Thursday, February 22, 2007

Gwinnett entertains International Fight League

By Brandon Brigman - Gwinnett Daily Post

The growing sport of mixed martial arts comes to Gwinnett on Friday when the Arena at Gwinnett Center will host the International Fight League. Four teams from the IFL's 12-member league will compete in the third event of the season. The previous two events were held in Oakland and Houston and drew approximately 5,500 fans.

"If people like mixed martial arts, then they will like our product," Public relations manager of the IFL Jerry Milani said. "We think we make it more exciting for fans. We have highly talented professionals and fans will get to see a little bit of everything that mixed martial arts has to offer."

The Toronto Dragons, coached by Carlos Newton, will take on the Portland Wolfpack, who is coached by Matt Lindland. The Chicago Red Bears, coached by Igor Zinoviev, will fight the New York Pitbulls, who are coached by Renzo Gracie. In addition to the four teams competing, Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Robbie Lawler will battle Eduardo Pamplona in the Superfight.

"What's great about the Superfight is it's a great bonus fight," Milani said.
In the team competitions, Toronto's Brent Beauparient will fight Portland's Matt Horwich, which could be one of the better matches of the night since both like to slug it out a lot. In the other match, Chicago's Mark Miller against New York's Delson Heleno, should also be another good fight.

"Every fight, every event is important for the league and has an impact on the whole season," Milani said. Tickets range from $35 to $125 and can still be purchased at the box office. "After this week, all 12 teams will have competed this year," Milani said. "We think this is going to be a great year for us to introduce our product. We think we'll have a really good crowd."

The IFL is a mixed martial arts league similar to the very popular UFC. However, the IFL is a team sport as opposed to just individuals fighting. Friday's event at the Gwinnett Arena will feature four teams with athletes in five weight classes, along with a superfight, for 11 total bouts.

The team that wins the best of three of five will be declared the team winner.
Bouts are three, four-minute rounds with in an oversized five-rope boxing ring.
All 12 of the IFL teams will compete in three regular season events and the top four teams and the end of the regular season will advance to the semifinals on Aug. 2 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The IFL finals will be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Sept. 15.

For more information about the IFL, visit the league's Web site at

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