CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT ROSTERS ANNOUNCED AS SILVERBACKS LOOK TO DEFEND IFL TITLE VS. PITBULLS SEPTEMBER 20 IN FLORIDA
Rothwell, Patterson, Palaszewski, Heleno Among Top MMA Stars In Action At World Championship at Seminole Hard Rock; Local American Top Team Members Battle Other IFL Standouts in Preliminary Bouts
NEW YORK and HOLLYWOOD, Fla., August 15, 2007 – The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s number one professional mixed martial arts league, today announced the rosters for the 2007 IFL World Championship on Thursday, September 20, at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. Many of the league’s top stars will be in action as the second-seeded New York Pitbulls (3-0 regular season), coached by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master and MMA legend Renzo Gracie take on the defending champion Quad Cities Silverbacks (2-1), led by MMA champion Pat Miletich. Additionally, a series of preliminary bouts will feature other stars of the IFL and competitors from American Top Team, one of the country’s largest and most active MMA squads.
Among the most anticipated matchups in the final include rematches between heavyweights Bryan Vetell (Jamaica, N.Y.) of the Pitbulls and Ben Rothwell (Milwaukee, Wis.), and between middleweights Fabio Leopoldo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa). Rothwell, the undefeated heavyweight, brings an 8-0 IFL record into the match, including four wins in 2007. He won a first-round KO over Vetell in their 2006 meeting in Moline, Ill. Leopoldo was the victor in the previous matchup with McGivern, via second-round submission at the same event.
Fans are also excited about the battles between light heavyweights Jamal Patterson (Hoboken, N.J.) and Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.) and lightweights Deividas Taurosevicius (New York) and Bart Palaszewski (Wonder Lake, Ill.). Patterson has first-round wins in all three of his IFL triumphs and faces a tough test in Ciesnolevicz, who has won five straight bouts. Taurosevicius, who served as the Pitbulls’ alternate earlier in the year, was promoted to starter for the team’s semifinal win over the Tokyo Sabres and proved up to the task with a victory. He steps up against Palaszewski, whose eight wins match Rothwell’s for the most in IFL history.
The Pitbulls’ Delson Heleno (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) will take on a replacement at welterweight for the Silverbacks, as standout Rory Markham (Chicago) injured his left hand in his semifinal victory and will not be available for the final.
“I think it’s fitting that two of our flagship franchises meet for the World Championship rings,” said IFL Commissioner and Co-Founder Kurt Otto. “We are looking forward to a night of non-stop action as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style of Renzo Gracie’s athletes goes up against Pat Miletich’s patented methods.”
The Pitbulls advanced to the finals by edging the Sabres, 3-2, while the Silverbacks registered a 4-1 triumph over the top-seeded Los Angeles Anacondas, on August 2 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The two teams did not meet during the 2007 regular season, but the Silverbacks did record a 3-2 win on Sept. 23, 2006, in Moline, Ill.
In addition to the team competition, the night will include four preliminary bouts of interest to IFL fans as well as local enthusiasts. In action will be popular IFL lightweight Ryan Schultz (North Platte, Neb.) of the Portland Wolfpack against American Top Team’s Aaron Riley (Port St. Lucie, Fla.); light heavyweight Allan Goes (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) of the Tiger Sharks against Chris Baten (Tampa, Fla.); and welterweight Brad Blackburn (Olympia, Wash.) against Travis Cox (Naples, Fla.). Rolles Gracie (New York), a Jiu-Jitsu champion, also makes his MMA debut against ATT’s Seth Petruzelli (Orlando, Fla.).
Following the Championship, the IFL will hold its season-ending “World Grand Prix,” pitting the league’s top athletes at each weight class. The semifinals will be held on Nov. 3 at the Sears Centre in Chicago, with the winners advancing to the World Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The full rosters for the Finals follow. Bout order will be determined by coaches’ choice prior to the Official Weigh-in on September 19.
No. 4 Silverbacks (2-1 regular season team, 9-6 indiv.) vs. No. 2 Pitbulls (3-0, 10-5)155 lb.: Bart Palaszewski (Wonder Lake, Ill.) (8-1 IFL, 28-8 overall) vs. Deividas Taurosevicius (Lithuania) (2-0, 8-2)170 lb.: TBD vs. Delson Heleno (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (4-2, 11-3)185 lb.: Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa) (4-4, 10-5) vs. Fabio Leopoldo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (3-1, 5-2)205 lb: Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.) (5-2, 13-2) vs. Jamal Patterson (Hoboken, N.J.) (3-1, 3-1)265 lb.: Ben Rothwell (Milwaukee, Wis.) (7-0, 22-5) vs. Bryan Vetell (Jamaica, N.Y.) (2-2, 3-2)
Preliminary Bouts155 lb.: Ryan Schultz (North Platte, Neb.) (3-2, 16-9-1) vs. Aaron Riley (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) (0-0, 23-9-1)170 lb.: Brad Blackburn (Olympia, Wash.) (3-2, 10-9) vs. Travis Cox (Naples, Fla.) (0-0, 4-4)205 lb.: Allan Goes (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (3-1, 10-5-2) vs. Chris Baten (Tampa, Fla.) (0-0, 5-2)265 lb.: Rolles Gracie (New York) (0-0, 0-0) vs. Seth Petruzelli (Orlando, Fla.) (0-0, 7-4)
About the IFL
International Fight League™ (IFL) is the world’s number one professional mixed martial arts sports league. IFL has its headquarters in New York and offices in Las Vegas. For more information about IFL, please see: www.ifl.tv.