IXFA announces first card of 2011 – Feb. 26, 2011

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The IXFA has returned to Houston with a bang putting on two fantastic shows in a row and from the looks of the latest card the streak should continue.  TheCageDoor.net was given an exclusive peek at the card that will take place on Feb. 26, 2011 at the Verizon Wireless Theater. Following the card, enjoy a brief preview of each match-up.

#3 Taylor Herbert vs #2 Derrick Lewis (Heavyweight title fight)
Antonio Flores vs Rashan Lewis (170lb title fight)
Andrew Craig vs #1 Jon Kirk (185lb title fight)
Shawn Machado vs Tony Orozco. (170lb fight)
Jason Sullivan vs Jared Taylor (205lb fight)
Justin Ledet vs #6 Larry Crowe (205lb fight)
#1 Artenas Young vs #3 Chris Spicer (185lb fight)
Marc Ramirez vs  #6 Jesus Rivera (155lb fight)
Lee Higgins vs Colby Bartholomou (155lb fight)
Jordon Clissold vs #3 Chad Cook (205lb fight)
Pat Bierschwale  vs  Jeremy Morris (170lb fight)
Terrance Ferguson vs  Josh Foster (185lb fight)

Just a note about the rankings listed above – we are days away from releasing our Q4 rankings, so these are reflective of our Q3 rankings, released in October.

Fight Previews

Written by: Barry Laminack

#3 Taylor Herbert (1-0-0) VS #2 Derrick Lewis (2-1-0)

When you think about it, this fight is really #1 vs #2 (if you exclude former UFC fighters that probably won’t fight local fighters from the mix). Derrick Lewis is hungry for a fight. Every time I talk to him that’s all he says he wants to do, fight. He’s called out every heavyweight in the south over the past 6 months.  Answering that call is the #3 Heavyweight in the city, Taylor Herbert.  Expect to see Lewis’ trademark home run swings early and look for Taylor to go gravity on the fight and take it to the ground as quickly as possible. A nice sub-plot to the fight is that it will no doubt be a revenge fight for Lewis who’s team mate Larry Crowe lost to Hebert at Legacy FC in July.

Antonio Flores (4-2-0) (champion) VS Rashan Lewis (1-0-0)

This could very well be an early candidate for fight of the year.  Don’t expect a lot of finesse in the fight. Both fighters have the same approach to fighting: Attack. Smash. Win.  That’s it in a nutshell. The key in this one is, who has the better chin. Expect bombs, early and often, but don’t expect the fight to last very long.  In fact, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t make it past the second round.

Andrew Craig (3-0-0) VS #1 Jon Kirk (16-7-0)

This is a great match up that will most likely end up determining the #1 185 pound fighter in Houston.  At the time of this writing (Dec. 09, 2010) Andrew Craig isn’t ranked…yet. Once Q4 rankings come out, I predict he’ll be ranked as high as #2.  Because of that, Houston will get to see who is the better fighter and the best 185’er in town.  Kirk is a slick fighter with a ton of skill and experience to match.  Perhaps the biggest knock on him is that he rarely trains “hard” for a fight.  If that trend continues, we could see Craig sitting atop the Middleweight division in Houston as Craig isn’t a fighter to be taken lightly. Craig is no doubt one of the best strikers in Houston and Texas and will probably be a tough match up for Kirk because he is so well rounded. Look for Kirk to use his reach to keep Craig at bay while somehow trying to figure out how to get the fight to the ground, where he has the best chance of winning. There is just one problem with that,  world champion BJJ player Rodrigo Pinheiro tried that very same plane against Craig and ended up losing via TKO.

Shawn Machado (1-0-0) VS Tony Orozco (0-0-0)

For those not familiar with the name, Tony Orozco is the head coach at Silverback Fight Club. Now in his 40’s, Coach Tony (as he’s known in Houston MMA circles) has the itch to test his game inside the cage and will do so against 1-0 Sam Hoger product Shawn Machado (I mention that because it’s been well documented that Sliverback fighter Derrick Lewis and Coach Tony have both called out Sam Hoger). Both guys are physical specimens who probably cancel each other out in the strength department.  Give the edge to Machado in the stand up department because of his length, but Orozco is the superior grappler.  I think this fight is going to come down to the gas tank of each fighter. May the best cardio win.

Jason Sullivan (1-1-0) VS Jared Taylor (4-7-0)

This fight is going to be a slug fest. On the one hand  you have Jason Sullivan. He’s 1-1 as a pro, but has some seriously heavy hands.  On the other hand, Jared Taylor is coming off what many consider one of the biggest upset wins of 2010 after knocking out #1 ranked Artenas Young with a spinning back fist at WGC 2 in November.  Taylor has a good chin (proving that by going the distance with Larry Crowe) and he’s going to need it because Sullivan is going to put it to the test once again.  Don’t expect much ground game in this one, the two sluggers want to finish it on the feet.

