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Miller Brothers Join the IFL Exodus, Sign with UFC

Dan Miller kneebar Ryan McGivern
(Dan Miller. Kneebar. Get some.)

When news dropped that the UFC was indeed buying the IFL’s video library and some fighter contracts, the logical next question was, which contracts? Surely the champs were a good bet, but what of Wojtek Kaszowski? While Wojtek might have missed the boat, the dynamic brotherly duo of Dan and Jim Miller are on their way to the big show.

The two have signed with the UFC, making them two of the biggest prospects yet to make the leap. Dan Miller won the IFL’s middleweight title with a submission victory over Ryan McGivern in May, but the company went in the tank before he could defend it.

Jim Miller, a promising lightweight, debuted with a decision victory over Bart Palaszewski and has since been waiting in the wings for another fight. Of course it’s been crowded in those IFL wings of late.

Check out clips of both of them in action after the jump, including an insane guillotine choke by Dan. Also enjoy the journey into the IFL’s yesteryear with all the fun “Battleground” features, like ringside correspondent/obligatory hot chick Tiffany Fallon. Wonder if the UFC bought the entire video library, including the IFL coaches rap song. We can only hope.


Nelson, Schultz & McGivern Defending in May

(Ryan McGivern, on his back, will defend his title for the first time in May.)

The IFL‘s next event is this weekend, but the organization is already rolling out the card for its May event. The show is to go down on May 16th and mark a return to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The fights will, of course, be live on HDNet, as always. Staying true to their word of multiple title fights at every event, the IFL has scheduled three title defenses — heavyweight champion Roy Nelson, newly-crowned middleweight champ Ryan McGivern, and lightweight title holder Ryan Schultz. This will be the second defense for Nelson and Schultz.

Two new camps are also joining the action — The Bomb Squad and Team Prodigy. The Bomb Squad is a Northeast-based camp that will do battle with Mario Sperry’s World Class Fight Center (Vegas). Team Prodigy is based in Ohio and will take on Matt Lindland’s Team Quest (Portland).

For the title fights, here’s a snip from the press release:

In the title bouts, Nelson will defend his heavyweight belt against UFC veteran Branden Lee Hinkle (Weirton, W. Va.). Nelson won the title in December at Mohegan Sun with a knockout of Antoine Jaoude, then defended with a decisive first-round TKO over Fabiano Scherner in Las Vegas in February. Schultz will battle Deividas Taurosevicius (Lithuania) for the lightweight crown. Schultz also won his title in his last visit to Mohegan Sun in December, bouncing Chris Horodecki from the ranks of the unbeaten, then earned a decision win over John Gunderson in Las Vegas in February to defend. McGivern, one of the most improved fighters in the IFL, took the middleweight belt from Matt Horwich in February and has won three of his past four bouts.

Team Quest’s three fighters will find out their Team Prodigy opponents soon, but we do know that Zac George, Matt Horwich, and Aaron Stark will be representing Lindland’s group. The Bomb Squad’s John Howard — a Boston fighter — will fight Mario Sperry’s Marcello Salazar, and WCFC’s Danillo Villefort will take on BS’s Mike Massenzio in other camp action.

Here’s the card so far:

World Class Fight Center vs. Bomb Squad
170 lbs: Marcello Salazar (7-1-2) vs. John Howard (8-3)
185 lbs: Danillo Villefort (6-2) vs. Mike Massenzio (10-1)
155 lbs: TBD vs. TBD

Team Prodigy vs. Team Quest
155 lbs: TBD vs. Zac George (12-2)
185 lbs: TBD vs. Matt Horwich (21-10-1)
205 lbs: TBD vs. Aaron Stark (5-4)

Championship Bouts
265 lbs: Roy Nelson (12-2) vs. Branden Lee Hinkle (13-9)
185 lbs:Ryan McGivern (12-5) vs. Dan Miller (7-1)
155 lbs:Ryan Schultz (19-9-1) vs. Deividas Taurosevicius (9-2)


Fight of the Day: Ryan McGivern vs. Matt Horwich

Despite absorbing a slew of body kicks and a shoulder-lock attempt in the second round that nearly had him tapping, Ryan McGivern got the better of Matt Horwich during their IFL middleweight championship match on Friday and took the fight to a unanimous decision. So, Horwich loses his belt after just a two-month reign, and the title now goes to a guy who’s 4-4 in his last eight fights.


Ringside Analysis: “New Blood, New Battles”

(Easy come, easy go: Horwich and McGivern)

You’ve already read our blow-by-blow results of IFL’s rock ‘em sock ‘em season opener. Now, Ben Fowlkes gives his insider’s perspective on last night’s action. Read it and learn something.

I already knew Matt Horwich could take a punch, but I didn’t know until last night that he could take so many and remain so unfazed. Ryan McGivern hit Horwich with everything but a Zuffa lawsuit in their five-round fight. It made for a sharp contrast from the wrestling match that erupted the last time these two fought, and it proved that while both have come a long way, McGivern is improving at an almost frightening rate.

That’s not to say it was an easy night for McGivern, even if he did walk away with the title. I saw him backstage and his face had already turned several different colors, though he was so happy I don’t think he noticed. For those who were surprised to see McGivern win with his striking, perhaps this anecdote from Pat Miletich will clear it up.

Miletich said that during the training for this fight, they brought in a pro boxer to go a few rounds sparring with McGivern. After three rounds, the guy was done. McGivern had destroyed his ribs. So then a Muay Thai fighter got in there to help him finish up, but after a couple of rounds he was finished as well. Then, Miletich said, one of his guys “who holds a belt in another organization” got in against McGivern, and he also took a beating. No wonder McGivern is the new champ.


IFL Recap: A Title Switcheroo

(Ryan “The Lion” Schultz G-n-P’s John Gunderson.)

Last night at the Orleans Arena in Vegas, 3,931 fans watched the IFL kick off its 2008 season with three title matches – lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight – in addition to their camp-on-camp battles. Ryan “The Lion” Schultz, who won the lightweight title back in December when he beat the shit out of previously undefeated Chris Horodecki, retained his title by earning a unanimous decision over John Gunderson. “The Lion” claimed recently that Gunderson had been offered this fight many times, but had neglected to take it until now. The champ held a strong position through much of the fight – which was fought on the ground for the most part. Both Schultz and Gunderson had chances to end the fight with a choke early on, but neither could execute it.

Heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson also successfully defended his belt by getting a TKO over Fabiano Scherner at 3:20 in the first round. “Big Country” has been improving his striking and this fight showed that as he unleashed a barrage of rights to get a stoppage.

(“Big Country” has a celebratory seizure.)

One title did switch hands and it happened the night before the ex-champ’s wedding, too. Matt Horwich put his middleweight title on the line against Ryan McGivern, which made for the best fight of the night. Horwich almost ended it via armbar in the second round, but the bell saved McGivern’s ass. Horwich almost went down himself in the fourth when McGivern drilled him with a flurry of strikes, but “The Fighting Hippy” held on. In the end, a unanimous decision gave the middleweight crown over to McGivern, ending a two month run as champ for Horwich. Hope he ices his face for the sake of the wedding pictures – he didn’t grow the mohawk out for nothing.