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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

IFL Announces Athletes, Venues, Dates For First IFL World Grand Prix Tournament

Courtesy of the International Fight League:

Top Four Athletes In Each Weight Class To Compete For Individual Championship Belts

NEW YORK, July 25, 2007 – The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI) today announced the dates, venues and rosters for the 2007 IFL World Grand Prix, the individual all-star competition for the world’s number one mixed martial arts league. The semifinals will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Sears Centre in Chicago and the finals will take place on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., sites of two of the league’s most successful team events in 2007.

The tournament will feature the top four athletes from the IFL regular season in each of five weight categories. The winner from each weight class will be crowned a world Grand Prix champion, rewarding their great individual athletic accomplishment in team-based MMA.

Tickets for the IFL World Grand Prix semifinals will go on sale on Saturday, August 4. Tickets can be purchased at the Sears Centre box office, by calling 1-888-SEARSTIX, or online at www.ifl.tv. Tickets for the Finals at Mohegan Sun will go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 17, at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-860-886-0070.

Among the stars scheduled to compete are Silverbacks’ heavyweight Ben Rothwell (Milwaukee, Wis.), Anacondas teen sensation lightweight Chris Horodecki (London, Ontario), Sabres’ light heavyweight standout Vladimir Matyushenko (Belarus) and Anacondas’ unbeaten middleweight Benji Radach (Coconut Creek, Fla.). Among the highly-anticipated matchups are rematches between Rothwell and Roy Nelson (Las Vegas) of the Lions and between Horodecki and Bart Palaszewski (Wonder Lake, Ill.) of the Silverbacks. Additionally, Wagnney Fabiano (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), unbeaten and the only IFL athlete with three first-round wins, takes on John Gunderson (Medford, Ore.) in the deep lightweight division.

“The World Grand Prix provides an additional stage for our top athletes at every weight class,” said IFL Commissioner and Co-Founder Kurt Otto. “In addition to striving for the team championship, the best of the best have the opportunity to compete for an individual championship belt, which will give fans the chance to see great matchups between the IFL’s rising stars.

“The fact that every team has at least one qualifier for the World Grand Prix also speaks to the quality and depth of our teams across the board.”

The unbeaten Los Angeles Anacondas have the most qualified athletes with four. The Quad Cities Silverbacks are next with three, while the Toronto Dragons, Nevada Lions and Tokyo Sabres have two each and the remaining seven teams have one apiece. All 20 competitors (four at each weight class) will take to the ring in the semifinals in Chicago. The winners will advance to the finals at Mohegan Sun, which will also include a series of Superfights to round out the card. In the event of injury prior to the competition, the fifth seed (alternate) will fill the vacated spot.

IFL team competition reaches its pinnacle over the next six weeks, as the 2007 IFL World Championship semifinals are set for Thursday, August 2, at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., with the finals set for Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla.

Athletes were selected for the World Grand Prix based on their respective match records during the 2007 regular season. In the event of a tie, competitors with the fastest finishes or best strength of victories earned the higher seeds. The winners then defend their individual belts throughout the 2008 IFL season (dates and locations TBA).

The full rosters for the World Grand Prix Semifinals follow. Bout order will be determined prior to the Official Weigh-in on November 2.

Lightweight (155 lb.)
No. 1 Wagnney Fabiano, Dragons (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (3-0 IFL 2007, 3-0 IFL career, 7-1 overall) vs. No. 4 John Gunderson, Lions (Medford, Ore.) (2-1, 2-1, 15-4)
No. 2 Chris Horodecki, Anacondas (London, Ontario) (3-0, 6-0, 10-0) vs. No. 3 Bart Palaszewski, Silverbacks (Wonder Lake, Ill.) (2-1, 7-1, 27-8)
Alternate: Shad Lierley, Tiger Sharks (Seattle) (2-1, 2-1, 2-1)

Welterweight (170 lb.)
No. 1 Delson Heleno, Pitbulls (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (3-0, 4-1, 11-2) vs. No. 4 Mark Miller, Red Bears (Chicago) (2-1, 8-2, 2-1)
No. 2 Antonio McKee, Sabres (Lakewood, Calif.) (3-0, 3-0, 20-3-2) vs. No. 3 Jay Hieron, Anacondas (Las Vegas) (2-1, 4-2, 12-4)
Alternate: Pat Healy, Lions (St. Louis) (2-1, 2-1. 18-12)

Middleweight (185 lb.)
No. 1 Benji Radach, Anacondas (Coconut Creek, Fla.) (3-0, 3-0, 15-3) vs. No. 4 Brent Beauparlant, Dragons (Ottawa, Ontario) (2-1, 3-3, 6-4)
No. 2 Matt Horwich, Wolfpack (Portland, Ore.) (2-1, 4-3, 19-9-1) vs. No. 3 Brian Foster, Razorclaws (Moreno Valley, Calif.) (2-1, 3-2, 9-11)
Alternate: Fabio Leopoldo, Pitbulls (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (2-1, 3-1, 5-2)

Light Heavyweight (205 lb.)
No. 1 Vladimir Matyushenko, Sabres (El Segundo, Calif.) (3-0, 3-0, 18-3) vs. No. 4 Alex Schoenauer, Anacondas (Las Vegas) (2-1, 4-3, 12-7)
No. 2 Mike Whitehead, Scorpions (Central Point, Ore.) (2-0, 4-0, 19-4) vs. No. 3 Mike Ciesnolevicz, Silverbacks (Williamstown, Pa.) (2-0, 4-2, 12-2)
Alternate: Jamal Patterson, Pitbulls (Hoboken, N.J.) (1-0, 3-1, 3-1)

Heavyweight (265 lb.)
No. 1 Ben Rothwell, Silverbacks (Milwaukee, Wis.) (3-0, 7-0, 22-5) vs. No. 4 Roy Nelson, Lions (Las Vegas) (2-1, 2-1, 8-2)
No. 2 Antoine Jaoude, Condors (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (3-0, 3-0, 7-2) vs. No. 3 Reese Andy, Tiger Sharks (Billings, Mont.) (3-0, 5-1, 7-1)
Alternate: Bryan Vetell, Pitbulls (Jamaica, N.Y.) (1-1, 1-2, 2-2)

About the IFL

International Fight League™ (IFL) is the world’s number one professional mixed martial arts sports league. IFL has its headquarters in New York and offices in Las Vegas. For more information about IFL, please see: www.ifl.tv.