Ironman Fight Club IIX - Preview
Another exciting Ironman Fight Club event is almost upon us and it will feature the first title defence in the organisations history when Ricky “Big Tex” Hughes takes on challenger Steven “The Steamroller” Kennedy. Also on the card, a grudge match with Eldar Tskhadaia and Corwin "Vindicate" Valentine going at it once more after their first match was stopped in controversy and a title eliminator to decide who will get the next crack at the gold when #3 ranked Battle Ram takes on #2 ranked Mew Choo.
Boyd “The Vanilla Og” Clark (170lbs, 1-1) vs. Alex Stefanovic (192lbs, 0-0)
Opening the evening we have Boyd Clark who welcomes fellow Aussie Alex Stefanovic to the IFC in what is sure to be an exciting match up. So far in his short career Clark has shown a fairly well rounded skill set and a willingness to mix it up on all levels. Marking his third fight in the IFC tonight, Boyd will no doubt be looking to take advantage of his opponents lack of experience. With not much known about Stefanovic we can only assume he will be looking to make an immediate impact with his Muay Thai expertise.
Jay Stevens (185lbs, 0-2) vs. Akio Yamamoto (150lbs, 1-2)
Up next, Jay Stevens is making his second appearance in the IFC and looking to turn his fortune around with a win over fellow struggler Akio Yamamoto. In his IFC debut, Stevens was taken down and despite holding a purple belt in BJJ was unable to stop the ground offence of grappler Schmorgan Biscuit. Akio Yamamoto will also be making his second appearance in the IFC after falling short in his debut. Last time out he lost a decisive decision to debutant Gin Cobra. Tonight, both fighters will have an opportunity to put the past behind them. Stevens has the edge in the stand up and Yamamoto possibly gets the nod on the floor. With the rumours that both fighters haven't dealt very well mentally after their losses this fight will simply come down to who will want it the most.
Ibrahim Moizoos (279lbs, 1-1) vs. Andy Bogard (150lbs, 1-2)
Ibrahim Moizoos is an exciting super heavyweight prospect who current sports a 1-1 record. Having started his career with the IFC, he will be looking to capitalise on the momentum built off his previous fight, a KO win over Muay Thai fighter Roarus Dinosaur. He will face Andy Bogard who is also enjoying a victory in his last fight. Bogard will be giving up a large amount of weight here and although has been working on his Muay Thai lately, he will still be second best on the feet and quite foolish to think he could hang with the larger Moizoos. Currently a brown belt, Bogard’s strength is in his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Moizoos’ weapons of choice are his fists and as a result should be very reluctant to engage Bogard in any close quarter regard.
Paul Michael Levesque (255lbs, 1-2) vs. Dream Panda (254lbs, 2-1)
Up next we have the battle of the takedown. Two natural heavyweights collide as Paul Michael Levesque takes on Dream Panda. Levesque has a record of 1-2 and last time out lost his IFC debut to the tenacious Klaus Chugman. Making perhaps the tactical error of taking ground specialist Chugman down, he found himself inside the guard and succumbed to a guillotine choke in just 27 seconds. Against Panda he might not have to be so careful as so far Dream Panda hasn't shown much of a submission game. What he has shown is that he possesses tremendous strength and is willing to grind out a win even if it isn't the most pleasing of spectacles. So far no one has managed to stop either fighter from taking them down. Levesque does posses some boxing skills but as yet we’ve seen very little eagerness to stand and strike. Whether Levesque will choose to do so here we will have to wait and see but I think one thing is guaranteed and that is that someone is getting a take down
Jimbo “Gpk” Bradbrook (160lb, 1-0) vs. Klaus “The House” Chugman (130lbs, 3-1)
Fight number five will be a contest between natural Lightweight Jimbo “Gpk” Bradbrook and natural flyweight Klaus “The House” Chugman. Bradbrook, who is currently 1-0 with a solitary KO win on his record will be making his IFC debut against a fighter currently on a three fight win streak. Chugman, 3-1, has come a long way since his mma debut where he was KO'd in just 17 seconds by previous number one contender Serj Malakian. Since then he has bounced back impressively with accumulative submission victories over much larger opponents. Bradbrook faces a baptism of fire here in his IFC debut and if Bradbrook has any hope of stopping Chugman it will be imperative that he keep the fight standing and use his superior striking skills and weight advantage.
