by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Heading into the kickoff of the IFL’s first season earlier this year you’d be hard pressed to find a fighter as buzzed about as Los Angeles Anacondas welterweight Mike Pyle.
Prior to his match with Quad City Silverbacks’ Rory Markham in April Pyle had won 8 fights in a row, all in impressive fashion, finishing all of his opponents with relative ease. Yet against Markham, Mike had an extremely disappointing fight, being TKO’d just 44 seconds into the bout.
So when the second season of the IFL kicked off in September, Pyle, now at middleweight, came out strong and finished his opponent, John Cole of the Tokyo Sabers, in just 17 seconds, the fastest finish in IFL history.
“It felt good,” said Mike to MMAWeekly about getting his first IFL win. “It was a while since I’d lost, so it opened up my eyes a bit and got me back in the gym and hustle to get that win back. I think I might have taken Rory a little bit lightly due to his experience, so I was a little too relaxed and tried to do fancy moves right off the bat and it got me caught.”
Defeating Cole in such quick fashion isn’t something that Pyle couldn’t have prognosticated, but as Mike says, it’s just how things end up sometimes.
“I never really go into a fight intending to win a certain way,” explained Pyle. “You never know what’s going to happen in your fight, I mean you get hit in the mouth and gameplans can change in a second. It doesn’t take but you getting hurt to throw the gameplan right out the window. I just go and fight, that’s it, that’s all you need to do.”
For this season of the IFL Mike has moved up in weight to 185lbs to allow teammate Jay Heiron to participate in the World Team Tournament at welterweight. According to Pyle the added weight wasn’t a hindrance in his fight against Cole and it won’t be in his future bouts this season.
“That’s what I always walk around at anyway before I cut down to 170lbs,” expounded Mike. “That’s what I train at every day so fighting at that [weight] was nothing at all. I’ve got more strength at this weight and in fact several of my fights were at 185lbs anyway, so it wasn’t anything new.”
Next up for Pyle is Portland Wolfpack middleweight Matt Horwich on November 2nd, a fighter known for his hard head and submission skills, which Mike is well aware of and has compensated for in his fight strategy.
“I’ve got 10 years in Brazilian jiu-jitsu so I’m no stranger to the ground and in fact most of my fights end in submission as well, so if that’s the way it is then that’s fine,” exclaimed Mike. “I’ve just got to stick and move on the guy and not get into a big wrestling match with him. A big mistake a lot of people make with Horwich is that they go out and try to knock him out and get tired and then he gets them down and submits them, so we’ve got the gameplan [to avoid that].”
“It’s all about winning and getting my team to the finals. I’ll do whatever it takes to win. I know he’s going to try to take it to the ground, which is fine, I’m ready for that, and I’m prepared in every aspect. Anything he can throw at me I’ve seen it and worse from the talent that I train with,” continued Pyle.
As for Mike’s team, the Anacondas coached by Bas Rutten, he feels that they’ve improved drastically over last season’s unpropitious performance and that they’ve got a great chance of defeating Matt Lindland’s Wolfpack.
“I feel we’re doing great, we’ve come together a lot,” proclaimed Pyle. “We went to Bas’ place before the last fight for a couple weeks training, got to know one another and got that team concept together. It all came together great and we’ll be even strong this time as well.”
“I think we’re going to beat them up. We’ve got some tough fights on our hands but each one of the guys they have aren’t well-rounded. They can strike here and there but mainly most of these guys are grapplers for the most part. They’re pretty much one-dimensional and when the rough gets going they’re going to go back to their roots and that’s what we plan on doing…take away their options so they can only do what we want them to do. We’ve got a gameplan for these guys,” added Mike.
As the Anacondas continue to win, their exposure will continue to grow, as Pyle himself experienced on a recent broadcast of the IFL on FSN when his personal life became a subject of feature.
“I think that’s good,” said Mike of the IFL’s increased focus on fighter’s person lives. “The public needs to see how we live on an every day life. We’re not any different than any other athlete out there trying to make it, like the NFL, we’re the same kind of people that they are. The way that the IFL are approaching it, it lets the average Joe see inside of our lives, the kind of people we are and how we live…I think it’s great.”
Mike concluded the conversation by saying, “I’d like to thank Couture Supplements. And to the fans just tune in to FSN next month and watch the Anacondas go to the finals…and in December check us out winning the finals…then check us out next season starting in January. [My fight] is going to be action-packed, that’s for sure and I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to make Matt Horwich bleed.”