IFL: Will Quad Cities Make It Back to the Finals?

July 2, 2007

IFL Battleground

31-year-old 155 alternate, John Strawn, made his professional MMA debut against the formidable Bart Palaszewsi. While Strawn came into the ring confident in the solidness of his chin and bar-brawl experience, Palaszewski had knock-out aspirations. The first round bell rang with both fighters ready to rumble. Strawn tried tying up Palaszewski early on but after only 48 seconds into the battle he dropped his right hand leaving himself open for Palaszewski’s left hook, thus achieving the KO the Polish immigrant was hoping for.

Continuing with the search for new ring girls, existing ring girls Emily and Laurie were still fighting to keep their jobs. Kurt Otto commented on Emily’s “interesting look” but acknowledged that she may not have the best body compared to some of the other contestants. Laurie was critiqued for showing her nerves at the potential for having her cush position taken away.

Back to the fights. Light heavyweights Mike Ciesnolevics, Silverbacks, and Red Bear’s Adam “The Polish Pitbull” Maciejewski went toe to toe. Maciejewski rocked Mike C. early then caught him in a standing guillotine choke. The Silverback escaped the choke attempt but was taken down with a single leg sweep after the referee admonished the combatants to improve their positions. Ciesnolevics failed an armbar attempt but was paid back with a hammer fist to the face just as the bell ended the round.

The two-spot opened with Ciesnolevics catching Maciejewski’s kick, throwing the Red Bear off balance. Regaining his composure, The Polish Pitbull threw Mike C. to the mat and gave a boring exposition of his lay and pray skills, prompting the referee to instruct Maciejewski to get to work. Maciejewski escaped a guillotine attempt but gave up top control in the process. Ciesnolevics, a former substitute teacher, schooled Maciejewski, dropping bombs until the referee finally stepped in, giving the Silverback the TKO win.

The ring girls made t-shirt commercials to prove they are not just pretty faces; they are also ambassadors.

The middleweights were up. Silverback Ryan McGivern faced Red Bear’s new-comer Tim Kennedy. This was a battle between wrestlers, but in the end, Chicago would secure a win when McGivern tapped to a tight guillotine in the second round.

What might be described as the fight of the night, Silverback’s heavyweight Ben Rothwell fought Red Bear’s Travis Fulton. Not surprisingly, Rothwell came out strong, swinging for the fences. Fulton took the fight to the ground, surely thinking he would have the advantage. He was proven wrong when Big Ben pulled rubber guard, yes, rubber guard, before the fight went back to its feet for a couple of seconds. Back on the mat, Rothwell got top mount for a dazzling display of ground and pound. Fulton gave up his back, allowing Rothwell to sink in his hooks and land leather until he simply got bored and stood up. Rothwell again rocked Fulton but the Red Bear was saved by the bell.

In the second round, Fulton ate five unanswered knees before Rothwell pinned him into the corner of the canvas, pummeling him about the face and body. Despite Fulton showing zero defense efforts, the referee took the Red Bear’s word that he was still okay to fight. Once again bored with throwing undefended punches, Rothwell captured his opponent’s arm in a kimura, finally getting the tap at 3:11 into the round.

Welterweight Josh “The Dentist” Neer stepped in for Silverback’s Rory Markham who was out with an eye injury. Markham’s injury might have cost his team a win when Red Bear’s Mark Miller followed two left jabs and a right hook with a second right hook that found its mark, knocking out the UFC veteran just 54 seconds in the first round. Neer woke up kicking at the officials who were trying to examine him while convincing him the fight was over.

Finally, two of the six ring girl contestants were eliminated. The survivors were Holly, Patricia, and existing ring girls Laurie and Emily.

As a bonus, this episode also featured the superfight between Jeff Curran and Kevin English that took place in Moline, IL, where the Silverbacks defeated the Reno Lions. English might well have been distracted as his wife as due to deliver their baby at any moment.

English escaped a triangle then powered out of a guillotine, blasting Curran with knees. Curran dropped English to his knees after firing a flurry of head and body shots. English escaped an armbar attempt just as the bell rang.

After a valiant effort, and a good display of skill, English tapped to a rock solid guillotine choke 1:12 into the second round. The producers never indicated if English’s baby was born that night.

While the Silverbacks won as a team, the Red Bears managed to prevent the sweep the defending champions were shooting for. By the end of the night, Pat Miletich and his team were still unsure if they’d be getting another shot at the championship.