On Friday, Sept. 18, Adrenaline MMA IV will be headlined by two-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia and feature popular Omaha fighter and UFC veteran, Houston Alexander, among other notable MMA veterans, at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Looking to rebound from a nine-second knockout loss to 48-year-old boxer Ray Mercer at June’s Adrenaline III event, Sylvia (24-6) will fight Jason Riley, a former Canadian Football League standout-turned-Columbus, Ohio-based fighter who’s posted a 6-1 record (with five stoppage wins) since turning pro in 2007. It will be the second consecutive headlining effort with the promotion for Sylvia.
Riley, who is coming off back-to-back knockout victories, jumped at the opportunity to prove himself against an opponent the caliber of Sylvia, saying he would have taken the fight for free. But Monte Cox, Adrenaline promoter and MMA manager, assured Riley that he would get his "thirty dollars, but may have to pay his own transportation."
Like Sylvia, Alexander (8-4) is also coming off three straight losses, the most recent being a submission (arm triangle choke) with just seven seconds remaining in the first round, courtesy of Eric "Red" Schafer at UFC Fight Night 15 in September 2008.
He’ll look to get back on track against Sherman Pendergarst (11-14), whose one fight in the UFC was a knockout loss to Antoni Hardonk back in 2006.
Alexander — who received permission from the UFC to compete outside the promotion and expects to return to the Octagon later this year — admits he has spent very little time on his plan for the fight. But it was apparent that he was equally, if not more, excited for the opportunity to appear on a card where local talent gets showcased.
Granted, by the looks of the card, the local talent will have its work cut out for them. Omaha’s Alonzo Martinez (23-13-1), a veteran of the Bellator Fighting Championships shown on ESPN-Deportes, will face Adrenaline MMA veteran Ryan Williams (9-5) of Chicago. Two-fight UFC vet Chad Reiner (20-8) of Omaha will face five-fight UFC veteran Forrest Petz (15-7) of Ohio.
Omaha’s Webster Faris (3-0) will face recent UFC product Joe Vedepo (7-3) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And Matt Delanoit (6-6, 1 NC) of Omaha will face Ben Askren, two-time NCAA Division I national champion wrestler and 2008 Olympian out of Missouri. Delanoit made no bones about the difficulty of fighting such a talented grappler in Askren.
"I know (with) the quality of wrestler that he is I will get taken down," Delanoit said, "I just have to get back up. … I don’t want to work my whole camp with the idea of ‘just don’t get taken down’ and then it happens and we’re like, ‘Well, what was camp for?’ I just want to make sure I hurt him on the way in, and if he takes me down I work my submissions until we stand up again."
The fourth show for Adrenaline promises to be an incredibly exciting card for the local fighters, with an undercard made up of amateurs from throughout the Midwest. The card was reportedly organized by Jake Ellenberger, who couldn’t be reached for comment. Ellenberger recently agreed to step in for an injured Chris Lytle and fight former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 19.
The full card includes:
Tim Sylvia (24-5) vs. Jason Riley (6-1)
Houston Alexander (8-4) vs. Sherman Pendergarst (11-13)
Chad Reiner (19-8) vs. Forrest Petz (13-7)
Alonzo Martinez (23-10) vs. Ryan Williams (10-4)
Jeremy Lang (15-1) vs. Matt Delanoit (13-6)
Joe Vedepo (9-2) vs. Webster Farris (1-0)
Jimmy Siepel (1-0) vs. Bob Tuttle (1-0)
Todd Meneely (0-0) vs. Corey McDonald (1-1)
Dustin Smith (5-0) vs. Marcos Marquez (3-0)
Matt Bentley (4-2) vs. Danny Black (7-5)
John Hansen (10-2) vs. Gregg Van der Creek (4-1)
Dakota Cochrane (6-0) vs. Bill Holcombe (12-4)
Ryan Shell (15-4) vs. Robert Rojas (13-1)