Press Release by Ben Fowlkes for IFL.tv
LOS ANGELES, CA – Control of the L.A. Anacondas changed hands on Saturday night, but it didn’t slow the team one bit as they swept the San Jose Razorclaws 5-0 in a dominating performance.
Head coach Bas Rutten officially passed the torch to assistant coach Shawn Tompkins before the event, handing over his Anacondas jersey to the Canadian fight trainer so he could focus on his career as a TV personality and color commentator.
“I was scared as hell,” admitted Tompkins, after the win. “I’ve known Bas for eight years. He’s my mentor. I wanted to prove myself to him.”
The team looked as strong as ever at each weight class, and every Anacondas fighter notched a convincing win. Lightweight Chris Horodecki improved to 9-0 while putting on a striking clinic against the Razorclaws’ Josh Odom. Odom fought very defensively from the opening bell, and said he regretted his inability to move forward and engage the nineteen-year-old striker.
Middleweights Benji Radach and Jay Hieron both earned first-round victories for the Anacondas, utilizing guillotine chokes to finish Brian Foster and Donnie Liles, respectively. Light heavyweight Alex Schoenauer got the split decision over Brian Ebersole, despite suffering a minor knee injury in the process.
Perhaps the most surprising fighter of the night was the Anacondas’ Krzysztof Soszynski, who proved too quick for heavyweight Dan Christison, a recent addition to the ‘Claws. Soszynski executed a well-thought out game plan consisting of body shots and double-leg takedowns, wearing the bigger man down en route to a decision victory.
“My first fight in the IFL was against Ben Rothwell and I wasn’t ready for that,” Soszynski said. “Now I am. I’m getting better with every fight and I’m looking forward to meeting him in the Grand Prix.”
Razorclaws coach Frank Shamrock dispelled notions that this loss would cause him to again replace the majority of his fighters, saying he planned to work on improving the mental game of his team first and foremost.
“This is the team we want,” said Shamrock. “We just had a bad night. I think we have a little bit of bad chi on our team right now. I need to get these guys mentally ready. It may not be this season, but next season we’re going to crush everybody.”
In the other team contest, Ken Yasuda’s Tokyo Sabres remained unbeaten in 2007, edging out the Condors 3-2 behind strong performances from Savant Young, Antonio McKee, and Vladimir Matyushenko.
Young looked particularly tough, knocking out the Condors’ Adam Lynn with a devastating right hand at 0:21 of round two. McKee won a decision victory, which Condors coach Marco Ruas objected to, saying he thought McKee’s strategy of takedowns and ground control was not indicative of a complete MMA fighter.
“I need to get the win for my team, not just myself,” McKee said, defending his fighting style. “It doesn’t make sense for me to go out there and try to stand with a striker. Guys need to learn to defuse my wrestling if they want to stop me.”
Yasuda said he thought his team’s strength was their unity and sense of teamwork. He pointed to McKee’s “team-first” attitude as a sign of that, saying that kind of selflessness “almost makes me want to cry.”
When asked if he felt his Tokyo-based team should have more Japanese fighters, Yasuda responded by saying the team was heavily influenced by his Japanese way of looking at things.
“In some ways, I’m very conservative. If I say, ‘Be in the lobby at 1:30,’ I don’t mean 1:40. That’s the Japanese way. It’s like the New York Yankees. They have guys from many different cities, but they are united under one influence.”
The Sabres are now almost assured of a spot in the postseason, having gone 2-0 in 2007 with only one contest left to go. A top performer for the squad so far has been light heavyweight Vladimir Matyushenko, who downed Justin Levens with a first-round TKO after controlling the fight on the ground.
“I’m a humble guy,” Matyushenko said when asked if he was the top 205-pounder in the league. “I’ll say I’m the best when I’ve proved myself the best at the end of the season.”
The Sabres final match-up may be their toughest test yet, as they face the Portland Wolfpack on June 1st. As for the Anacondas, they’ll take on the Seattle Tiger Sharks on the same card.
With both teams thus far undefeated, they may be seeing even more of one another in the postseason.
ANACONDAS DEFEAT RAZORCLAWS (5-0)
Alex Schoenauer defeats Brian Ebersole via split decision
Benji Radach defeats Brian Foster via TKO (guillotine choke) at 1:04 of round 1
Chris Horodecki defeats Josh Odom via unanimous decision
Jay Hieron defeats Donnie Liles via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:49 of round 1
Krzysztof Soszynski defeats Dan Christison via unanimous decision
SABRES DEFEAT CONDORS (3-2)
Savant Young defeats Adam Lynn via KO (punch) at 0:21 of round 2
Antonio McKee defeats Rodrigo Ruas via unanimous decision
Jeremy Williams defeats Kaz Hamanaka via TKO (triangle choke) at 0:59 of round 1
Vladimir Matyushenko defeats Justin Levens via TKO (ref. stoppage) at 3:53 of round 1
Antoine Jaoude defeats Wayne Cole via KO at 0:56 of round 2