mike C came out strong and tried to take Gusmao down, but Gusmao had different thoughts. He stopped the takedowns and got a great position. Mike C was standing, but had one knee on the ground. Gusmao was waiting for Mike C to release that knee from the mat so it would be legal to knee him in the head. As soon as that happened, he threw a knee and it landed right on the button. It was “lights out” for Mike C. What a victory! The whole Pittbulls camp jumped in the ring! Last year they didn’t win a single match, and this year they came out winning it all…what a turnaround!
It was another great night from the IFL.
Till next time, like El Guapo always says: Godspeed and Party on!!