by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
This past weekend in Chicago, Illinois, the IFL’s Quad Cities Silverbacks faced a must-win situation when they went up against the hometown Red Bears in a best of five team battle.
In order for the Silverbacks to cement themselves in good position for one of four slots in this year’s World Team Tournament, they had to win their team battle, and thanks to the efforts of team members such as lightweight Bart Palaszewski, the Silverbacks won 3-2 and currently sit in the driver’s seat for the last remaining playoff spot.
For Palaszewski individually, his convincing 48-second victory over veteran fighter John Strawn put him back amongst the league’s most exciting fighters, after having a string of close call split-decisions.
“It went perfectly,” commented Bart on his victory over Strawn. “It was a perfect win, just in and out, like I like to get it done. It’s only happened a few times, but that was the perfect scenario – just knock him out in under a minute. [Laughs]”
For fans unfamiliar with John Strawn, he had headed into his fight with Palaszewski with an impressive 40 fights under his belt, including battles with notable fighters like UFC veterans Spencer Fisher, Din Thomas and Clay Guida.
So when it came time for Bart to face the most experienced fighter he ever had in IFL competition, you would think that he would maybe make changes to his routine, but not so says Palaszewski.
“I never change,” said Bart. “My training regimen is always the same. I try to find out about the person I’m fighting a little bit, but I don’t watch tapes or anything. It’s just more like word of mouth or if a person has seen them fight, or I have seen them fight before.”
“I never watch footage; I just go in, do my thing and hopefully come out on top,” continued Palaszewski.
Bart’s win, coupled with victories by light-heavyweight Mike Ciesnolevicz and heavyweight Ben Rothwell put the Silverbacks in the driving seat, at least for now, for a spot in the playoffs amongst the teams that were 1-1 heading into this past weekend’s action.
Still, even with the win, the Silverbacks’ fate is up in the air, as Palaszewski explained, “We’re looking okay right now, [but] we’re not in definitely. We’ve got to see how the other teams do over couple months and then figure out how teams finish.”
By only winning 3-2 over the Chicago Red Bears, the Silverbacks placed themselves ahead of the Southern California Condors in the standings, but they did not definitively take control of their own destinies, which has Bart understandably less than thrilled.
“It obviously sucked that we lost two,” admitted Palaszewski. “But it happens, that’s the fight game. We always go in there with the attitude of winning all five of them and when it doesn’t happen, it bums me out for sure.”
With his victory Bart goes to 2-1 this season and from all accounts he’s heard, regardless of the Silverbacks fate in the World Team Tournament, he should be headed to the individual Grand Prix at the end of the season.
“Yeah, I guess the way I finished my last fight, it kind of put me into the Grand Prix,” said Palaszewski. “That’s what I was told. They had me ranked as Number 3 in the lightweights this year. Chris [Horodecki of the Anacondas] was Number 1, Savant Young [of the Sabres] was Number 2, so I think this win kind of clinched it for me.”
Bart added, “I definitely want to do to the Grand Prix. I hope we [the team] make it into the semi-finals or finals, because I want to get some fights in, I don’t want to be sitting for six months. It’s one thing for the IFL to go every five weeks like they’ve had us doing, but six months is kind of too long for me. If they want me in the Grand Prix, I’m going to do it pretty much for sure.”
With the fate of the Quad Cities Silverbacks currently up in the air, all Palaszewski can do is wait and see what the other teams in the IFL do over the coming months, and continue to work on his game.
When he does step back into the ring though, Bart advises fans should expect nothing less than one of the best fighters the IFL has to offer, at any weight class.
“I just want to thank everybody for supporting the Silverbacks, not just me, but the whole team. I would like to thank Sandy from Canada for hooking me up,” concluded Palaszewski. “I hope all the fans watch out for me, either way, whether we go into the [World Team] Tournament or not, but watch out for me in the Grand Prix.”