CHUCK NORRIS BRINGS WORLD COMBAT LEAGUE EAST COAST PLAYOFFS TO MIAMI'S JAMES KNIGHT CENTER ON NOV 10TH
by Manny Mora
The Miami Force's Undefeated Season On The Line Against The New England Strikers In Its Bid For The Eastern Conference Championship and The League Crown
Chuck Norris is bringing the crowd pleasing, full throttle action of his recently launched World Combat League to Miami's James Knight Center on Friday, November 10th as the League's first ever WCL East Coast Playoffs get underway. The World Combat League's signature brand of fast-paced striking action will be center ring as the Miami Force squares off against the New England Strikers and the New York Clash takes on the Philadelphia Fire. The East Coast team that prevails with the highest season point total will meet the Western Conference Champion Houston Enforcers to determine 'America's Toughest City' on January 20th at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The second place team will take on the Los Angeles Stars to determine the League runner up.
Tickets for 'Chuck Norris Presents World Combat League Eastern Conference Championships' are on sale now ranging from $73.00 to $24.00 and available through the James Knight Center Box office (www.jlkc.com) and Ticketmaster. Log onto ticketmaster.com; call Ticketmaster at (305) 358-5885 or (954) 523-3309; or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.
'I have always believed that combat martial arts, if presented correctly, could be a major, top five, professional sport,' says Norris who will be on hand for the event. 'Our goal with the WCL is to bring together the world's most skilled martial arts experts by region and to provide sports fans with an unmatched level of fighting action in every second of each round of every team contest. When you combine this unprecedented level of action with the thrill of cheering for your favorite team and following their progress throughout an entire league season, along with the family friendly environment we have created, it's pretty hard to resist.'
Unlike other forms of professional mixed martial arts, there is no wrestling or grappling allowed in the WCL to slow things down. Since each team member only fights a three-minute match in each half of the contest (rather than five to twelve consecutive rounds) they must really 'let it fly' in order to earn as many points for their team as possible. To ensure the action, WCL rules penalize clinching, stalling, or anything that slows the pace and is considered by the referee as 'passivity.'
Another groundbreaking aspect of the WCL is that each six-member team features one woman competitor. The WCL (www.worldcombatleague.com) is the world's first team combat martial arts league. Each WCL team features six fighters (five men and one woman) who have been recruited from three different disciplines: Kickboxing, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do. Each fighter holds a spot in one of six predetermined weight classes so that any league team can compete on even ground against any other league team.
On November 10th, the Miami Force, under the direction of head coach John Morrison, will field an imposing squad lead by Crafton 'Blaze' Wallace, a WCL veteran and world class MMA fighter and scrappy 128 lb. female warrior Kornelija 'The Lioness' Numic against the Strikers equally impressive cast of athletes including three World Champions, two National Champions, and a two-time Golden Gloves Champion.
The Philadelphia Fire, led by League leader in effectiveness ratio and unbeaten Stephen 'The Wonder Boy' Thompson, will also have its hands full matching up with New York's lethal combination of Carlos 'Showtime' Tearney and League scoring leader Jennifer Santiago.
WORLD COMBAT LEAGUE
NOVEMBER 10, 2006
KNIGHT CENTER / MIAMI FLORIDA
NEW YORK CLASH VS PHILADELPHIA FIRE
The new and improved New York Clash will face the Philadelphia Fire in the WCL's combat zone, in a test of their upgraded team roster vs. some of the league's most dynamic and experienced CMA fighters. Each team will have their season on the line as they match-up for a chance to better their finishing position in the WCL's premier season. The Clash's revised line-up features three new starters selected to add knockout power and overall aggressiveness to their game. The Fire has done a little tweaking of its own, adding both youthful energy and some veteran experience.
Rami 'Arabian Nightmare' Ibrahim VS. Fernando 'Cool' Calleros
In this 147 lb. match-up, look for a frenzy of leg kicks used to 'break each other down' and gain position for power punches. Both fighters will be looking for the knockout in order to give their team a big 15-point edge. Rami Ibrahim has the advantage in WCL experience, but 'Cool' Calleros has the advantage in overall fight experience. Can the youthful 'Arabian Nightmare' set a pace that the veteran Calleros can't maintain? Or will Fernando's veteran guile and punching power bring it home for the Fire? This is going to be a good one!
Tom 'The Phenom' Poey VS. Jason Tankson Bourelly
At 164 lbs. we'll see a real clash of styles. New York's Tom Poey has tremendous kickboxing skills and works the body like you stole his wallet. The Fire's Jason Bourelly is one of the fastest and most athletic fighters in the league. This match will be about distance and timing. When Bourelly can control the space between the fighters, his speed can really cause havoc. If 'The Phenom' can 'walk him down' or make Jason stand and fight him, he can do some real damage. Watch for the first thirty seconds of this fight to likely determine which fighter will be able to dictate.
Lemont 'Bad Boy' Davis VS. Peyton 'The Artist' Russell
Lemont Davis is tough, proud, experienced and hungry. He'll need to access every resource he can when he faces Peyton 'The Artist' Russell. Russell has proven to be a top performer for the Fire all season. 'Bad Boy' has the tools, the skill, and the will necessary to be one of Russell's toughest tests, but in order to do that he'll need to come 'fully loaded' and ready to fire. Both Russell and Davis will be prepared to 'leave it all in the ring' in a battle for their team's dominance in the Eastern Conference playoff.
