I (occasional Five Ounces contributor Ben Fowlkes) am in Chicago for the IFL Grand Prix on Saturday night, fulfilling my duties as web editor. I have to say, speaking just as an MMA fan, I’m pretty excited about these fights. Of course, I’m always excited about seeing any MMA fights, which is why I love this job. But since this event has all the best fighters and none of the also-rans that usually populate a team matchup in the IFL, there is a completely different atmosphere. It looks like we’re going to see some good fights, particularly in the two bouts that will be aired live.
For instance, there’s the rematch between Chris Horodecki and Bart Palaszewski. I’ve heard several people in the last two days express concern about Palaszewski and his preparation/focus going into this fight. The gossip around the IFL is that he’s been distracted by having a new baby and hasn’t gotten down to train at the Miletich camp very much and his readiness for this bout might have suffered as a result.
It might be nothing more than idle talk, I can’t say for sure. But I do know that Horodecki is not the guy you want to get in the ring with if you haven’t trained hard. The kid’s got a non-stop motor and he will run right through you if you aren’t ready.
Also, I talked with Brent Beauparlant last night. You might know him as the Canadian guy who’s going to fight Benji Radach. He’s upset right now, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him upset before. He’s heard that no one is really giving him a chance to win against Radach, and it has really lit a fire under him. It’s not hard to see why Radach is the favorite when you consider what he’s done in his career, but at the same time it’s pretty clear that Beauparlant isn’t going to lay down.
Beauparlant told me that if Radach can’t knock him out in the first two minutes, then he’ll win a third-round stoppage. That’s pretty specific, and it relies on Radach not doing to Beauparlant what he’s done to just about everybody he’s fought in the last nine months, but it makes me think Beauparlant has a detailed game plan in mind. I just wonder if he’ll get the chance to implement it.
Lastly, Alex Schoenauer is looking more focused and more serious than usual. Not that he doesn’t always take this seriously, but usually he seems almost purposefully laid back and unconcerned about everything. Now he’s dropped that facade. I’ve heard him talk about how hard he’s trained for this fight, and even though it’s tough to see how he might beat a guy like Matyushenko (puncher’s chance, I guess?), it’s at least good to know that if he loses it won’t be for lack of cardio.
If you want to read more of my ongoing Grand Prix blog, you can check out The Fighting Life later today and tomorrow, as I’ll be posting updates. If you’re one of the people who don’t care what I think about the IFL and Buffalo Wild Wings and other topics related to this event, then so be it, but how will you know which sauce to get with your boneless four-piece?