IFL returns, honoring the traditions originally founded by Chairman Kiowa and his search to find the best of the best.
"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price." - Sun Tzu
The Blow of the Week – Week 4
Kruger Allen - December 5th, 2022 - 08:00am
Holy Governor Driscol, this was a long week! Who the heck authorized a holiday right in the middle of IFL Season? The Anvil wants to have words with this person. Them holiday makers need to show more respect for our pugilistic rights. It’s a tangled shambles out there, we have week five fights being finished before week 4 fights get completed for pity’s sake. Do you know how difficult it has been to keep things straight for me? I had to keep checking the programs to remember who was fighting whom for when. I do want to thank ROC and DCK for pounding the seal down on week four though. If it had gone on too much longer, I don’t know what I would have done. I bought a second calendar, so that I could separate the weeks for my article. Fortunately the governor loaned me a minion to organize things in a way that made sense. Thanks Turalooraloora Shannon! Since I’m first this week, I get to put things in my very own order, so I am going to use order of occurrence.
KGM vs TMF:
Initially in this match-up, The Anvil was going to showcase the Crutch bout between Anubis and Ria. Why? Because Ria’s win secured enough points to allow the Teamsters a chance to knock off the Gambitians. Then Xanth stepped into the ring and changed all the damn rules on me. As much as I admired Ria’s efforts, Xanth’s performance against Myth overshadowed the accomplishment. I say overshadowed, but honestly this was more like a total eclipse. The fight drove the week’s score to twenty-five for KGM and eleven for TMF, with no hope of recovery for the Teamsters. As much as this likely hurt the morale on the team, believe it or not it could have been worse. If Myth hadn’t managed to confuse Xanth in round five, and make him pull out of whatever move he had planned, there would have been an extra point on the board for the Gambitno family. Kudos to you Myth! I don’t know how you accomplished it under the kind of duress Xanth was exposing you to, but it was awesome! Still, that final point came down with an almost audible crash. It’s because of this that I am giving the advantage to Xanth The Undefeated Von Bokkelen.
TNB vs RRD:
There are exceptions to The Anvil’s personal rule about including shutout victories, and this week witnesses two of them. I have to tell you, going into the last fight, an Anchor bout between Em Locke and Jaycy Ashleana, it seriously looked like the Bloods had a lock on the win. Now, The Anvil has a great deal of respect for Miss Locke, she’s a real fighter, and she pulled out every trick she had against Jaycy. I know, you’re looking at the final score and cocking your skeptical eyebrows at me, but I am going to tell you why The Anvil is saying it. Yes, the final score had Jaycy getting literally all the points, but it took ten rounds to do it in. If that doesn’t tell you that Em was doing everything she could, you’re probably one of the fanatical folks who won’t allow praise for anyone that is fighting your favorite pugilist. I’m okay with that, I have one or two of them myself. Here’s more evidence though, It’s year one for Em, she’s not even ranked yet, still just a trainee. Jaycy holds the Kiowa Belt. The gap in experience here is more than obvious, and a huge factor in this fight. Em’s learning quickly, and while she’s gained a number of tricks, it’s a megachasm away from the bag of tricks that Jaycy’s acquired. Now I am not trying to take away from Jaycy’s accomplishment. By the bard Driscol, she turned this entire week around in a mathematical improbability that I doubt Conner Reid would have wanted to pay out the odds on. It was like watching a magician perform sleights of hand, you just want to figure out how it works. The Anvil can’t tell you how it works, he can tell you that it did work. I’m going to have to give the advantage to Jaycy of the Belt Ashleana.
ROC vs DCK:
I’m not going to lie, this one causes The Anvil a bit of pain. While the math wasn’t quite so out of reach for the Cake eaters as it was for the Realists, this was due to the last fight being a Push Bout with more points available for the taking. Still, the Rockers had a commanding six point lead, had won the Iron Fist bout, making it necessary for DCK to take the win and limit ROC to less than three points. The Rockers had Maggie in, someone who had proven just a week prior that she had the ability to garner needed points. She was facing the head Cake eater himself, Sal. It was obvious to The Anvil that Death Cake’s captain was going in knowing exactly what he needed to accomplish too. Let it be known that if there are two people you want to have in the ring in this situation, it is Sal and Maggie. They’ve both proven to be reliable under pressure, but holy cow…no not cow…Holy Rage Bear, IFL fans. Sal kept Maggie struggling for points through the first three rounds, and just kept ticking off his own through the first four. Credit goes to Maggie for being able to keep the fight going for another three rounds by not allowing Sal to pin down that final point, but even when she brought the bear to bear down on Sal she just couldn’t claw out another point. Sal brought the fight to an end in the eighth round, tripping up Maggie who may have accidentally landed on him. The Anvil has little choice but to give the advantage here to Sal, King of the Cake Eaters, Delahada.
