Team Curran’s Bart Palaszewski, a veteran of the XFO, IFL, WEC and UFC, announced his retirement from MMA via Twitter.
— Bart Palaszewski (@Bartimus7) February 21, 2014
Palaszewski (36-17) was an exciting fighter who had a remarkable finish rate, ending 28 of his 36 career wins by either KO or submission.
One of his most exciting finishes came in his UFC debut at UFC 137, when Palaszewski wrecked Tyson Griffin with an onslaught of punches, earning himself $75k and “Knockout of the Night” honors.
In 2004 he fought in the first XFO event, winning by armbar over Tim Newland. Last summer at the XFO’s annual “Outdoor War,” Palaszewski was named one of the “XFO Legends,” along with Clay Guida, Jeff Curran and Pat Curran.
Palaszewski also had a notable run in the IFL, winning his first six fights in the organization, and holds wins over Anthony Pettis, Ivan Menjivar and Kyle Watson.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Mike Davis has wanted Miguel Torres to fight on one of his cards for many years. He finally got his man. The former WEC bantamweight champion will fight Giovanni Moljo on February 15 at the United Combat League show at the Hammond Civic Center.
That’s not necessarily news. But what you might not have known is that Davis was close to signing Torres years ago when he was trying to establish a bantamweight division for the short-lived Bodog Fight, a promotion that featured fighters such as Duneland Vale Tudo’s Keith Wisniewski, Chael Sonnen, Nick Thompson, Eddie Alvarez and many others.
“The WEC was recently purchased by the UFC and that they were also pursuing Miguel. It turned out to be somewhat of a bidding war and they were able to give him a larger contract than our budget allowed. In the end, Miguel made the right decision and although we didn’t do business together, we had always stayed in touch. Whenever I would run into Miguel, I would always mention to him that I wanted him back at Hammond. He would laugh, but he always had that look in his eye,” Davis told Chicago’s MMA.
One of the keys to sealing the deal was having the show at the Hammond Civic Center, where Torres fought the majority of his early fights with Total Fight Challenge and Ironheart Crown.
“The Hammond Civic Center is the crown jewel of the midwest MMA pioneer days, and the main reason it is so famous is because of all the blood and sweat Miguel gave while fighting in front of his hometown audience. As a promoter, I can not put into words the honor it is having Miguel on a card at the Civic Center.
“When Miguel and I sat down to discuss the event, we essentially had two options: we could either do an expensive ticket and have a good crowd in attendance, or we could have a ticket price that would guarantee that anyone who wanted to come see the event could afford to. It was an obvious choice. I am willing to bet that there isn’t a pro show that has been done in the Illinois/Indiana area with a ticket price as low as ours. On Feb 15, we are having a coming home party for Miguel and literally everyone is invited,” Davis said.
Although it will be the first time they work together on a fight card, Davis is almost certain it will not be the last.
“Both Miguel and I believe that this event is going to be special, if the event turns out the way he and I believe it will, I couldn’t imagine us working on another one in the near future.”
Although Torres is under contract with World Series of Fighting and is still featured on the WSOF website, he has no fights scheduled with them.
Davis isn’t sure how many events United Combat League will have in 2014, but he is sure that they will be back in Hammond, as well as 115 Bourbon Street.
“This event, outside of having Torres vs. Moljo, is kind of a coming out party for us as an organization. I do not have an exact number of events that I will be putting on, but I will say that I plan on being at the Hammond Civic Center at least four times this year. My event after this is going to be at 115 Bourbon Street on March 28, and our events will also feature some Saturday dates. I am looking at an event date in May for our next pro card in Hammond.”
Davis’ phone was working overtime after he announced the card and event, with a slew of fighters asking for a matchup to get on the card. He even received some calls from some of the sport’s luminaries.
“After I announced the card, I got a phone call from someone that I consider a lifelong friend, Wes Sims. He congratulated me on the announcement and said that he and Mark Coleman will be in attendance in order to help support the event. I have always been a fan of the Hammer House gym and for them to come out means a lot to me.”
Sims is a veteran of the UFC and a contestant on season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Coleman is the UFC Hall of Famer that is widely credited for paving the way for wrestlers to fight in the UFC, as well as being known as the “Godfather of Ground and Pound.”
The “Havoc in Hammond” show will also feature amateur fights, including a middleweight title fight between UCL champion Nick Garcia and hometown hero Josh Weddington. The two fought last July at 115 Bourbon Street, a fight that Davis says had the fans on their feet and screaming.
Gilbert Grapplng’s Matt Giancarlo will make his way back to the cage after a two-year layoff. He’ll fight Michael Dombrowski.
In other pro action, Gilbert Grappling’s Joe Benoit makes his return after more than three years away from the sport. He’ll take on Jason Graves, an exciting fighter that has fought in both Bellator and the XFO.
“Please come out and be a part of history on February 15, I promise that it will be an awesome experience for everyone,” Davis said. “But I suggest people get to this event early — it is going to be packed.”
