by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
THE “BIG FROG” STEPS UP HIS TRAINING
Since the beginning of October, Jeff Curran has intensified his training in preparation for a showdown against 145-pound World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber.
“Training for this fight is something I have desired for a long time. Not just for a belt, not just for being in the public eye, but for a solid win over [Urijah] Faber. I am hungrier for this than I have ever been!”
Curran returned to the WEC last August after nearly a five-year absence. The first opponent under his exclusive four-fight contract was Hardcore Gym’s Stephen Ledbetter. He earned a unanimous decision over Ledbetter, who proved to be a tough and formidable challenger.
Having fought in Pride Fighting Championships, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, ZST, and the International Fight League, Curran is one of the most experienced featherweight fighters today. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has had almost 40 fights at just 30 years of age.
The former Shooto America Champion has faced some very tough competition and remains as one of the busiest fighters in the business. Now Curran prepares for one of the biggest challenges of his career when he pursues the WEC 145-pound title on Dec.12.
BART PALASZEWSKI READY FOR HORODECKI
Coming off a controversial loss to Devidas Taurosevicius at the International Fight League 2007 Team Championship Finals, the Quad City Silverbacks’ Bart Palaszewski looks ahead to a rematch with Chris Horodecki.
“Horodecki is a good fighter, but he never did anything to me in the first fight,” stated Palaszewski. “He took me down so I wouldn’t knock him out. He’s in trouble.”
“Bartimus” and Horodecki first met in the ring last February when the IFL visited Houston. In one of the most competitive fights in IFL’s short history, the Anacondas’ Horodecki walked away with a split decision victory.
Although Horodecki was awarded the decision, the fight was not without controversy. With about one minute left in the first round, Palaszewski landed a short right hook that had the19-yeard old fighter dazed. He secured a standing guillotine choke near the ropes and had Horodecki in trouble until he fell through the ropes, avoiding the choke. The remainder of fight saw Palaszewski get the better of Horodecki on their feet while his opponent responded with takedowns and ground control.
On Nov. 3, the IFL will hold the first half of its inaugural Grand Prix. The winners of the four-man tournament in each respective weight class will determine the IFL’s first individual champions.
Palaszewski and Horodecki are scheduled to meet again in the semi-final round in what will be one of the most anticipated rematches of the year.
NATE MOHR EAGER TO RETURN
At UFC Fight Night 10, Nate Mohr was victorious for the first time in the Octagon. The Team Curran lightweight earned a unanimous decision over Luke Caudillo. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken right hand during the fight.
Mohr was scheduled to face Jeremy Stephens on the undercard of UFC 76, but had to pull out of the fight when x-rays showed that his hand was not fully healed, yet. Nearly four months later, Mohr is eager to return to action.
“I can’t wait to fight. I feel great and the hand is finally feeling as close to normal as it can be considering what happened to it. You should see me soon!”
MIKE STUMPF WINS AT XFO 20
Welterweight prospect Mike Stumpf extended his unbeaten record to six fights with a TKO victory over Sam Kitterman at XFO 20. With the win, Stumpf earned a shot at current 170-pound Xtreme Fighting Organization champion Ryan Williams on Dec. 1.
“We are hoping this catapults me to something big. I am excited about all of it,” said Stumpf.
TEAM CURRAN: UP-AND-COMERS
– Rockford, Ill. resident Ben Miller is coming off a submission victory over Antonio Canas as at Evolution Fighting Championships 5. The 145-pound fighter is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt under Curran
– Russ Janca has been a student of Curran’s since he was ten years old. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt is a full time instructor at the Curran Martial Arts Academy along with his father. The 19-year old fighter has spent his entire career in XFO and holds a record of 4-2.
“His ground skills are amazing and literally out of this world,” said Jeff Curran of his student. “His foundation is so basic, but he has taken every one of my tricks to another level. Everyone will know this kid soon.”
– Fan favorite Mike Marrello rebounded from a loss with a submission victory at XFO 20.
“Marrello is as serious as they come. His hands are looking awesome; his ground is getting even better in comparison and will be hoping for big things from him this next year,” said Curran. “Marrello is a fan favorite around here and literally sells like 500 tickets at times when he fights. He means business and he doesn’t come to play. He has the makings of a champion all around him.”