On Saturday, November 19th, 2011, Michigan MMA history was made as the Impact Fight League brought PROFESSIONAL mixed martial arts back to the massive, historic Palace of Auburn Hills. While the Palace is noted for being the home of the Detroit Pistons, one could only be reminded of the Lions by the MASSIVE roar of the excited crowd that came out to witness one the greatest productions in the sport. From the fully illuminated runway to the cage, to the massive hydraulic cell door style entrance gate, to the earth rattling sound system, to the thunderous explosions, to the red and blue color coordinated lighted archway, to the BLAZING pyrotechnics that could give you a tan at one hundred yards, to the microphone wizardry of Phil “The Voice” Davey, fighters AND fans were treated to one of the most elaborate and cheap jerseys wholesale immaculate big stage events in Michigan history. Fans in attendance ALWAYS had a great view of the action from every seat in the house, thanks to MULTIPLE cameras and the Palace’s Jumbotrons facing every direction. The fight card was comprised of an A-list of pro favorites from Michigan and the Midwest. There were many seasoned veterans that came to showcase their wares, as well as some HIGHLY anticipated pro debuts featuring some local phenoms that came to prove that they are ready for the next level.
As the action began, the atmosphere was ELECTRIC. The first fight of the night was a Bantamweight battle pitting the self trained Chris Bourdon against Team Shoot‘s debuting phenom Andrew Ventimiglia. These two pushed the pace right from the opening, and just past the halfway cheap jordans online point of the first and final round, Andrew secured his first pro win via TKO by delivering some serious shots on the ground that caused the referee to stop the contest. The second fight of the night was the HIGHLY anticipated pro MMA debut of Lightning Kicks‘ and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan’s James “The Ninja Bunny of Doom” Carrow versus Murcielago MMA‘s Andrew “The Smiling Assassin” Peterson. The fight started with a nice standup exchange early on. The fight ended up on the mat before very long, with both fighters scrambling for position. James came out with the dominant position, and proceeded to work in a rear naked choke for the tap and his first pro victory. Next up was a Featherweight WAR as Murcielago’s Jeremy “The Czar” Czarnecki took the big stage against Joe “The Viper” Voisin. This was a GREAT match of style types. The two warriors exchanged in the standup, on the ground and back to the feet again. This pace went on for a SOLID two and a half rounds. Then, nearing the three minute mark of the third round, Jeremy managed to take the back, get the hooks in, and get the tap out victory via rear naked choke. The next match on the card, a Welterweight match featuring Murcielago’s John “Warp Speed” Villegas and Corey O’Dell, went down in similar fashion…a good matchup with some excellent exchanges, this time with O’Dell locking in the rear naked choke for the tap out win in just under two minutes into round number three. Bout number six of the evening featured a couple of familiar pros making their return to the local scene; Lightning Kicks’ and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan’s Hector “The Phoenix” Garcia and Cruickshank Fighting Systems‘ Dan “Pac Man” Langbeen. These two vets did EVERYTHING they could to finish one another throughout the ENTIRE fight, but in the end, the judges were left to make the call. And after three thoroughly entertaining rounds, cheap nba jerseys all three judges decided that Langbeen put forth the more impressive performance and awarded him the decision victory. Next up was an EPIC battle of two warriors who are quite familiar to the Michigan scene – one making his pro debut and the other making his pro return…Cruickshank Fighting Systems’ Cody “Mr. Wonderful” Stamann and Titan MMA’s Chad Coon. With FightMichigan being familiar with the careers of both fighters, we knew this one was going to be good. And it was. Both warriors were respectful of each other’s abilities at the start, and after a very brief feeling out, the action was ON. A few minutes in, the fight was on the ground. Cody managed to take Chad’s back and get the hooks in, and instead of working a choke, started raining down strikes. After a vicious ground and pound flurry, the referee was forced to stop the contest and Cody emerges the victor in his pro debut. Next was a battle of the BIG boys in the Heavyweight division as the Academy of Soo Do Thai‘s Aaron “Grown Man” Ware faced MASH Gym‘s Shaun “Big Sexy” Mirjavadi. These two giants waged war through the entire time limit, leaving the judges to decide who would walk away victorious. And after three grueling rounds, all three judges awarded the contest to a debuting Mirjavadi. The Co-Main event of the evening was a Lightweight duel featuring Lightning Kicks’ and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan’s Ivan “The Psycho Mantis” Wolshlager taking on MASH Gym’s Jason “The Finisher” Fischer. The pace on this fight was BRUTAL, with both combatants displaying amazing heart. Near the end of the first round, Fischer had Ivan on the ground and was unloading a ground assault that ALMOST got the fight stopped in the final seconds of the round. As a result of Fischer’s “Finishing” efforts, Ivan was unable to answer the bell for the second round, giving Jason the win. The MAIN EVENT was a Middleweight BRAWL to determine whether the Impact Fight League 185 pound title was going back to Colorado with Pariah MMA‘s Justin “The Pain Train” Guthrie, or if it was to remain with current champion, Black Feather Fight Team’s Brendan “The Caucasian Devastation” Seguin. The crowd was AMPED for this one, and for good reason. These two put on a show that was one for the ages. Guthrie managed to open a cut on Seguin early on, and every time throughout the fight that Justin got dominant position, he used his elbows and forearms to work the cut. They both fought hard through all FIVE championship rounds, but in the end, employing a smart fight strategy paid dividends, as Guthrie became the NEW IFL Middleweight champion via unanimous judge’s decision. Congratulations to all of the warriors who are coming off of successful debuts, all the returning warriors, and even to the defeated warriors…keep your head up, chin down, and thanks to EVERYONE who made this event one that will NEVER be forgotten.
