Gracie's New York Pitbulls and Miletich's Quad City Silverbacks Dominate the IFL Semi-Finals in New Jersey!
At ringside Danny Serratelli (Aug 7, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
The stage has been set for the International Fight League’s Championships as the New York Pitbulls and the Quad City Silverbacks both scored impressive victories in their semifinal match ups to advance to the finals. Before a packed house of 7,077 at the Continental Airlines arena in New Jersey, both teams dominated with the 4th seeded Silverbacks taking out the top seeded Los Angeles Anacondas and the 2nd seeded Pitbulls scoring a 3-2 victory that was never in doubt as they won the first 3 matches over the 3rd seeded Tokyo Sabres.
The Pitbulls will next meet the defending champion Silverbacks in the IFL finals which will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood Florida on September 20.   The two teams met only once before back in September of 2006 and the Silverbacks came away with a 3-2 victory. However, the victory had to be bittersweet for coach Miletich as he was stopped in the 1st round courtesy of a Gracie guillotine choke in the biggest fight on the card.

To this point in the leagues existence it appears that Miletich’s Silverbacks have been the most dominant team in the IFL and the finals between these two teams should be as good as it gets. The fighters who guided the 2006 champion Silverbacks to the title including the very impressive Ben Rothwell, Mike Ciesnolevicz, Bart Palaszewski, and Rory Markham will be back looking to repeat but Gracie’s Pitbulls should give them all they can handle.

Meanwhile, the Pitbulls who have been plagued by injuries will be looking for revenge against the Silverbacks who eliminated them last year. Gracie refuses to use injuries as an excuse and while he is expecting his squad to be healthy by the time they head to Florida for the finals in September, he is also confident in his alternates.

In fact the Pitbulls picked up 2 of their 3 wins against the Sabres with alternates Dan Miller and Deividas Taurosevicius. His 3rd alternate, Tim Boetsch opened some eyes in defeat. Boetsch, who was only operating on 5 days rest and became the first IFL fighter to go the distance with Vladamir Matyushenko, 19-3 (4-0, 3 KO’s in IFL). While Boetsch lost the decision, he did some good work and showed a lot of heart in defeat.

It appeared the biggest star of the evening was the Silverback’s 265 pound heavyweight Ben Rothwell. Rothwell, who sports a 25-5 record (8-0, 7 KO’s) in the IFL was very impressive in stopping the Anaconda’s Krysztof. Rothwell had defeated Krzysztof over a year earlier and Krzysztof looked like he came to fight until Rothwell dropped a big right hand on him and stopped him in the 1st round again. When the referee stopped the contest it initially appeared to be a premature stoppage, however, when Rothwell was pried off of Krzysztof it was clear that Krzysztof did not know where he was.

Full results from the IFL Semifinals appear below:
Courtesy of
No. 4 Silverbacks def. No. 1 Anacondas, 4-1
205 lb.: Mike Ciesnolevicz, Silverbacks def. Alex Schoenauer, Anacondas, via decision (split) after three rounds
170 lb.: Rory Markham, Silverbacks def. Chris Clements, Anacondas, via TKO (referee stoppage), 1:17, 1st
155 lb.: Bart Palaszewski, Silverbacks, def. Harris Sarmiento, Anacondas, via submission (guillotine choke), 1:06, 2nd
185 lb.: Benji Radach, Anacondas def. Gerald Harris, Silverbacks, via TKO (strikes), 3:03, 1st
265 lb.: Ben Rothwell, Silverbacks, vs. Krzysztof Soszynski, Anacondas, via KO (strikes), 0:13, 1st
No. 2 Pitbulls def. No. 3 Sabres, 3-2
185 lb.: Dan Miller, Pitbulls, def. David Phillips, Sabres, via TKO (guillotine choke), 1:30, 1st
265 lb.: Bryan Vetell, Pitbulls, def. Wayne Cole, Sabres, via decision (unanimous), after 3 rounds
155 lb.: Deividas Taurosevicius, Pitbulls, def. Savant Young, Sabres, via decision (unanimous), after 3 rounds
170 lb.: Antonio McKee, Sabres, def. Delson Heleno, Pitbulls, via decision (split), after 3 rounds
205 lb: Vladimir Matyushenko, Sabres, def. Tim Boetsch, Pitbulls, via decision (unanimous) after 3 rounds
Preliminary Bouts
(Alternate) 155 lbs: L.C. Davis, Silverbacks, def. Conor Heun, Anacondas, via decision (split) after 3 rounds
(Alternate) 155 lbs. Jason Palacios, Sabres, def. Joey Sampieri, Pitbulls, via submission (rear naked choke), 3:27, 1st
180 lb.: Lyman Good (New York) def. Mike Dolce (Belmar, N.J.) via decision (unanimous) after 3 rounds
185 lb.: Dante Rivera (New York) def. Nissim Levy (New York) via TKO (ref stoppage), 1:27, 3rd.

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