Preview part II: The Journeymen
Dickie Crash Crash began his career in impressive fashion, winning a MW tourney at ICON-HMFL in which he finished all opponents via strikes. He then lost a title shot in his next fight. Crash was at HMFL for his next 9 fights, challenging for the title twice more but never able to claim the gold. He then moved on to AMS FC and had mixed results, going 5-3 but leaving on a 3 fight winning streak. UPG was the next org to sign Crash and they had him challenge for a title in his debut. He lost that fight and his next two, so he is entering EPL on a three fight losing streak. Crash is a dangerous striker with good power, his chin has failed him against top opponents, but he's not a guy to get finished quick which will serve him well in EPL.
Brandon Hale A SYN representative, Hale comes in off of two impressive performances under new management. Having gone 6-2-1 in SYN is impressive, but an EPL crown would go a long way to taking him into world renown level. The former Dominance champion is known to have success when changing camps in the past, so this might be the perfect opportunity to climb the ranks. Hale is a powerful striker and has proven to be very durable. I think he is the most likely of the "Journeymen" to win EPL gold.
Bastien Harris Harris is another fighter that started his career on an impressive streak and really looked to be a future top fighter. He went 8-0 at SFC and held the title before losing and then reclaiming the title from Jacques Don Pierre in impressive fashion. The rest of his SFC career had mixed results as opponents and Harris both went headhunting. Harris' all action fights and brutal power made him an SFC favorite. He left the org in search of new opponents and really struggled at times after a drop in weight. Harris recently went on a 4 fight losing streak, but bounced back and really looked to have regained his early career form in his last fight. Getting back up to a higher weight class and doing some damage in EPL may just be the thing he needs to get his career back on track.
Hilton Teimosia Former Troid LW champion Hilton Teimosa is moving up in weight to try his hand at EPL. Hilton has been struggling lately, going 3-5 in his last eight fights but that has been against some decent competition at LW. Hilton had been the definition of a journeyman early in his career as he bounced from org to org early on. He finally got comfortable and settled at Troid when he first got there and reeled off a 4 fight winning streak including three title wins. After dropping the belt to Sam Urai, and then losing the rematch after a bounce back win, Hilton had mixed results. He left Troid and went to UPG and compiled a 1-2 record there. As one of the shorter fighters in the tournament, Teimosa will have to really rely on his power to carry him through.
Justin Hall Like Hale, Hall also has been on a tear under new management. He has gone 7-2 since joining the Blunts camp and has seemed to come into his own as an mma fighter. Under Blunts, Hall has developed as a striker to complement his wrestling game. Like Teimosa, Hall has a Troid and UPG background. But he's never contended for a title. Looking to prove himself on the top level led Hall to sign up for EPL.
Artie DeVanzo All the skills in the world havent allowed Artie to overcome his chinniness. He's hoping a drop down in weight to a more natural weight class will allow him to finally fulfill the lofty potential he once was seen to have. Artie is no stranger to tournaments, having participated in two ITFL's and an AMS tournament. Those tournies have allowed Artie to accumulate a whopping 29 fights at the tender young age of 26. If Artie's jaw can hold up at a lighter weight, he could make waves in EPL.
Alexandr Nikitin Nikitin is probably the least accomplished fighter in this seasons EPL. I'm sure he's hoping his rather unique for EPL skillset will give him a chance to pull some upsets and challenge for the title. Nikitin is the only red belt to ever compete in EPL, and will put his opponent in a great deal of trouble if he can get the fight to the ground. As we saw in last seasons EPL, the grapplers seemed to flourish as the season went on and fighter fatigue set in. He gets a tough draw in the first round against a tourney favorite in Billy Beast. Alexandr is looking to prove that grappling isnt dead in EPL.