Beyond the cage, there were a few notable vendors in the house as well with some KILLER deals on sweet MMA merch and some HUGE giveaways. Rye Spiteri was in the house repping Garage Muscle and Trained in Detroit. They had a sweet photo shoot setup where fans could go and get studio-quality souvenir photos taken from the event. They were also selling an arms length of raffle tickets for only five bucks, and giving away such awesome prizes as an Everlast 100lb. heavy bag, a framed & autographed photo of former UFC Light Heavyweight champ “Sugar” Rashad Evans, a framed & autographed photo of StrikeForce‘s King Mo Lawal, TWO LCD flip-screen camcorders and a Garage Muscle military-style gym bag. Some fans went home VERY happy! MI Entertainment‘s Izzy Quintanilla was also in the house, with one of the LARGEST selections of MMA gear and apparel of ANY vendor, hands down. Izzy had a TON of excellent deal for the holidays, including buy one, get one free deals on their MASSIVE T-shirt stock. Also in the house for the event was Dan Waterman and Vengeance Fight Gear, with their ever-evolving lineup of super-sweet merchandise. There were MANY notable others in the crowd for the show, including Michigan pro fighter Josh “The Hammer” Burns, who not only had BIG announcements concerning his career in the near future, but also had a wedding proposal up his sleeve, much to the joy – and surprise – of his fiancee. Best wishes to Josh on what will surely be a long, happy marriage! Also covering the event for MMAOnline.com was Jaime Feal…you can check out his report on the event here.
And now for a tribute to the absolutely AMAZING staff that made sure that the coordination of this event was both seamless and flawless. It is hard to adequately describe exactly how much work goes into putting on an event of this magnitude. (We even saw Doug Gallegos running around in back with a headset on!) Very few will ever understand it that have not been directly involved. The bigger the event, the more staffing and communication are required. It only takes ONE mistake to start a chain reaction. There were NO mistakes made at this event. That is impressive in and of itself, but considering the amount of people involved in a production this size, to have a PERFECTLY managed event like this one is virtually unheard of. So now it’s time to pay respect to those who helped make it all happen…starting with the promoter. The “Fight Boss” (as he’s known in the MMA world), Joe Donofrio, has done MANY full contact events, from pro boxing to ammy and pro MMA. And the experience shows. Joe spares no expenses in accommodating fighters, staff and fans, making his promotion one of the PREMIER shows to be involved in, as many will attest to. The referees in charge of this amazing night of fights were the highly experienced duo of Marc Fennell and FightMichigan’s T.J. Corwin. The expert cut man/fighter prep guy at the door was Mr. Brandon Gallo. Judges for the event were Anne Morrell, Joe Popelar and FightMichigan’s own Shannon Hale. Timekeepers for the event were Steve Daher and Randy Freiburger. The microphone MASTER of ceremonies for the event was none other than the prolific Phil “The Voice” Davey. Handling the color commentary for the broadcast was the awesome duo of Steve Lafrate and Kara “KO” Ro, with Kara lighting up the big screens with the post-fight interviews. Special thanks to Linda Douglas, Doc Weber and all the State representatives from the Unarmed Combat Commission…keeping law and order by the books. Hats off to Joey “The Don” Battaglia and Stephanie Battaglia, who were instrumental in the production of this event, and can usually be found ANYWHERE quality MMA action is taking place. Also, huge kudos to Mr. Donofrio’s right hand man and head of security, Oscar “Big Ox” Brown…not a single incident in the whole Palace all night! And we most definitely can’t forget the essential contributions of Mr. Al Cooper and ALL of the WORLD-CLASS alumni of Cooper’s Gym…you are ALL awesome. Still photography for the event was in the capable and ambitious hands of Miss Peggy Kramer. With TOP SHELF events like this one lined up well into 2012, and with no end in sight, Donofrio’s Impact Fight League will be delivering some of the most spectacular shows for a long, long time. There are several new events coming VERY soon, including the BeatDOWn II on December 2nd and a professional boxing event on January 6th that will see the return to the squared circle of the undefeated pugilist (and above-mentioned color commentator as well) Kara “KO” Ro. With all of these big things on the horizon, it’s best to keep us on standby at ALL times, to stay current on the IFL’s upcoming events as well as ALL of the other exciting things happening in Michigan MMA-landia! ‘Til next time, here are your results…
Chris Bourdon (135lbs., 5’11”, Self-Trained, 1-2) vs Andrew Ventimiglia (133lbs., 5’8″, Team Shoot, 0-0)
Winner: Andrew Ventimiglia at 1:42 in round 1 by TKO – referee stoppage due to strikes.
