Thursday, April 5, 2007

IFL Moline Preview, Part 1

By Ben Fowlkes

We’re just a few days away from fight time for IFL Moline, where the hometown Silverbacks look to salvage their season against Ken Shamrock’s Nevada Lions. First, we’ll take a look at some of the matchups in the other team contest of the night, featuring Maurice Smith’s Tiger Sharks against Igor Zinoviev’s Red Bears.

Neither team has had much success in the IFL thus far, so both are hoping to find the winning formula before all hope fades for the 2007 season. Smith is hoping that sticking with a more consistent lineup will be the key, while Zinoviev is doing exactly the opposite and replacing most of his team for this event.

Check back all through the week as we’ll preview the other scheduled fights, and don’t miss the live web play-by-play of IFL Moline direct from ringside this Saturday night.

155 lbs: Mike Corey (Red Bears) vs. Shad Lierley (Tiger Sharks)

Corey (4-1) is one of the new additions to the Red Bears, taking over for Peter Kaljevic, who put forth a gutsy effort in his submission loss to Erik Owings in the team’s debut. Corey has racked up five fights in two years, but has yet to fight in a major promotion.

Lierley (1-0) surprised everyone with a knockout win over the Condors’ Adam Lynn in his first pro fight at IFL Oakland, not only because it happened so quickly, but because Lierley was billed as a wrestler coming in to the bout.

Unfortunately, the quickness of the victory didn’t give us much time to see Lierley showcase his skills, but this bout matches two fighters of comparable experience, and should tell us a lot about each man’s potential in the IFL.

170 lbs: Mark Miller (Red Bears) vs. Brad Blackburn (Tiger Sharks)

This one looks like the bout to watch in this team contest. Miller (5-2) won over the crowd with a gritty performance against Delson Heleno in February. Though he would lose the decision, Miller proved he could weather a beating as well as he could give one. He’s said before that he’d rather stand and trade than grapple his way to victory, but he’ll have to improve his takedown defense if he wants to be successful in this league.

Blackburn (9-8) has been out of action for several months, patiently awaiting a capable opponent. He may have found it in Miller, who will look to push the pace and brawl it out. Blackburn can’t allow Miller to dictate where the fight goes, and he can’t get drawn into a street fight.

Look for Blackburn to try and take this one to the mat early on, or else don’t be surprised if Miller makes him pay for his decision to stand and strike.

185 lbs: Chris Albandia (Red Bears) vs. Bristol Marunde (Tiger Sharks)

Albandia is known as a tough wrestler, though his stand-up skills have yet to be tested. He underperformed in his first IFL outing against Fabio Leopoldo, but there must be some reason why Zinoviev is keeping him on the team after dumping several other fighters who suffered similar fates.

Marunde (2-4) has yet to win an IFL match, primarily due to a lack of ground skills. He’d probably much rather stand and strike with Albandia, but he’s going to have to avoid the takedown, which Albandia will likely look for right off the bat.

205 lbs: Homer Moore (Red Bears) vs. Allan Goes (Tiger Sharks)

Moore (24-7-2) has racked up an impressive record with wins over mostly unknown opponents. He’s known as an effective striker, although his ground game is questionable. Like his opponent, however, he’s proved several times that he has no problem mixing it up with the bigger guys.

Goes (9-4-2) has been in against some of the best in the world. He’s an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter who’s known for his willingness to fight anyone at any weight class. Light heavyweight is a more natural fit for Goes, and for Moore as well.

If Goes is smart he’ll put Moore on the mat early and keep him there. He doesn’t want to stand and trade punches, even if he believes he can win that way. Moore is going to have to display excellent submissions defense if he wants to survive this one.

265 lbs: Adam Maciejewski (Red Bears) vs. Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks)

Maciejewski (5-2) is another new addition to Zinoviev’s squad. The scouting report on him says he has impressive wrestling credentials, along with some not insignificant wins over mid-level opponents. This will be his first foray into the big time, and his opponent will likely push him to his limits.

Andy (5-1) is an extremely skilled wrestler with a gas tank that never seems to run dry. He can push the pace non-stop, smothering his opponents with takedowns and an ever-improving ground-and-pound game for three straight rounds.

Expect this to be a grappling contest, unless somehow both men manage to cancel out one another’s takedowns and end up slugging it out. That could produce an interesting outcome, as we’ve seen very little of each man’s stand-up thus far.

That wraps it up for this preview. Check back tomorrow for a look at Silverbacks vs. Lions, and don’t forget to check out the play-by-play on Saturday night.

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