Corwin “Vindicate” Valentine (185lbs, 4-3) vs. (#8) Eldar Tskhadaia (243lbs, 3-0)
Up next we have two fighters hoping to pick up where they left of in an immediate rematch following controversy during their last bout. Corwin Valentine was really starting to find his rhythm before an unfortunate cut stoppage derailed his momentum. Riding a four fight win streak at the time and having showcased an efficient, well rounded skill set he went into the fight favored to win against wrestler Eldar Tskhadaia. Eldar came into the bout undefeated at 2-0 but Valentine was a marked step up in competition for him. During their last bout, Tskhadaia was able to take Valentine down early and control him with what is quickly becoming his trademark ground and pound. Opening a cut within the first minute he was able to keep chopping away leaving the referee no choice but to stop the fight. The Valentine team was understandably unhappy with the decision and insisted he could still fight. Backstage afterwards, Valentines managers lobbied hard for an immediate rematch. Eldar and his team agreed and so here we are. Both fighters will have a better idea of what to expect and will have been able to prepare accordingly.
This fight will be fireworks and I for one am very excited to see what happens.
Vic “Bonebreaker” Nikolai (185lbs, 3-2) vs. Daniel “The Unsanitary” Sainty (150lbs, 2-2)
Vic Nikolai is on a two fight win streak and is beginning to make his name for himself as someone to be feared on the ground. His opponent, Daniel Sainty, has also notched two in a row after coming back from two brutal KO losses to heavy handed hitters. This match up is sure to be contested on the ground as both fighters are most comfortable there. Nikolai has a great takedown but Sainty will likely not worry to much about finding himself on his back. Nikolai will have a slight weight advantage but Sainty has finished heavier guys before. Sainty has never met someone with as good a wrestling pedigree as Nikolai though and it will be interesting to see whether he will be able to create the space to find submissions off his back. Nikolai will no doubt look to make it uncomfortable for Sainty and wear him down before looking for a submission.
Gin Kobra (140lbs, 2-1) vs. Lenny “Fagan Blaster” Manelito (185lbs, 1-0)
In his last fight Gin Kobra made his debut in the IFC and won a unanimous decision against Akio Yamamoto. Kobra had been looking for a place to call home for a while and the Ironman Fight Club is happy to welcome him. His opponent is Lenny Manelito who is making his IFC debut. With only one fight under his belt not much is known about Manelito other than, like Kobra, seems relatively well rounded at this level. Manelito will have a weight advantage in what otherwise looks like a pretty even contest.
(#3) “The Barbarian” Battle Ram (220lbs, 7-0) vs. (#2) Mew Choo (191lbs, 3-0)
Our co-main event this evening is being billed as a IFC title eliminator with the winner highly expected to get the next shot at the Ironman crown.
“The Barbarian” Battle Ram, ranked #3 currently, burst into the IFC off the back of a 16 man QFC tournament win. From there he took out mid carder Heath Bace with an impressive KO and then last time, at IFC VII, took out then number 4 ranked contender Wolfgang Lee Roth again via KO. With 5 of his 7-0 record ending either with his opponent napping or the referee stepping in its easy to see what “The Barbarian” is about; Pain. His opponent tonight also has a taste for KO’s and has finished his last fight in just 10 seconds. Mew Choo will be giving up a little weight here but it’s not expected to make any difference. Choo holds a purple belt in BJJ and has shown he possesses submission knowledge. Although Ram has a preference for standing, its arguably Mew Choo who has the edge in the striking. On paper and in the cage are two very different things however and it will come down to who can put it together best.
(Champion) Ricky “Big Tex” Hughes (264lbs, 5-0) vs. (#1) Steven “The Steamroller” Kennedy (178lbs, 3-1)
In our main event of the evening, Ricky Hughes makes the first defence of his Ironman championship belt against the popular Steven Kennedy.
So far Big Tex has battered everyone in his path and he has done it very quickly. In five fights only one fighter has managed to make it out of the first round. Tonight, Steven “The Steamroller” Kennedy gets an opportunity to see whether he can do what others so far haven't been able to. It would be easy to discount Kennedy’s chances of a win if he hadn’t just taken out undefeated striker Serj Malakian to earn this shot. Kennedy surprised a lot of people and will be hoping to pull off another upset here. This will be Hughes stiffest test so far and Kennedy is expected to push him further than he’s been before. Kennedy will have the edge in the grappling but the general consensus however is that Hughes is too big, too mean and too clever to get drawn into a fight on the ground. Hughes is the champion and he will have no intention of falling short so soon after winning the gold.