James “The Ninja Bunny of Doom” Carrow (158lbs., 6’0″, Lightning Kicks and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan, 0-0) vs Andrew “The Smiling Assassin” Peterson (155lbs., 5’10” Murcielago MMA, 0-1)
Winner: James “The Ninja Bunny of Doom” Carrow at 2:03 in round 1 by tap out due to rear naked choke.
Jeremy “The Czar” Czarnecki (145lbs., 5’6″, Murcielago MMA, 3-2) vs Joe “The Viper” Voisin (145lbs., 5’6″, 11-6)
Winner: Jeremy “The Czar” Czarnecki at 2:40 in round 3 by tap out due to rear naked choke.
John “One Speed” Villegas (170lbs., 5’11”, Murcielago MMA, 1-0) vs Corey O’Dell (170lbs., 5’11”, MASH Gym, 1-0)
Winner: Corey O’Dell at 1:50 in round 3 by tap out due to rear naked choke.
Richie “The Iron Cheap Jordans Man” Lictawa (188lbs., 6’2″, Fight Club NFL Jerseys China Proving Grounds, 2-2) vs Anthony Smith (185lbs., 6’3″, Integrated Training System, 2-1)
Winner: This bout was declared a No Contest at 2:07 in round 1 due to an inadvertant illegal blow to the back of the head.
Hector “The Phoenix” Garcia (150lbs., 5’10”, Lightning Kicks and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan, 1-2) vs Dan “Pac Man” Langbeen (148lbs., 5’10”, Cruickshank Fighting Systems, 3-4)
Winner: Dan “Pac Man” Langbeen by Unanimous Decision (29-28) after three INTENSE rounds.
Cody “Mr. Wonderful” Stamann (135lbs., 5’6″, Cruickshank Fighting Systems and Vengeance, 0-0) vs Chad Coon (135lbs., 5’10, Titan MMA and Coon MMA, 0-1)
Winner: Cody “Mr. Wonderful” Stamann at 3:49 in round 1 by TKO – referee stoppage due to strikes.
Aaron “Grown Man” Ware (259lbs., 6’1″, Academy of Soo Do Thai, 0-1) vs Shaun “Big Sexy” Mirjavadi (240lbs., 6’1, MASH Gym, 0-0)
Winner: Shaun “Big Sexy” Mirjavadi by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29,38, 30-27) after three tough rounds.
Ivan “The Psycho Mantis” Wolshlager (156lbs., 5’11”, Lightning Kicks and Jeremy Horn’s Elite Michigan, 2-0) vs Jason “The Finisher” Fischer (155lbs., 5’10”, MASH Gym, 2-0)
Winner: Jason “The Finisher” Fischer at the conclusion of round 1 – opponent unable to answer the bell for the second round.
Fight #10 – MIDDLEWEIGHT (185lb.) IMPACT FIGHT LEAGUE TITLE FIGHT
Justin “The Pain Train” Guthrie (Challenger, 184lbs., 6’1″, Pariah MMA, 14-4) vs Brendan “The Caucasian Devastation” Seguin (Champion, 185lbs., 6’0″, Black Feather Fight Team, 23-17)
Winner and NEW CHAMPION: Justin “The Pain Train” Guthrie by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 50-45) after five BRUTAL rounds.