by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
One of last year’s real breakout fighters was lightweight IFL standout Chris “Polish Hammer” Horodecki of the Los Angeles Anacondas.
At just 18-years-old, Horodecki was the youngest fighter in the IFL, but his skills shined brightly as if he were a seasoned veteran on route to remaining undefeated in MMA competition.
Now after taking time off to heal from injury Chris is back in action as one half of what is one of the most anticipated fights of the year as he takes on Bart Palaszewski and the defending IFL Champion Quad Cities Silverbacks on February 2nd in Houston, Texas.
During final training preparations in Canada Horodecki spoke to MMAWeekly about his breakout year, change on the Anacondas’ roster, and his showdown with Palaszewski.
MMAWeekly: First off Chris, tell us how you feel about the year you had in 2006.
Chris Horodecki: What more can you ask for? The hard work paid off. I’m thankful to proper training partners, management and trainers. I’m very fortunate for what I have and I’m blessed for the opportunities that have been presented to me.
MMAWeekly: You remained undefeated and had some really exciting fights. How do you feel about your in-ring performance last year?
Chris Horodecki: I think I did really well. I think every fight was an exciting fight. All year every one of my fights was a fight that was entertaining. Its fights that coming home in the car, you’re going to be talking about me, you’re going to be talking about that fight, and it’s going to stay that way.
MMAWeekly: After some trepidation by people due to your age, they have come around and many consider you one of the marquee stars of the IFL. How does that make you feel?
Chris Horodecki: I’m honored…I’m real fortunate. Everything just aligned for me and it was meant to be.
MMAWeekly: Okay, let’s talk about your upcoming fight on February 2nd in Houston against Bart Palaszewski. This is one of the most anticipated fights in the IFL’s history, what are your thoughts on it?
Chris Horodecki: I think it’s going to be definitely the best fight of the night by far. Me and Bart, it’s going to be electrifying. I know him: he’s a buddy of mine, a friend of mine, a training partner, but the way this league is set up, it’s like any league sport and you have to compete with your friends. It’s no big deal, because we’re friends before the fight and will be friends after the fight.
We were ready to go in December, and it’s kind of fortunate that I broke my hand in my last fight, but now we’re ready to go and it’s going to happen. It’s definitely going to be crowd pleasing for sure 100%. It’s a business but it’s a business we love to be in. It sure as hell beats working. [Laughs]
MMAWeekly: The Anacondas are going to meet the Silverbacks for the first time in IFL competition. This is a match-up that many thought could have been the finals of both seasons last year. How do you feel about finally getting a shot at them?
Chris Horodecki: This is what we want. These guys are the champions, definitely 100% undisputed champions and if you want to be the best you have to beat the champions. We wanted to be there in the finals, but stuff happens, it’s okay, no big deal, we fight on. This is, this is our shot and we aren’t going to leave empty handed, that’s for sure.
MMAWeekly: This season the Anacondas’ roster is mostly the same, minus one change. How do you feel about your team this year?
Chris Horodecki: I’m disappointed losing Mike Pyle, who is a great, great individual in terms of a teammate and training partner. He’s really a class-act sportsman and is a great friend. But we also have to look at the fact that he was the 170′er and did Jay Hieron a favor and I’m sure Jay is really thankful, but Pyle moved up to 185 and that’s not his natural weight class, it’s not where he should be. He wasn’t cutting weight, eating anything he wanted and was still too light. So you’ve got to make decisions that are best for yourself and he got an offer from a different organization and you’ve got to respect the man.
Benji Radach has been off for the past couple of years and has been through some unfortunate stuff. As a professional athlete he’s take the road nobody wants to take, and that’s through injuries. It’s really unfortunate, but he’s healed himself up, done all the right things, the rehab, been training his ass off and it’s his turn to shine. I’m sure coming back he’s pretty excited.
Our heavyweight Krzysztof [Sosynsky] isn’t going to be fighting. He got injured in his fight with Mike Whitehead [at the IFL Finals in December], so we’ll have a replacement fighter for him. I don’t know much about him [replacement Matt Thompson], all I know is he’s from Texas and is supposed to be good.
MMAWeekly: Even with the changes, both short and long-term, you seem pretty confident in the Anacondas’ chances this year.
Chris Horodecki: Hell yeah, it’s going to be a big year. We’ve got a really good team, a tight unit, and there’s going to be some definite good things coming out of us, you can guarantee it.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time Chris; it’s always great to have you on the site. Is there anything you’d like to say as we close out the interview?
Chris Horodecki: First off I want to thank my trainers, Bas Rutten and Shawn Tompkins, everything they’ve done for me, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Shawn Tompkins is the man, he’s internationally renowned and thanks to him I am where I am. I’ve got to thank all my training partners: Mark Hominick, Sam Stout, Lorenzo Giancola, Brian MacEchern, Aaron Tregear, and Chris Clements, all you guys thanks a lot.
I want to thank my strength and conditioning Scott Peyton, he’s done big, big things for me. Thanks finally to Sports Supplement Plus in London, Ontario for taking care of me. And a big thanks to Kurt [Otto] and Gareb [Shamus], they have faith in me and thanks to the opportunity they’ve given to me.
On February 2nd, come check it [in Houston] out or tune in [on Fox Sports Net]. It’s going to be big, we’re going to light up Texas and get ready, because the Anacondas are getting ready to kick off the year hard. [As for] me and Bart, get ready for it…it’s two Polish guys going at it, what more could you ask for?