Silverbacks Claim International Fight League World Team Championship

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patUNCASVILLE, Conn., December 29, 2006– The Silverbacks, coached by Pat Miletich and based in Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill., defeated the Wolfpack, coached by Matt Lindland and based in Portland, Ore., to claim the 2006 International Fight League World Team Championship title with a 4-1 victory in tonight’s final at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.  In addition, Renzo Gracie (Holmdel, N.J.), coach of the New York-based Pitbulls, edged Carlos Newton (Newmarket, Ontario), coach of the Toronto-based Dragons, by split decision in the headline Superfight.  The mixed martial arts competition was seen by a near-capacity crowd of 6,825.In the team event, which was contested in the order determined by coaches following a coin toss, the Silverbacks’ Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.) defeated Aaron Stark (Portland, Ore.) at light heavyweight, using a vicious kick at the start of the third round to stun Stark, leading to a guillotine choke that led to the referee stopping the bout just over a minute into the final round.  Heavyweight Ben Rothwell (Kenosha, Wis.) gave the Silverbacks a 2-0 lead with a knockout of Devin Cole (Medford, Ore.) with a strong finishing right kick after dominating most of the first round. At 155 lbs., Bart Palaszewski (Wonderlake, Ill.) clinched the Championship with a second-round knockout against Ryan Schultz (Eagle Creek, Ore.), breaking open an even bout with a big right hand to the jaw during a heated exchange, finishing with several unguarded blows to the ground. Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Matt Horwich (Gresham, Ore.) battled for three rounds in the middleweight division, with the Silverbacks’ McGivern earning the unanimous decision. The highly-anticipated welterweight battle between Rory Markham (Chicago) and Chris Wilson (Portland, Ore.) went to Wilson via first-round technical knockout, as the Wolfpack averted the sweep.
In addition to the Gracie-Newton Superfight, four intraleague Superfights involving IFL athletes supplemented the card.  Erik Owings (New York) of the Pitbulls topped Ed West (Tucson, Ariz.) of the Scorpions in a unanimous decision.  In a pair of light heavyweight fights, Andre Gusmao (New York) of the Pitbulls out-slugged Brent Beauparlant (Montreal) of the Dragons, winning by unanimous decision in a highly entertaining bout, followed by the Tiger Sharks’ Reese Andy (Billings, Mont.) registering a second-round TKO over the Pitbulls’ Jamal Patterson (Hoboken, N.J.).  In a heavyweight battle, Mike Whitehead (Central Point, Ore.) of the Scorpions defeated Krzysztof Soszynski (Winnipeg, Manitoba) of the Anacondas by unanimous decision.
The IFL circuit begins its first full season of competition in January 2007.  The Silverbacks begin their 2007 season in Houston on Feb. 2, when they take on the Anacondas, coached by Bas Rutten and based in Los Angeles.  The Silverbacks’ path to the final went through the Pitbulls (New York) in September and the Dragons (Toronto) last month.

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