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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Matyushenko Wins Inaugural International Fight League World Grand Prix Light Heavyweight Title; Eight Others Win Semifinal Bouts In Chicago

Courtesy of the International Fight League:

Horodecki Edges Palaszewski In Lightweight Showdown; Four Title Matchups Set

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill, November 3, 2007 – Vladimir Matyushenko’s light heavyweight title victory over Alex Schoenauer highlighted an exciting night of action in the inaugural International Fight League World Grand Prix, held tonight in front of 4,107 at the Sears Centre in suburban Chicago. Eight other Championship semifinal bouts also took place, including the highly-anticipated lightweight rematch won by Chris Horodecki (London, Ontario) over Bart Palaszewski (Wonder Lake, Ill.) in a narrow split decision. The eight semifinal winners will battle at the World Grand Prix finals at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Dec. 29.

The first hour of the card aired live on MyNetworkTV, marking the first time that a mixed martial arts event was broadcast live in prime-time on network television. The first two hours were also shown live on Fox Sports World Canada.

In the first bout of the night, at 185 lbs.: top-seeded Benji Radach (Coconut Creek, Fla.) of the Los Angeles Anacondas got the crowd on its feet quickly by delivering a series of punches ending in a left hook which knocked out No. 4 Brent Beauparlant (Ottawa, Ontario) of the Toronto Dragons midway through the first round. Next was the Horodecki-Palaszewski battle at 155 lbs., won by the Anacondas’ unbeaten 20-year old star for the second time this year. The Tokyo Sabres’ Matyushenko followed with his 205-lb. title win via unanimous decision, before Anacondas welterweight Jay Hieron (Las Vegas) topped alternate Donnie Liles (Colorado Springs, Colo.) of the San Jose Razorclaws with a workmanlike unanimous decision.

Top-seeded lightweight Wagnney Fabiano (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) of the Dragons submitted No. 4 John Gunderson (Medford, Ore.) of the Nevada Lions in the second round to advance to the final. In another rematch at 175 lbs, No. 1 Delson Heleno (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) of the New York Pitbulls took out No. 4 Gideon Ray (Roselle, Ill.) of the Dragons with a first-round submission. The heavyweights took to the ring next, with No. 1 Antoine Jaoude (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) of the So. Calif. Condors choked out No. 4 Shane Ott (Reading, Pa.) of the Dragons, and No. 2 Roy Nelson (Las Vegas) of the Lions knocked out No. 3 Bryan Vetell (Jamaica, N.Y.) of the Pitbulls in the second round. At 185 lbs., No. 2 Matt Horwich (Portland, Ore.) of the Wolfpack submitted No. 3 Brian Foster (Moreno Valley, Calif.) of the Razorclaws with an armbar in the first round.

Tonight’s results set up the following Championship matchups on Dec. 29:

155 lbs.: No. 1 Wagnney Fabiano vs. No. 2 Chris Horodecki
170 lbs.: No. 1 Delson Heleno vs. No. 2 Jay Hieron
185 lbs.: No. 1 Benji Radach vs. No. 2 Matt Horwich
265 lbs.: No. 1 Antoine Jaoude vs. No. 2 Roy Nelso