The IFL has its first event of the season at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. In front of an announced attendance of 5,005, the IFL began its first full season of competition.
Niko Vitale vs. Jeremy Horn
Horn made his comeback to the IFL after an unsuccessful first go around even considering retirement for short time but instead chose to comeback to fighting after sorting out some personal problems. Vitale was coming off his first win in almost two years. Vitale started out well with body shots before being slammed to the ground by Horn. Horn easily moved into the mount but Vitale escaped to his feet. After some clinch work Horn was able to take Vitale down to end the round. The second and third rounds played out the same as Vitale landed solid shots on the feet, while Horn tried hard to get the fight on the ground. Down two rounds to one, Horn came out more aggressive in the fourth as he opened up on the feet and was finally able to get the fight on the ground to end the round. With the fight up in the air in the final round, both fighters came out strong. Horn went for a takedown but Vitale locked on a kimura but Horn was able to escape, going for a takedown and both fighters almost fell out of the ring. Vitale got taken down by Horn but is able to get back to his feet and then got one of his own. Vitale went for a leg lock but Horn reversed with Vitale on his back. The fight ended with Vitale getting back up to his feet. The first score was 48-47 for Horn, the second score 48-47 for Vitale and the final score being 48-47 for Horn giving him the split decision win.
Seattle Tigersharks (coached by Maurice Smith) vs. Southern California Condors (coached by Marco Ruas)
Shad Lierley made his MMA debut against veteran Adam Lynn in a lightweight contest. After a failed takedown by Lierley, he landed a huge right hand that drops Lynn and he finishes him off with strikes to get his first win in his MMA debut, giving the Tigersharks an early lead. 1-0
Antoine Jaoude took on Curtis Crawford as both heavyweights were making their IFL debuts here. Jaoude put on a wrestling clinic throughout the entire fight as he was able to put Crawford on his back. All three rounds resembled each other as while on the feet Crawford would have the advantage but never really got a chance to do any real damage as Jaoude was able to control the fight with his takedowns and ground control. Jaoude took home a unanimous decision getting 30-27 on two cards and 29-28 on the last judge score card. 1-1
The third team fight was an alternate lightweight bout that now counted on the team standings because the welterweight bout was scrapped because of an eye injury sustained by the Condor’s Rodrigo Ruas. The Condor’s Danny Suarez was able to submit MMA newcomer Tristan Witt with a modified shoulder lock after unsuccessfully trying to lock on a triangle choke, Suarez got the win at 1:28 in the first round to give the Condor’s the lead. 1-2
Jeremy Williams made his return to MMA after a four year hiatus to take on the Tigersharks Bristol Marunde in a middleweight bout. Williams wasted no time as he quickly locked on a guillotine choke but was slammed by Marunde. Shortly after, Williams locked on a triangle choke that put Marunde to sleep at 1:13 in the the first round giving the Condors the team victory. 1-3
In a light heavyweight bout, Reese Andy of the Tigersharks used his impressive wrestling skills to ground Justin Levens en route to a unanimous decision victory. Andy was able to takedown Levens at will and he was able to control him on the ground without much offense being offered by Levens. Levens only shining moment in the fight came in the round as he went for a triangle but Andy was able to escape and win unanimous decision with all cards 30-27. Still, the Condors defeated the Tigersharks overall by the score of 3 to 2.
Nevada Lions (coached by Ken Shamrock) vs. San Jose Razorclaws (coached by Frank Shamrock)
In what was the fight of the night, John Gunderson of the Lions traded submissions with Josh Odom in an exciting lightweight bout. Odom hurt Gunderson early with punches and made him take the fight to the ground. Odom locked on an armbar but Gunderson slammed his way out of it, then going for a heel hook that Odom narrowly escaped. Gunderson was able to mount Odom and lock on a triangle choke form the top, finishing the fight from his back and getting the tap at 3:05 in the first round. 1-0
Roy Nelson made an impressive debut as the Lions heavyweight dispatched of the Razorclaw’s Vince Lucero early on the first round. After some exchanges on the feet, Nelson got a takedown then mounted Lucero finishing him with strikes at 1:58 into the first round. 2-0
Another lightweight bout replaced a scheduled light heavyweight contest. Razorclaw’s Clint Coronel won a controversial fight in the second round over the Lion’s Joe Martin. Coronel go the best of the stand-up in the first round but Martin survived by taking the fight to the ground. In the second round, Coronel landed a right hand that dropped Martin as he rained down blows, Martin defended well but the referee stopped the fight even though Martin was fine. None the less , Coronel scored the TKO win only forty five seconds into the second round. 2-1
Pat Healy was able to use a solid strategy to win his fight over the Razorclaw’s welterweight Ray Steinbeiss. He took Steinbeiss down at will for the entire fight, which made for a rather boring fight because once on the ground Healy really didn’t do much. Steinbeiss tried hard to get escape but Healy was able to keep him grounded for the entire fight, winning the fight by unanimous decision with all 30-27 score cards in his favor giving the Lions the team win over the Razorclaws. 3-1
Razorclaws middleweight Brian Foster showed dominance over the game Dan Molina. Molina tried hard for takedowns and leg locks, not really having much success with either one. During the first round, the lights suddenly went out for the moment halting the fight while they came back on. In the second round, Foster was penalized a point for holding the ropes. It didn’t end up mattering because Foster was able to finish Molina off with strikes form the back mount at 2:05 into the second round. 3-2, the Nevada Lions defeat the San Jose Razorclaws.