by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
There have been few fighters as active over the last two years as Bart Palaszewski. Since debuting in the International Fight League in April of 2006, he has fought 11 times, making him the most active fighter in the promotion’s short history.
Over the course of that time, his fights ranged from quick KO’s to tough, grinding split decisions. Yet through most of it he remained one of the most consistent performers in the league, until his last two fights.
For the first time since he started his career in 2002, Palaszewski lost back-to-back fights, a submission loss to underdog Deividas Taurosevicius and a split decision to his league nemesis, Chris Horodecki.
After a period of introspection, Palaszewski is back and ready to rebound as he starts off a new year of action Friday night at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J. against league newcomer Jim Miller.
“I had a rough end of the year, so I took some time off. But I’m back and ready to kick it into high gear,” exclaimed Palaszewski.
“I need this fight; I need this win pretty bad. Just for my confidence boost for one, I mean, after a couple of losses I was rethinking my career almost. I guess I needed a good kick in the ass, (so) I sucked it up, got back in the gym and I’m going to do some damage.”
He then commented on the new direction of the IFL, which dropped the structured team-based format in favor of gym representation and individual fights.
“The team thing was cool,” said Palaszewski. “There was a lot of camaraderie between myself and all the guys on the Silverbacks. I met a lot of great people and got close to a lot of great people because of the team.
“It was cool, but now we are back to the way fighting’s supposed to be, one-on-one, and I’m going to do my best to win.”
His first test of the year comes in the guise of Jim Miller, a late replacement fighter that fortunately has some similar traits to Palaszewski’s original opponent, Deividas Taurosevicius.
“I know he’s a southpaw, and that’s good because the guy I was originally supposed to fight was a southpaw and we did almost a 12-week camp working stand-up for a southpaw,” Palaszewski commented.
“I know he’s a ground guy and has decent enough takedowns with the high clinch and stuff. I’m always trying to keep it standing as long as I can, try to make it exciting, but if goes to the ground, that’s fine with me.”
Now that there are opportunities to compete for individual titles, Palaszewski looks to be one of the top contenders for the lightweight belt currently held by Ryan Schultz, should he defeat Miller.
“I’m going to be with the IFL a bit longer, so I might as well chase the belt,” stated Palaszewski. “I’d love to get a belt and get ranked, if it’s the IFL or another major organization, and get the respect.
“If the fights are there, if the opponents are there, I’ll take them – I’m not going to turn a fight down. I’m always in shape and always ready to fight, so we’ll see what the year brings.”
With a new year of challenges ahead of him, Palaszewski looks to make all the work he’s put into the IFL over the last couple of years pay off with his first individual championship, beginning with his first step in Atlantic City.
“I want to come out and see a good bangfest. This is the show to be at, for sure,” concluded Palaszewski. “I want to thank all my sponsors, Fairtex, MMA Stop, Tapout, Serious Pimp, Schwartz Heating and anyone that I’m forgetting.”