The card for the IFL’s next show on May 16 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. is starting to take shape. And so far, it looks pretty good.
The show will feature three title matches as well as best-of-three camp vs. camp battles between Mario Sperry’s World Class Fighting Center taking on Gary Marino’s Team Bomb Squad and Matt Lindland’s Team Quest doing battle with Team Prodigy.
Here’s the card so far…
IFL heavyweight title: Roy Nelson vs. Branden Lee Hinkle
IFL middleweight title: Ryan McGivern vs. Dan Miller
IFL lightweight title: Ryan Schultz vs. Deividas Taurosevicius
Team Bomb Squad vs. World Class Fighting Center
Middleweight: Mike Massenzio vs. Danillo Villefort
Welterweight: John Howard vs. Marcello Salazar
Lightweight: TBA vs. TBA
Team Quest vs. Team Prodigy
Middleweight: Matt Horwich vs. TBA
Lightweight: Zac George vs. TBA
Light Heavyweight: Aaron Stark vs. TBA
The decision to go with Hinkle as a challenger for Nelson is very interesting. I’m not a fan of Hinkle’s fighting style and putting Nelson in there with a guy who likes to take opponents of their feet and not be active while in top position.
While I am not excited about Nelson vs. Hinkle, I am excited about Massenzio vs. Villefort.
Massenzio and Villefort are two of the two middleweight prospects in MMA. While trying to find out who was involved with this year’s middleweight cast on TUF 7, they were right behind Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza as far as who I thought were leading candidates to be involved.
I’ve seen Massenzio compete on smaller shows in the Northeast and the word is that the UFC was showing interest at one point. He’s an outstanding wrestler with a good pro MMA record. Of course, we have Massenzio featured in our MMA prospects section.
Villefort will be fighting for Mario Sperry but he trains with American Top Team in Florida (yes, I realize ATT was formed out of Brazilian Top Team but they aren’t the same camp). He’s got a ton of potential and is only missing exposure. I first saw him at the IFL draft tryouts in New York this past November and was really impressed. He’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu but from what I saw in New York, he also had a good all-around game.
Villefort fought to a draw against Armin Mrkanovic during the final stage of the tryouts and made it into the final IFL draft pool. I spoke with Carlos Newton, then the head coach of the Toronto Dragons, after the tryouts and he said if he had had the number one pick, Villefort would have been his choice.
So remember the names of Mike Massenzio and Danillo Villefort.
Also, Schultz vs. Taurosevicius is the kind of fight on paper that looks like it could prove to be a fight of the year candidate. Taurosevicius really came on towards the end of last season and had a lot of momentum behind him before getting injured. His leg kicks are nasty!