Former IFL Stars Fill UFC Counter-Card

July 9, 2008

When the IFL first started-up, the UFC downplayed the significance of the league and its fighters. However, on July 19th, 3 former IFL fighters are hoping to make new homes for themselves under the UFC banner.

Competing on main card, in a televised bout is Reese Andy, who went 5-1 in the IFL, has an overall 7-1 record. Also on the card are IFL veterans Brad Blackburn and Rory Markham.

Blackburn’s most recent fight was a victory against Delson Heleno, a victory that surprised many, who thought Heleno got the better of the first two rounds. Blackburn’s classic third round, one-punch KO was supposed to catapult the middleweight into contention for Jay Hieron’s title, but the league’s moratorium on fights prevented that from happening.

For Rory Markham, a recent victory at Adrenaline helped him rebound from a surprising defeat to IFL draftee Brett Cooper in December, 2007. Markham is an explosive fighter who can easily end fight with one punch.

In short, these are three very talented fighters that the UFC has snatched up. However, they probably aren’t the best of the IFL bunch. The league still has its champions under contract, perhaps their most valuable asset as it looks to move forward.

Names that should spark the interest of other MMA organizations should include:

Wagnney Fabiano – among the most underrated fighters and most talented featherweights in MMA. Of his last five fights, all were victories and only one made it out of the first round.

Roy “Big Country” Nelson – his most notable opponents to date include Brad Imes, whom he defeated in a second round KO, and Ben Rothwell, to whom he lost a controversial decision. However, if Rothwell can land as spot on the main card at Affliction, Big Country shouldn’t be far behind.

Ryan “The Lion” Schultz – is a wrestler that prefers to knock people out. Despite a youthful appearance, Schultz is a true veteran of the sport with 30 fights to hpis credit. In addition to making headlines by defeating Chris Horodecki for the IFL lightweight championship, he is the only person to defeat the UFC’s Roger Huerta.

With such a pool of talent remaining, in addition to over 400 hours of fight footage, an IFL buyout remains an attractive option for a group looking to enter the MMA game, or expand their current offerings.

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