Justin Ledet (2-0-0) VS #6 Larry Crowe (2-1-0)

Justin Ledet is scary good.  I guess you could also say he’s scary and good.  ESPN 97.5’s Adam Villareal said it best during a post fight interview with Ledet that “anybody that smiles that much before fighting has to be crazy”.  Ledet fights with reckless abandon and has yet to be defeated as a pro (2-0) or amateur (3-0).  The question going into this fight is, has Larry Crowe’s broken right hand healed?  Crowe broke his hand back in October on his way to a very nice decision win over Jared Taylor.  Both of these guys have KO power, so this one is going to be a test of who is more accurate. Don’t be surprised if Ledet tries to force the action to the ground and win via submission.

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#1 Artenas Young (4-2-0) VS #3 Chris Spicer (4-4-0)

This is a bounce back fight for both fighters.  Young lost his last fight against Jared Taylor and now has bookend losses with a four fight win streak in between.  Spicer is coming off a disappointing loss to Bubba Bush at Legacy FC in July and is no doubt looking to get back into the win column and get back over the .500 mark.  The last time Young faced a fighter with such a monumental reach advantage was when he lost to Brian Lightfoot.  Does Spicer use the Lightfoot game plan and nullify Young’s punching power by keeping him at the end of a jab? Probably not because he chose not to do so against Bubba Bush.  Besides, Spicer is a BJJ specialist so I think he’s going to try and get the faster Young to the ground, but that might be easier said than done as Young showed good takedown defense in his fight against Chad Cook at Strikeforce.  Give the advantage to Young in the striking department and the advantage to Spicer in BJJ.  The outcome will be decided by who can dictate where the fight takes place.

Marc Ramirez (2-1-0) VS #6 Jesus Rivera (5-2-0)

This is the standout fight of the card in my opinion, and probably the front runner for fight of the night. Both guys were involved in two of the best fights in Houston, not just in 2010, but maybe ever.  Ramirez lost a controversial split decision to Adam Schindler in December and Rivera lost a WAR to Rey Trujillo back in March. This one probably isn’t going to the ground.  Ramirez’s striking is crisp and accurate and he has KO power, but along with some of the best kicks in Houston, Jesus Rivera has an iron chin.  So if this one goes to the ground it’s because one of these guys is down their picking up their head after it was punched (or kicked) of their shoulders.  This one is a definate fight of the year candidate. Side note: Rivera had contemplated retirement after the Trujillo fight, so it’s good to see him back in the cage.

Lee Higgins (2-0-0) VS Colby Bartholmey (0-0-0)

Lee Higgins is on a roll. He’s gone 2-0 since making his pro debut in October, with wins over Kenny Burke and Gilbert Jiminez. Both wins have been very impressive submission victories.  Bartholmey will be making his pro debut and will no doubt need to find away to slow down Higgins.  After a 37 second victory in his final amateur fight, Bartholmey appears poised for the challenge.  I see this one being fought on the ground and not making out of the second round.

Jordon Clissold (0-2-0) VS Chad Cook (9-9-0)

Clissold went the distance against Jason Sullivan back at IXFA in October and will be looking to get the first victory of his pro career when he faces Chad Cook. Cook’s last fight was against old school fighter Ruben Davila.  Cook broke Davila’s nose in the first round and went on to get the win in the second via GNP.  Clissold is tough as nails but can he defend the onslaught of takedowns he’ll no doubt see from the former NCAA wrestler in Cook.  If Cook can win this fight, look for him to get a title shot against newly crowned champion Ike Villanueva at the next IXFA event.

Pat Bierschwale (0-0-0) VS Jeremy Morris (1-0-0)

Pat “The Bison” Bierschwale will be making his long awaited pro debut when he steps into the cage to do battle with Jeremy Morris. Morris is flying high after submitting Rick Bigger in quick fashion at the IXFA event on October 16, 2010. Can Morris avoid giving up his back and falling victim to “The Bison Stomp”?  While Bierschwale has the strength advantage on the ground, Morris might be just as skilled. When standing, look for Morris to use his reach to score from the outside against the former Sanshou champion in Bierschwale.

Terrance Ferguson (1-0-0) VS Josh Foster (2-2-0)

Ferguson comes into the fight fresh of a sound victory over heavyweight prospect Drew Ratichek.  Foster looks to rebound after dropping a hard faught decision to stud Middleweight Andrew Craig on Dec 4th. Ferguson displayed a well rounded game during his fight against Ratichek. He’ll no doubt face a test in Foster who showed that he belongs in the coversation with some of the toughest fighters at 185 after forcing Craig to go the distance. A key in this fight is the size of each fighter. Ferguson is 5’10” with a short reach, while Foster is 6’3″ and long. Look for Ferguson to try and neutralize Foster’s reach by getting inside on Foster and work form the clinch. I also expect to see Ferguson take this to the ground and try and finish it there.

*as always, the fight card is subject to change without notice.

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