For tickets and more information, visit the United Combat League website.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Former WEC champion and UFC fighter Miguel Torres was arrested for possession of marijuana in Indiana on Sunday.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department page on Facebook showed the booking photo of Torres, which detailed the charge and also noted that Torres posted a $1,500 cash bond.
The NWI Times said Torres declined to comment on the matter late Wednesday.
Torres signed a multi-fight contract with the World Series of Fighting, but has fought just once for the promotion, losing to Marlon Moraes last November.
It doesn’t get any easier for Eddie Wineland. Coming off losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, the former WEC bantamweight champion is scheduled to fight the speedy Demetrious Johnson here in Chicago on January 28th for UFC on Fox 2.
The native of nearby Chesterton, Indiana is happy to fight so close to home. “I love to fight on this card because I’m such a home body and long trips just aren’t my thing,” Wineland told Chicago’s MMA.
While he’s thrilled to be staying close to home, it’s never been Wineland’s dream to fight in front of family and friends, many of whom won’t have to journey far to come see him at the United Center. “The only dream I have set my sights on is that shiny belt buckle,” Wineland said.
The road to obtaining that belt hits a crucial speed bump in the elusive Johnson. This fight will determine if Wineland is still a title contender. A loss to Johnson would be his third in a row, and surely would send him to the back of the bantamweight line.
Wineland’s pro career has been something of a roller coaster ride. He became the WEC’s first-ever bantamweight champ by beating Antonio Banuelos at WEC 20, just a month before his 22nd birthday. He lost the belt to Chase Beebe less than a year later.
He wasted little time in getting another strap. He went out and won the TFC bantamweight title, then returned to the WEC. He fought Rani Yahya here in Chicago at WEC 40, where he was submitted in the first round.
He shrugged off that loss and rattled off four straight WEC victories, which included back to back ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors. Wineland’s power slam KO of Ken Stone in the last-ever WEC event turned heads, went viral across the web and got fans jacked to see him again.
A win over Faber seemingly would have garnered Wineland another title shot, but Wineland couldn’t land the shots he wanted. Now he gets “Mighty Mouse”, who just went five rounds with the champion Dominick Cruz. And he’ll do it here in Chicago on national TV. The perfect place for Wineland to start his climb again.
Looking at the famous 4s in MMA history…
UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors
|UFC 4 was an 8-man tourney back in 1994. No weight classes or weight limits. No time limits, rounds or judges. Royce Gracie beat Dan Severn with a triangle choke to win the tourney. Gracie had to get by local fighter Keith Hackney (Hackney’s Combat Academy) in the semis to get to Severn.|
WEC 4: Rumble Under the Sun
|WEC 4 took place in Connecticut in 2002. Jeremy Horn won the main event by subbing Aaron Brink in the 1st round. Kurt Pellegrino (pictured) beat Mac Danzig for the WEC Lightweight Title. Mike Swick won in just his 3rd professional fight, as did local fighter Jeff Curran, who beat Bao Quach by decision.|
Pride FC 4
|Pride FC 4 was held back in 1998 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. “The Smashing Machine” Mark Kerr remained undefeated with his 10th straight win, a TKO of Hugo Duarte. Marco Ruas’ corner threw in the towel in his bout, giving Alexander Otsuka his first professional win. Igor Vovchanchyn KO’d Gary Goodridge, and Rickson Gracie beat Nobuhiko Takada by an armbar near the end of the first round.|
King of the Cage 4: Gladiators
|King of the Cage 4: Gladiators was held in June of 2000. Co-creator of KOTC Tedd Williams won via keylock in round 1. Marvin Eastman defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by unanimous decision. Duane “Bang” Ludwig beat up Shad Smith, whose corner called it quits for him in round 1. And the late Jeremy Williams needed less than one minute to win by armbar.|
Strikeforce: Triple Threat
|Triple Threat was the fourth MMA event held by Strikeforce. Gina Carano beat Elaina Maxwell for her 3rd straight win as a pro. Ruben Villareal’s corner stopped his fight against Paul Buentello in round 2. Cung Le beat Jason Von Flue by TKO after a huge knee opened up a gash over Von Flue’s left eye. Bobby Southworth won the Strikeforce LHW belt by beating Vernon White via unanimous decision.|
Two of the best MMA fighters to ever come out of the Chicagoland area did battle for the WEC Bantamweight title back in February of 2008. Here is the fight between Miguel Torres and Carson Beebe at WEC 32.
The Chicago area will be well represented at WEC 53 in Arizona on Thursday night — the last ever WEC event before the full absorption of the WEC into the UFC. Here’s a preview of the three local fighters that will do battle.
