by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy April Pishna / IFL)
If you like fireworks in your fights then look no further than the upcoming match-up between the Portland Wolfpack’s Ryan Schultz and Chris Horodecki of the Los Angeles Anacondas at this coming Thursday’s IFL show in Portland, Oregon.
Both fighters are extremely aggressive and love to stand and trade, making this fight possibly the most exciting of the semi-finals of the IFL’s second season World Team Tournament.
In helping their respective teams reach the semi-finals, both fighters won their quarter-final bouts this past September, and for Schultz it represented an opportunity to finally settle the score with a local rival.
“I feel good about it,” said Ryan of his win over fellow Oregonian Cam Ward of Maurice Smith’s Tiger Sharks. “I wish I was a little more aggressive and knocked him out sooner, but other than that I feel good about it. I didn’t take any damage whatsoever so I feel it was pretty solid.”
Schultz’s debut against Ward in September was the culmination of a long and sometimes bumpy road to finally see himself in a major American MMA promotion after a couple of years of being one of the most feared and fan-favorite lightweights around.
“I like it a lot,” commented Ryan on the IFL. “I’m a big fan, I like the team aspect of it coming from a wrestling background, wrestling in teams is kind of the same thing. So I liked it and I think they’re doing really well.”
Speaking of his team, the Matt Lindland trained Wolfpack, Schultz is overall pleased with their performance and feels that members could avenge losses to the Tiger Sharks if given an opportunity to.
“I think everybody performed well,” stated Ryan. “I know Devin Cole and Chris Wilson were a little upset with their performances but they came out hard and fought tough. I think Devin can beat that guy [Allan Goes] and I think Chris can beat Brad [Blackburn]. They’re refreshed and looking great right now. As far as the overall performance goes I think everybody fought their asses off.”
When it comes to Schultz’s opponent on November 2nd, Chris Horodecki, Ryan is confident that he’ll be able to dominate the fight wherever it goes in the ring.
“I know I can take him on the ground, there’s no doubt about that, and I’m pretty sure I can take him on his feet,” proclaimed Schultz. “He may have his technique with all his kickboxing but I’m pretty sure – and this is just my opinion – in six fights I don’t think he’s been hit as hard by anybody as I can hit. Cam Ward’s been hit by some people, but like I said, when you get hit by me, you ain’t getting back up.”
Ryan continued, “I’m just saying, I’m not afraid of this kid’s stand up, I’m really not afraid of much of his fighting [style]. I respect him as a fighter, the kid can fight and one thing I like about him is that he’s aggressive as hell. I like that because I think that sort of style brings it right into my world because that’s how I like to fight. I’m getting tired of chasing people down, if he wants to come at me and try to hurt me, well then I’ll be right in my game. I like the match-up, I really, really do.”
Schultz’s exhuberance towards his fight also translates to how he feels about his team’s chances against Bas Rutten’s Anacondas.
“Everybody’s looking good, real good,” exclaimed Ryan. “Everybody’s ready to roll. We’re just going to get in there and get after it in front of our home crowd; it’s going to be great. I’m looking to win this, my individual fight and overall I think we’re going to beat them.”
Not only does Schultz’s confidence stem from the capabilities of himself and his team, but also having the opportunity to prove mentor and coach Matt Lindland knows what he’s doing when it comes to choosing his team is another motivating factor.
“Matt’s a good friend of mine – not just a coach – but a good friend of mine and I would like to have him in my corner, standing behind me saying, ‘this is my best 155lb fighter,'” said Ryan. “Of course that makes you walk a little taller, knowing that he has that [belief] in you. So it’s always great to get out there and perform for him and show that he knows what he’s talking about when he puts the right guys in there.”
“So yeah we’re definitely fighting for pride for sure, it’s just to say, ‘you’re right, you’ve seen talent and you know what it is, you picked the right guys.’ He wants to win just as much as we do…he’s one of the fiercest competitors out there, he loves to win,” further commented Schultz.
Anticipation is high on all sides, from fans, fighters and the IFL for this Thursday’s semi-finals of the World Team Tournament. And as Ryan puts it, he, the Wolfpack and the IFL is going to deliver on all the build-up.
“Just come out and watch these fights, they’re going to be great,” concluded Schultz. “We look forward to seeing the fans out there and are looking forward to putting on a show. In my fight, personally I feel this kid’s going to bring the fight to me and I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited for this one, this kid likes to bang and I like it. [As for] the team’s fights, we’re prepared for sure; we’re going to the finals.”