Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wolfpack Top Dragons, Pitbulls Notch First Team Win

By Ben Fowlkes

Atlanta, GA – Matt Lindland’s Portland Wolfpack overcame a series of unfortunate injuries and relied on IFL rookies to down Carlos Newton’s Toronto Dragons 3-2 Friday night, while the New York Pitbulls decimated the Chicago Red Bears and Robbie Lawler gained a TKO victory over Eduardo Pamplona in the third round of their superfight.

“I was a little nervous with so many holes in our lineup,” said Lindland, who was forced to fill three of his five roster spots on short notice due to injuries and contract disputes. “We had some guys who really stepped up tonight.”

Lindland’s Wolfpack rode strong performances from Matt Horwich, John Krohn, and Mike Dolce to win their first team contest of 2007 after losing to the Quad Cities Silverbacks in the World Team Championships this past December.

Dolce and Horwich were particularly impressive, with both displaying impressive striking attacks on the feet – something Lindland’s fighters are not particularly known for.

“Mike (Dolce) is doing exactly what he needs to do right now,” Lindland said of his welterweight substitute, who dispatched local fighter Jim Abrille in brutal fashion with a first-round TKO to secure the team victory.

Dolce landed a big right hand just a few seconds into the bout, dropping Abrille and then following with several unanswered blows on the ground.

When asked if Dolce might have earned himself a permanent roster spot, Lindland said it would be hard to envision Dolce not being a Wolfpack regular if he continues to perform at that level.

Newton’s Dragons were disappointed with losing a key decision in the light heavyweight match, as a much-improved Wojtek Kaszowski dropped a surprisingly unanimous call to Wolfpack fighter John Krohn.

“I worked hard. I thought I hit him more than he hit me,” Kaszowski said afterwards. “I really worked hard and thought I had that one.”

In the other team contest, Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls dominated the Chicago Red Bears with a consistently strong ground attack, reflecting the world-class jiu-jitsu background that the Gracie’s are known for.

Pitbulls welterweight Delson Heleno was especially impressive, dominating a very game Mark Miller for three rounds in their bout and doing a great deal to establish himself as one of the league’s top 170-pounders in the process.

“You can match him with anyone in the division and they’re all going to have a tough time against him,” Gracie said of the three-time jiu-jitsu world champion.

Some interesting fireworks erupted at the close of the heavyweight contest, as Bryan Vetell submitted Mo Fowzi with an arm lock and then leapt to his feet, screaming at the downed Fowzi for remarks the British-born fighter made during the fight.

Though Vetell claimed he overreacted and was reluctant to revisit the situation, Gracie had no qualms about speaking frankly on the topic.

“I don’t know if you know this, but Bryan is a philosopher,” the Pitbulls’ coach said. “But when the temper goes, even Plato runs away.”

In the evening’s superfight, Miletich fighter Robbie Lawler proved why he still deserves to be considered among the world’s top middleweights as he defeated up-and-coming Brazilian fighter Eduardo Pamplona via third-round TKO.

Lawler survived a shaky first round that saw him almost submitted with a guillotine choke to drop Pamplona with a vicious combination early in the third round. A left hook to the chin buckled the Brazilian’s knees and sent him crashing to the canvas, with Lawler close behind.

The referee then moved into to stop the bout before Lawler could do much damage on the ground, and Pamplona was visibly upset with the early stoppage as he paced the ring and became increasingly emotional following the loss.

“I think he was hurt,” said Lawler after the bout. “But if it had been me, I would have wanted to keep fighting too.”

Pamplona acknowledged that he had been hit “very hard”, but said he never lost consciousness and was in the process of righting himself when the referee moved in to call a stop to the bout.

Pamplona went on to say that he came to America with the dream of joining Gracie’s Pitbulls, hoping to be “one more dog in this kennel.”

Gracie said he would consider using Pamplona on his team if the need arose, but said he felt his current squad was poised to be one of the IFL’s top teams in 2007 season. The team’s next match is against Lindland’s Wolfpack on April 13th, when one of the two teams will receive their first loss of the year.

Portland Wolfpack defeat Toronto Dragons (3-2)
Wagnney Fabiano (Dragons) defeats Ian Loveland via submission (side choke) at 0:59 of round one.
John Krohn (Wolfpack) defeats Wojtek Kaszowski via unanimous decision.
Matt Horwich (Wolfpack) defeats Brent Beauparlant via submission (kimura) at 0:28 of round two.
Mike Dolce (Wolfpack) defeats Jim Abrille via TKO (strikes) at 0:19 of round one.
Rafael Feijao (Dragons) defeats Devin Cole via TKO (ref. stoppage) at 0:26 of round two.

New York Pitbulls defeat Chicago Red Bears (4-1)
Erik Owings (Pitbulls) defeats Peter Kaljevic via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:03 of round two.
Delson Heleno (Pitbulls) defeats Mark Miller via unanimous decision.
Fabio Leopoldo (Pitbulls) defeats Chris Albandia via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:48 of round one.
Time Kennedy (Red Bears) defeats Dante Rivera via submission (strikes) at 2:29 of round two.
Bryan Vetell (Pitbulls) defeats Mo Fowzi via submission (keylock) at 0:45 of round one.

Robbie Lawler defeats Eduardo Pamplona via TKO (ref. stoppage) at 1:36 of round three.


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