by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
The San Jose Razorclaws have not found much success since joining the IFL last year.
In their first team battle in September of last year, they were ousted by the Dragons 3-2 and then earlier this year in their 2007 debut, they were once again defeated by the same score, this time thanks to the Lions.
Yet, with the disappointments the team has faced so far, there is optimism heading into their March 17th showdown in Los Angeles against the Anacondas.
One of the main reasons the team is feeling up heading to L.A. to take on the Anacondas on their home turf is the recent revamping of the Razorclaws’ line-up, including the addition of Colorado welterweight standout Donnie Liles.
“I’m feeling good and I’m really excited about it,” said Liles of his upcoming IFL debut. “It’s good to be training with the Razorclaws. It’s lots of good training, lots of really tough guys. I’m looking forward to getting onto this first show and do my thing.”
For Donnie its right from the frying pan into the fire as his first task at hand for his new team and promotion is to dispatch one of the league’s toughest, premier fighters, Jay Hieron.
“It’s just another day at the office,” commented Liles about facing Hieron. “I’m just going to go in there and do what I do. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, you can’t let your opponent get in your head and change your gameplan.”
Donnie continued, “I’m just going to go in there and fight my fight, and see what happens. [I have] a lot of tenacity. I’m going to start coming at this guy and I’m not going to stop until I finish him, he finishes me, or it’s the end of the fight.”
When it comes to the Razorclaws’ chances of an upset against the Anacondas, Liles is confident that if everyone does what they are capable of, the upset is very possible.
“I think we’ve got a really good chance,” exclaimed Donnie. “Everybody across the board is a really solid, well-rounded fighter. I think we have a great chance against the Anacondas and I’m just looking forward to seeing some of these match-ups.”
For Liles not only is getting his chance to fight in the IFL a huge step forward in his career, but it also affords him an opportunity to learn from one of the legends of the sport, Razorclaws’ Head Coach Frank Shamrock.
“Frank’s an awesome guy,” said Donnie. “For as big of a name as he is, he’s really down to earth. He’s probably one of the most well-rounded fighters in MMA that I’ve seen, and he’s willing to share that [knowledge] with you.”
“He’ll pick apart your game, help you to improve, anything that he sees that he feels like he can improve upon, he’ll definitely help you out. I’ve been learning a lot from him over the past few days,” added Liles.
Should the Razorclaws and Donnie both come out victorious on March 17th; it will go a long way towards helping them get to both the World Team Tournament and individual grand prix at the end of the year.
According to Liles, the more opportunity he has to fight this year with the IFL’s extended 2007 schedule, the better.
“I’m looking forward to it,” commented Donnie. “Before I even found out about the IFL I had told my manager that I had wanted to get between 10-12 fights for ’07. I’m looking forward to the fast pace and fighting as often as I can.”
But first the task at hand is Jay Hieron and the Anacondas, and Liles urges everyone to check out the show in person in Los Angeles or on FSN next month.
“Thanks to all the guys at the Tool Shed Fight Team: Drew Lawrence, Keith Wilson, Eric Fagyas, Velore Caballero, and Tori Adams,” said Donnie. “I definitely want to thank my best training partners, my two sons, Donnie and Bobby.”
Liles concluded, “I want to thank all my teammates on the Razorclaws, Frank Shamrock, and the IFL. Definitely make it out to L.A. if you can get tickets and check it out live, if not, I believe it’s going to air April 2nd on the FSN.”