September 10, 2006

by Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com (Photos courtesy of IFL & April Pishna)
(Top to bottom: Lindland kicking Horn; Hieron choking out Sotelo; and West upkicking Horodecki)

PORTLAND, OREGON – For their first foray outside of Atlantic City, the International Fight League drew a paid audience of 5,349 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. At the World Team Championship, Matt Lindland continued to prove his rank as one of the top fighters in the world, his team won their debut, and Bas Rutten’s Los Angeles Anacondas swept through the Tokyo Sabres.

In one of the most anticipated middleweight fights of the year, Matt Lindland secured his position as one of the best, if not thee best, fighters in the division. Moments after the second round started it was all over, with Jeremy Horn later saying, “I fought like an amateur and Matt fought like a pro.”

Like he has done to opponents so many times before, Lindland stifled Horn’s game plan and implemented his own strategy. Any time that Horn would seem to start taking control, Lindland would stuff his attempts and land a shot or two that appeared to stun the 100-plus fight veteran. But it was the finish that was truly stunning. As the second round started, Horn landed a good cut kick, but Lindland returned fire with an effective combination and a high kick to the head. Out of nowhere, he followed with a devastating left hook that dropped Horn. Lindland went to the mat after him and continued to throw punches, but it only took moments for referee Dave Hagen to call a halt to the fight at 0:21 of round two.

Asked where he now fit in the middleweight division, completely glossing over UFC champion Rich Franklin, Lindland remarked, “I really think that Dan Henderson and I are the best middleweights in the world.”

Kicking off the debut of Matt Lindland’s Portland Wolfpack, Ryan “The Lion” Schultz got his team off to a winning start. After a slow first round, Schultz put Tiger Shark Cam Ward on the ground in the second with an overhand right. Ward got up, but Schultz followed with a flurry that put him down again. Caught up in the ropes, referee Shawn Gregory stood the fighters up and when Ward appeared to be wobbly, he waved off the fight.

Brad Blackburn of the Tiger Sharks tied up the team competition 1-1 with a unanimous decision over Chris Wilson. The first round was all Blackburn as he caught a kick from Wilson and then put him down with a crushing right hand, but Wilson kept going. In the end, it was Blackburn that seemed to get the better of most of the exchanges and the judges agreed.

Taking the lead back for the Wolfpack, Matt Horwich outlasted Tiger Shark Bristol Marunde. Both fighters were very active trading blows throughout, but Horwich seemed to maintain his steam a little better as the fight wore on, connecting with a series of high kicks to the head to start the third round and landing knees consistently throughout. Horwich put the Wolfpack back in the lead 2-1 with a unanimous decision.

In the light heavyweight division, Reese Andy got of to a good start early, landing a knee to the head that dropped Aaron Stark to his knees. Unfortunately, he followed up with another knee to the head while Stark was down, which is illegal, thus allowing him time to recover. Stark came back strong, landing strikes more frequently throughout the second round. In the third, he got to mount and rained down blows until the referee felt Andy couldn’t continue. Stark’s win put the Wolfpack up 3-1 and secured his team a trip to the semi-finals of the World Team Championship on November 4th.

Recently contemplating retirement, heavyweight Allan Goes came back strong tonight for the Tiger Sharks, earning a hard fought victory over the younger, but heavier Devin Cole. Trading blows early on, Cole seemed to be edging ahead with the harder punches, even dropping Goes with an upper cut followed by some jack hammer right hands. At one point, Cole went for a takedown only to find himself caught in a guillotine choke. Goes locked on the choke while falling to his back, turned it over while on the ground, and forced Cole to tap out as the choke got tighter and Goes cranked on his neck. The Wolfpack won their IFL debut, but the Tiger Sharks kept it to a respectable 3-2 score with Goes’ victory.

Chris Horodecki started things off for the Anacondas with a unanimous decision over the Sabres’ Ed West. Horodecki continually took West down with leg trips, peppering him on the ground and using some effective knees while standing, although West nearly secured a Kimura shoulder lock in the second.

With the Anacondas up 1-0, Jay Hieron wasted no time making it 2-0. He put Amos Sotelo on the mat with a right round kick to the face, then followed him down and secured a guillotine choke for the tapout at 26 seconds into the first round.

Not wanting to be outdone by his teammate, Mike Pyle stuffed John Cole’s takedown attempt by slapping on a guillotine choke for the tapout just 17 seconds into the bout. With the win, the Anacondas took a 3-0 lead and moved on to the next round of the World Team Championship.

No one can say that Alex Schoenauer isn’t a team player. When Kazuhiro Hamanaka shot in to take him down, he also locked on the guillotine choke and finished the fight 1:04 into the round. It was the third consecutive guillotine choke finish for the Anacondas.

Making it a clean sweep of 5-0 for the Bas Rutten-coached team, Krzysztof Soszynski survived a cut over his right eye and finished Tom Howard with a series of upper cuts and hooks. Antonio Inoki’s Tokyo Sabres go home with a goose egg.

In the first of two alternate bouts, Shane Johnson of the Sabres defeated Bobby Johnson of the Anacondas by TKO with a jumping right knee to the jaw. The second alternate bout was won by the Wolfpack’s Brian Foster when he dropped Dustin Denes with a left hook. Although Foster hammered Denes with the hook, it actually seemed to be a very quick stoppage by referee Steve Newport, as Denes had his hands out to break his fall before he hit the mat.

World Team Championship
September 9, 2006
Memorial Coliseum
Portland, Oregon

Matt Lindland def. Jeremy Horn by TKO at 0:21, Round 2


Allan Goes (Tiger Sharks) def. Devin Cole (Wolfpack) by Guillotine Choke at 2:05, Round 1

Aaron Stark (Wolfpack) def. Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks) by TKO at 2:00, Round 3

Matt Horwich (Wolfpack) def. Bristol Marunde by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds

Brad Blackburn (Tiger Sharks) def. Chris Wilson (Wolfpack) by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds

Ryan Schultz (Wolfpack) def. Cam Ward (Tiger Sharks) by TKO at 2:38, Round 2

Brian Foster (Wolfpack) def. Dustin Denes (Tiger Sharks) by TKO at 3:30, Round 2


Krzysztof Soszynski (Anacondas) vs. Tom Howard (Sabres)

Alex Schoenauer (Anacondas) def. Kazuhiro Hamanaka (Sabres) by Guillotine Choke at 1:04, Round 1

Mike Pyle (Anacondas) def. John Cole (Sabres) by Guillotine Choke at 0:17, Round 1

Jay Hieron (Anacondas) def. Amos Sotelo (Sabres) by Guillotine Choke at 0:26, Round 1

Chris Horodecki (Anacondas) def. Ed West (Sabres) by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds

Shane Johnson (Sabres) def. Bobby Johnson (Anacondas) by TKO at 2:37, Round 3