Team Curran’s Bart Palaszewski vs. Kamal Shalorus
Bartimus has been dominating recently and enters the bout with Shalorus on a 4-fight win streak. He’s coming off an impressive performance when he was on the televised card at WEC 50 against Zach Micklewright. In the 2nd round, Bart rocked Micklewright with a barrage of punches, landed a vicious body kick and then finished him with a right hook. Before that he submitted Karen Darebedyan at WEC 47, beat title contender Anthony Pettis by split decision at WEC 45 and TKO’d Tyler Combs at XFO 32
Although the lightweight division is packed with the merger, a win against Shalorus surely gets Bart a solid opponent in his first official UFC fight. He already told us he would like to fight Kenny Florian, but maybe he’d like to avenge a loss he suffered at the hands of another local fighter all the way back at XFO 6: Clay Guida. Wouldn’t that be something?
Duneland Vale Tudo/New Breed Jiu Jitsu’s Eddie Wineland vs. Ken Stone
Duneland Vale Tudo and New Breed Jiu Jitsu’s Eddie Wineland will be a part of two pieces of WEC history after Thursday night. He was the WEC’s first Bantamweight Champion and he will have fought on the last ever WEC card. He’ll get WEC first-timer Ken Stone in the prelims. Wineland injured his shoulder and has to pull out of his fight with Damacio Page, but he told NWI.com’s Matt Erickson that he’s doing great.
“The shoulder is feeling really good, really strong,” Wineland said. “I was really only set back about a week and a half, but three weeks out from a fight could have been devastating — especially against a guy of Damacio Page’s stature.”
Wineland has won 3 straight and 5 of his last 6. He’s also extremely eager to get back into contention for the Bantamweight title.
Roufusport’s Dan “Danny Boy” Downes vs. Tiequan Zhang
Duke Roufus-trained Dan “Danny Boy” Downes was born and raised in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood and is an honors grad of St. Ignatius High School and Marquette University. He fights out of Milwaukee and the Duke Roufus camp. In his debut at WEC 49, you might say that Downes was thrown to the wolves. He was fighting Chris Horodecki in his hometown and he took the fight on short notice. He gets a different kind of wolf this time.
Downes will be battling China’s Tiequan “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang at WEC 53, with the fight televised all across China. Zhang is unbeaten in 17 fights, including a first-round submission win over current UFC fighter Pablo Garza in his WEC debut back in September. The China Top Team fighter is the first from mainland China to fight in the WEC. A win over Zhang will be huge for Downes. This time he has had a full camp and his father told Chicago’s MMA that Danny says he is in the best shape of his career.
Watch WEC 53 live on Versus at 8pm central.
MMA broadcaster/cage announcer Ray Flores caught up with new UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo to discuss the UFC/WEC merger and his upcoming fight against Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Unfortunately for fight fans, Aldo has had to withdraw from that bout due to compacted vertebrae, which was causing some tingling in his arms, according to Heavy.com.
Former TFC and WEC Bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland has been scheduled to face Ken Stone (9-1) at WEC 53 on Dec. 16 in Glenndale, Arizona. I say scheduled because Wineland’s last 3 scheduled bouts were all changed.
Wineland was supposed to face Damacio Page at WEC 52 in November, but a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw from that bout. Prior to that he was supposed to fight Charlie Valencia at WEC 49, but Valencia backed out because of injury. Wineland instead fought replacement Will Campuzano and KO’d him, winning “Knockout of the Night” honors. In January of this year, Wineland was scheduled to face Rafael Rebello, but then Rebello got hurt. He ended up facing George Roop and beating him by decision.
Wineland has won 3 straight since his loss to Rani Yahya here in Chicago at WEC 40. Now he fights Stone, who will be making his WEC debut.
There are plenty of local fighters currently fighting for the WEC that will get to do battle in the Octagon and the UFC come 2011. One of them is Team Curran’s Bart Palaszewski.
Chicago’s MMA asked Bartimus about the big news and if there is anyone in particular he would like to fight in the UFC.
“That’s a good one. I think a fight with Florian would be fun. Also…who’s another good stand up guy? Anyone who’s willing to sit and trade with me, haha. Any one like that or any of top 5 guys. I was gunning for the WEC belt now I’m gunning for the UFC gold!!! I just want exciting fights– that’s all — none of the lay and pray BS.”
That shouldn’t be a problem, since Bart always seems to make his fights exciting. He’s currently rolling with a 4-fight win streak and will battle Kamal Shalorus at WEC 53.
He’s coming off an impressive performance when he was on the televised card at WEC 50 against Zach Micklewright. In the 2nd round, Bart rocked him with a flurry of punches up against the cage, landed a vicious body kick and then finished him with a right hook at :31.
The picture to the left is one Bart posted to Facebook recently, two weeks before he started his training camp. He already looks like he’s in shape and ready to rock against Shalorus. Shalorus is definitely game and has an amazing wrestling base. But Bart has more speed and much better striking. It should make for a very exciting match.
Palaszewski is also a BJJ black belt under Jeff Curran, and showed off his skills with a 1st round armbar sub against Karen Darebedyan at WEC 47.