Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Beauparlant and New-Look Dragons to Meet Scorpions April13th

By Kelsey Mowatt

The Toronto Dragons will head to Connecticut next week to take on the Tuscon Scorpions, at the International Fight League’s upcoming April 13th card to be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena. News came out this week that Ultimate Fighter Season 4 participant Gideon Ray will replace the Dragon’s injured 6-1 welterweight Claude Patrick, yet another new addition for the team that has incurred several roster changes in 2007. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Wagnney Fabiano replaced Ivan Menjivar at 155 lbs, Rafael Custodio was brought in at heavyweight, Wojtek Kaszowski moved down from heavyweight to compete at 205 lbs, and Brent Beauparlant went from lightheavyweight to middleweight, when Joe Doerksen had to leave the club due to his signing with Pride.

“I haven’t trained with Gideon,” says Beauparlant in regards to the latest addition to the Dragons. “From what I know it just happened recently, I mean within the week, that’s all the information that I’ve gotten. I learnt about it basically the same way everybody else did, over the web. I’m sorry, I really don’t have much information about that.”

Beauparlant (4-4) will fight the Scorpion’s middleweight Seth Baczynski (4-3), who has won three fights in a row, including a recent armbar submission victory over Sean Ballantine at Rage in the Cage 89 in December.

“Absolutely nothing,” Beauparlant says in admitting he knows little about his upcoming opponent. “I sent my emails out to the IFL and an email to Terry, (Riggs, the Dragon’s assistant coach) I just found out today as well that’s who I’m fighting. I really have no idea.”

Beauparlant, a former member of the Canadian National Wrestling Team, was invited to join the Dragon’s likely due in part to the success he had to begin his MMA career. The 35 year old fighter went 3-1 before joining the Dragons, and defeated Rapheal Davis by unanimous decision in his IFL debut last September. Since then, Beauparlant has remained winless in his last 3 fights, losing bouts to Matt Horwich, Mike Ciesnolevicz and Andre Gusmao.

“It was a big, big step up, that’s what I noticed,” Beauparlant says in discussing his record in the IFL. “I wasn’t ready for the competition they were throwing at me, whether it’s at 205 or 185 there are a lot of tough guys there. My guy in December, Gusmao, he had only two fights but he was a tough guy, this is the pros, all the guys are tough and train with great teams. They’re all established teams, look at the Miletich guys or the Wolfpack, they all train together, it’s really simple, I have to step up or step out.”

After defeating the San Jose Razorclaws by a 3-2 margin in their first IFL match last September, the Dragons were beaten by the Silverbacks 4-1 at October’s semi-finals. At the Dragons’ first match in 2007 against the Portland Wolfpack in February, Toronto lost by a close 3-2 score. Beauparlant has noticed that the teams that are having success in the IFL are those clubs that also train together extensively.

“”With the Dragons, we don’t train together at all, “Beauparlant tells FCF. “But that’s going to change, the whole club is restructuring a lot, and we’re saying to ourselves, do we just want to be the chumps that are getting beat all the time or do we want to win. There’s a formula for that, everyone whose winning right now is training together. With me, I’m looking forward to training with Wagnney or his brother Leo Santos, 2 of my last 3 losses have been by submission, and those two guys are jiu-jitsu experts.”

Beauparlant is convinced that the IFL team model will lead to great things for the promotion, and due to criticisms from certain circles and what he feels is a lack of media coverage for the league, the Canadian fighter admits he harbors some resentment.

“I do, I feel a lot of resentment,” says Beauparlant. “It just seems like all the media is always directed towards anything that’s in a cage and the press the IFL has received has been negative or non-existent. That’s how I feel and I’m not apologetic about it. I don’t understand it, I think that the IFL is a great product and extremely professional. We’re the only Canadian team out there, I don’t understand, yes it’s a league, but if you’re a MMA fan we’re still doing MMA, it’s the same sport, just a bit of a different environment. Why is there such a negative reaction to the Dragons? Why is there never anything positive to say?”

The Dragons will look to even their 2007 record with the following match-ups next week against the Scorpions:
Lightweight - Waggney Fabiano, Dragons, (5-1) vs. Santino DeFranco, Scorpions (14-5)
Welterweight - Gideon Ray, Dragons, (13-5-1) vs. Gabe Casillas, Scorpions (9-6)
Middleweight - Brent Beauparlant, Dragons, (4-4) vs. Seth Baczynski, Scorpions (4-3)
Lightheavyweight - Wojtek Kaszowksi, Dragons, (0-5) vs. Mike Whitehead, Scorpions (17-5)
Heavyweight - Rafael Custodio (4-0), Dragons, vs. Chad Griggs, Scorpions, (5-0)

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