by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Today, the International Fight League announced the participants in the first ever IFL Grand Prix that will crown a champion in each of the organization’s five weight classes.
First, in the highly competitive lightweight division, the rematch that everybody has been asking for will be a first round match-up when undefeated Anaconda’s team member, Chris Horodecki takes on Bart Palaszewski. These two went to war earlier this year with Horodecki coming out on top via a split decision. The other match-up in the lightweight division will see Wagnney Fabiano against John Gunderson. The alternate in the lightweight division will be Shad Lierly, who also had a phenomenal performance in a losing effort to Horodecki earlier this year as well.
In the welterweight division, former UFC competitor Jay Hieron will take on Antonio McKee in what should be a great fight between two very strong wrestlers. Delson Heleno from Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls will step up against Mark Miller from the Red Bears. Noticeably absent from the welterweight list is Rory Markham who was one of the top fighters in the IFL last year but has dealt with a number of injuries this year that has kept him out of much of the team competition during the season.
The middleweight division should be very competitive with Benji Radach, who has just been destroying fighters en route to this Grand Prix, and will take on Brent Beauparlant from the Toronto Dragons, while Matt “Suave” Horwich will face off against Brian Foster. Radach should be seen as the clear favorite in this division after virtually walking through all the competition he faced in his debut season with the IFL.
The light heavyweight division will see Vladimir Matyushenko, who much like Radach has been dominating so far this season, against Alex Schoenauer, which should be a very exciting match-up and the other side of the bracket will feature Mike Whitehead, who has rejuvenated his career with the IFL, fighting Mike Ciesnolevicz from the defending champion Silverbacks.
Another rematch will headline the heavyweight division of the Grand Prix as Ben Rothwell, who is still undefeated through 3 seasons in the IFL, take on Roy Nelson. These two fought in a very close match-up earlier this season that ended in a split decision victory for Rothwell and this fight should settle the score between these two heavyweights. Antoine Jaoude will take on Reese Andy for the other spot in the finals for the new IFL heavyweight title.
The remaining alternates are Pat Healy in the welterweight division, Fabio Leopoldo in the middleweight division, Jamal Patterson for the light heavyweights, and Bryan Vetell for the heavyweights.
The IFL Grand Prix will kick off in Chicago on November 2nd.