by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy April Pishna / IFL)

With the semi-finals of this IFL season’s World Team Tournament just around the corner, the match-ups between teams and individual fighters are heating up and becoming some of the most competitive in the promotion’s short history.

Among those marquis fights on the November 2nd’s card is a lightweight battle between Chris Horodecki of Bas Rutten’s Los Angeles Anacondas and Ryan Schultz of the Matt Lindland coached Portland Wolfpack.

Horodecki – at just 18 years old – has already begun to make a name for himself as one of the true gunslingers of the IFL with his superfight win over Eric Owings in June and tournament victory against Ed West in September.

During final preparations for his fight against Schultz, Horodecki spoke to MMAWeekly from his home in Canada to discuss his success in the IFL, his match-up and the Anacondas’ chances in the World Team Tournament.

MMAWeekly: Right off the bat Chris you’ve had a lot of success in the IFL, how do you feel about your performances so far for the company?

Chris Horodecki: I feel really good. The company is off the hook, it’s awesome, it’s great to be with them. I think I’m setting my mark and the team is setting their mark, so it’s all looking good.

MMAWeekly: Last season you missed out on the team competition, so how do you feel being a part of it this time around?

Chris Horodecki: It’s great. Just being under Bas is great. He’s my trainer’s trainer, we’ve always been under his guise, and being able to represent Bas in a group that we’ve created it’s an honor. We’re a really tight group and we’re going to take the title this year.

MMAWeekly: How do you feel about your performance against Ed West as compared to your superfight with Eric Owings?

Chris Horodecki: I think I fought a little better. I didn’t engage in as many clinches like I did [in the superfight], I worked my strength a little bit more and worked my stand-up. It didn’t happen so fast but I’m happy with it.

MMAWeekly: You had a three-round fight with West; conversely the rest of the team got fast finishes, what are your thoughts on that?

Chris Horodecki: It’s actually come to be expected. It was always thought that I’d have a toughest fight with that group [the Sabres]. After looking through our opponents we assessed that I’d have the toughest opponent. It’s still pretty crazy how fast they won.

MMAWeekly: You come from Team Tompkins, known for producing some of the best strikers in MMA, have you had an opportunity to integrate that training in with your work with the Anacondas?

Chris Horodecki: The main thing is that I come from a background of really good strikers with our school; now with this team we have fighters that are really good in all aspects, which are really well-rounded. Everyone has their strong points, so we’re just taking and learning from each strong point of each fighter.

We’ve got Jay [Heiron] who’s a really good wrestler…Alex [Schoenauer] is a great jiu-jitsu guy along with [Mike] Pyle and so is Krzysztof [Soszynski]. We’re all learning the striking game and we’re all contributing. We learn from each other every practice day and I definitely think that I’m assisting the learning process.

MMAWeekly: Okay let’s talk about your upcoming fight against Ryan Schultz. Ryan is a veteran fighter whose faced some really tough competition, so what are you expecting in this fight?

Chris Horodecki: I’m feeling good, great, I trained hard and I’m planning on taking it to him. I’m expecting a tough fight. I saw his last fight and I’m ready to go to war, along with the whole team. It’s going to be a tough team fight all-around, but I think we’ve got enough team power to get the win.

MMAWeekly: Schultz is the kind of fighter that will stand and trade with you if you let him. Are you anticipating standing and trading shots with him until somebody drops?

Chris Horodecki: I like to be technical with my striking and I love to knock people out, so standing up is my main forte. If I can get a knockout then that’ll be cool, so yeah you probably might see that.

MMAWeekly: What are your thoughts on the Anacondas’ chances in the semi-finals and possibly the finals?

Chris Horodecki: I think we’re looking really good and really sharp. The fights match up really well. This is really going to be an event. From our side and the other bracket this event is going to be awesome, really good, so people should check the fights out. All the fights are going to be really interesting and we’re coming there for a reason, to win, we wouldn’t be there [otherwise].

MMAWeekly: What’s it been like working with a legend like Bas Rutten?

Chris Horodecki: My trainer [Shawn Tompkins] is one of Bas’ number one affiliates and top students, so we’ve always been under the guy [Rutten]. Now we’re really getting – especially me – a firsthand look at everything he preaches and does coming into reality. We make it work, everything he says, there’s no secrets.

The way we work, we work hard, just like he preaches and we’re going to keep working hard and fight hard. When we fight hard we fight to win and we fight with aggression and to put it all on the line. That’s how we’re going to do it.

MMAWeekly: You’re the youngest fighter in the competition; do you ever get any ribbing about that from the veteran guys?

Chris Horodecki: I have the absolute most respect for the guys that I’ve come up watching. Growing up they’re my role models and just to be up there with them is a really good feeling, a lot of pride. Nah I haven’t really taken too much [ribbing], there’s always joking around, but I’ll joke right back with them. It doesn’t bother me, I’m ready to go, I am where I am and I plan on staying here.

MMAWeekly: And of course you can always tell them that you may be young but you can still knock their asses out right?

Chris Horodecki: Well…I don’t say it like that, but yeah [laughs].

MMAWeekly: Good stuff Chris, is there anything you’d like to say to close out this interview?

Chris Horodecki: I want to thank all my training partners…Sam Stout, Lorenzo, Petey Brown…all the guys/people back home…Shawn and Bas. I want to say especially for the people to come out to the show on November 2nd, we’re going to throwdown and have a great, great show. All the fights are going to be good and just be ready for the Anacondas because we’re taking the rings this year. You better be there when the doors open and don’t blink.