Carlos 'Showtime' Tearney VS. Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson
Don't be surprised if this is the pivotal match-up of this contest.Stephen Thompson has the highest effectiveness rating in the league (points scored by him vs. points scored against him), because the vast majority of his opponents have finished the fight on their backs looking up at the lights. 'Wonderboy' is an unorthodox and powerful sharp-shooter who can get you out of there with a single punch or a single kick. He's deadly accurate and attacks effectively from what most fighters would consider 'outside' of range. Carlos Tearney is a very talented fighter who may just have the right combination of technical skills and unique experience to deal with Thompson's blitz attacks. 'Showtime's' eight sport karate world titles came as the result of his uncanny defensive abilities combined with his own fast counter attacks. He is accustomed to dealing with Thompson's preferred fighting distance and also very comfortable in countering the blitz attack. For both of these fighters, this match will greatly impact their WCL careers. A victory for Tearney could not only help his team overcome the Philadelphia Fire, but also earn him the reputation of 'Dragon Slayer'. For Thompson, a decisive victory here in the playoffs could cement his position as the league's most valuable fighter.
Joe Guadalupe VS. Jesse Isbell
This heavyweight conflict will feature two experienced fighters making their WCL debut. In doing so they each hope to cement their newly earned positions as 'starters' for their respective teams. Both have great winning records and are ready to adjust their speedometer to the WCL's required 'full throttle' setting. Look for big shots fired from both fighters and heated exchanges. It will be very interesting indeed to see which of these WCL newcomers can best deal with what most of the league's fighters call 'the longest three minutes in sports!'
Jennifer Santiago VS. Virginia Baker
Jennifer Santiago leads the league in scoring. She also leads the league in penalties assessed against her (there is no close second). The even has a CMA technique named after her as a result of her stunning knockout of Angie Woolum in our premier event. Gin Baker knows all of this and shrugs it off. She respects Jenn as far as that goes but is quick to say, 'Statistics become irrelevant once she has to stand in front of me in the combat zone.' Baker has good reason to be undaunted. She is one of the toughest, fittest, and most focused fighters in the Eastern Conference, and she fully intends to put Santiago to the test in Miami.
NEW ENGLAND STRIKERS VS MIAMI FORCE
New England vs. Miami could likely come down to the wire, in what promises to be a VERY close contest. Each match-up will be colorful, competitive and compelling. A slight advantage in one match will be offset by an opposing edge in another. Look for a 'tooth and nail' struggle between two teams wanting a taste of the WCL's premiere season league championship event.
Tommy 'Li'l Dragon' Bach VS. Scotty Mukaddam
'Slick vs. Tough' might be the best way to characterize this fight. 'Li'l Dragon' has shown that he can effectively adjust his style to meet the circumstances, and Scotty Mukaddam has demonstrated the ability do whatever it takes to come out on top. Bach is the more technical fighter and technical fighters have posed a serious challenge for Mukaddam in the past, challenges that have been overcome with 'come from behind' KO victories. Tommy will be aggressive but cautious and Scotty will be Scotty, which means 'full throttle!'
Shannon 'The Cannon' Hudson VS. Eric 'El Tigre' Costanos
This 164 lb. match-up will be a barn-burner. Neither of these guys even knows how to back up. They both fight well with all six weapons and use them with great regularity. 'The Cannon' vs. 'El Tigre' will be a classic WCL confrontation between two guys who really know how to 'burn rubber'. The fans in attendance will be the ultimate winners in this one because both of these fighters will put it all on the line. The intangibles? Hudson's youth and athleticism vs. Costanos' pride fighting in front of his home town fans. Not a good time to get popcorn.
John 'The Mad Mohawk' Fleming VS. Crafton 'Blaze' Wallace
This will be interesting because so far this season, 'Blaze' has had to hunt down each of his prey with what can only be described as his uncommonly relentless attack. He won't have to search far to find 'The Mad Mohawk' who by his very nature is an 'in your face' kind of fighter. We can expect both of these guys to 'throw-down' on behalf of their teams in an effort to score a big 15-0 knockout. It might be beneficial to see if the 20-year-old Fleming can back Crafton up (has anyone ever seen him take a step backwards?), which could be the best possible strategy for dealing with the Miami's Blaze.
Ronnie 'Kid' Copeland VS. Armin Mrkanovic
This match-up features two 'supporting actors' who most certainly have the strong desire to become WCL 'leading men'. Each, in his last contest, was defeated by athletes who are commonly considered the two best 195 lb. fighters in the league. Copeland was stopped mercilessly with a jump spinning hook kick courtesy of Raymond Daniels and Mrkanovic, who started strong, narrowly avoided being KO-ed by Stephen Thompson. Make no mistake; both Copeland and Mrkanovic are world class. They have the skills and in this case, the unique motivation to be at their very best when they enter the combat zone in Miami.
Alex 'The Lumberjack' Beck VS. Kelly 'The Lion' Leo
'The Lumberjack vs. The Lion'. Is Beck's blade sharper or are Leo's fangs more pointed? Both fighters are coming off exciting KO performances, with Alex Beck stopping New York's Mo Fawzey via a spinning backfist and Kelly Leo finishing the Fire's Dan Erickson with a straight left hand. Look for Beck to make Leo work hard rather than give him time and space to pick his shots. This is a great heavyweight match-up that will likely end with a knockout.
Marisol Vidal-Ortiz VS. Trisha 'TNT' Leo
Trish 'TNT' Leo will make her WCL debut against New England Striker Soli Vidal-Ortiz in what promises to be a raging conflict between two fighters with similar styles. Both prefer to use their kicks to gain entry and then let their hands go. So look for this duel to be fought in the trenches with each fighter unloading combinations. Soli has one WCL event under her belt, which gives her an edge in experience that should not be underestimated. Don't count Trisha out though -- she is the stronger and more seasoned fighter and will doubtlessly try to impose herself on her New England opponent.