The Blow of the Week Award:
There hasn’t been a week quite like this one. We have a commanding and decisive stroke, and two clutch wins. If these occurred in different weeks, The Anvil is confident that each of them would receive their own award. It’s really unfair of all you captains to put this burden on my shoulders, and I include myself in there even though I’m not sure what that looks like. I was eyeing myself kind of funny when I looked in the mirror to shave this morning. Okay, so let me do a little breakdown of circumstances.
Xanth owned his fight, no question about that, but going into this, he was at or near the top of the leaderboard. He was a 3 and 0 Powerhouse ranked fighter, going up against a 1 and 1 Rookie Flyweight. As impressive as the win is, it’s also not outside of Xanth’s scope or capability.
Jaycy’s ownership of her fight was not nearly so commanding as Xanth’s, but she gets added marks for the degree of difficulty. She only had enough available points for her team to win the week if she shut down Em. As stated in my breakdown though, she holds the IFL’s top fighter slot and a shutout win is in her wheelhouse.. The Anvil believes that while her win was exactly what the Realists needed, she actually managed to teach Em a number of new things while she was accomplishing it.
Sal’s ownership of his fight had a number of the same issues as Jaycy’s, and he had a greater points cushion to take advantage of. The big difference in this fight versus the other two is in the competitors. This was a fight between a Heavyweight in Sal, and a Power House in Maggie. Their last encounter within the IFL had a different outcome. They’ve fought numerous times in the duel of fists league, and have had wins go both ways. Sal was fighting up in rank, against an opponent who is very familiar with him. That in itself makes the extended length of the bout more understandable. It also makes the huge point gap a far more difficult achievement.
By The Numbers – Week Four
Intern Liovanni - November 23rd, 2022 - 10:25pm
Week 3 Roundup
Prediction Scores: 6/12 Another six correct, another six wrong. Respect to Haru, Rheamila, Szuzak, Renley, Eden and Olaf von Trunk for beating the odds this week.
Bout of the Week: Rheamilia’s debut match against Rekah Illyriana was phenomenal. Most of us showed up on Thursday for the double-header IF bouts, but it’s always nice to catch an Undercard as a warm-up. The crowd at Wrangler’s Watch Party was glued to the hologram the moment Rekah reached match point in round seven, and then Rhea blew us away as she walked it back bit by bit with a headshot followed by a quick kick. We stared in awe as the two fighters grappled, each of them a moment away from victory for two rounds before Rhea slide-tackled Rekah for the win. For a debut IFL performance, you couldn’t ask for more.
ROC vs KGM [Week 2]: This matchup wasn’t finished in time for my Week 2 Roundup, so I’ll make a few comments here. KGM nailed week two with a solid string of victories in the Undercard. I maintain that Miss Harker’s fight was the best fight, given the hope it provided ROC. The Rock Hards clearly show playoff potential.
RRD vs KGM: The gamblers did more than take the week, they took it in style. The Trunk’s victory in the I.F. created very solid ground for KGM, and even with the close bout between Eden and Sophia the overall score sat at 22-14 before the Anchor match. As soon as the first punch landed in round one by Renley, the rest was history. Will this year be the end of RRD’s four-season playoff run? It’s too soon to tell, but the odds don’t look great.
TMF vs ROC: What an upset! Team Fist and the Rock Hards were both close to winning the week when Dean and Maggie stepped up to the plate, and Dean was this close to winning it for his team with a 4-0 lead after four rounds. All Miss Harker needed was two points to tie up the scores, and even if she didn’t win, Blackthorne’s performance in the Iron Fist would give ROC the tiebreaker – and that’s exactly what happened. If The Anvil doesn’t give the Blow of the Week to this here ‘bout I’ll eat my collector’s typewriter.
TNB vs DCK: Well, at least I got the score right: 29-18. I just chose the wrong team. New Blood dominated this week taking three out of four bouts including Szuzak, Jackson and newcomer Rheamila. The most crushing bout was the I.F. with a 5-1 score, and Anya was really a hair’s-breadth away from winning hers with a 4-2 lead in round eight before Mira made a persistent comeback. Is this the turning point for New Blood’s season? We’ll find out this week.
Week 4 Overview
The season is just over half-way and no team has a significant lead or significant loss record with three teams at 2-1 and three at 1-2. If you check the standings it’s an exact mirror with Bouts Won (BW) versus Bouts Lost (BL). King’s Gambit (8-4), Deathcake (6-6), and The Rock Hards (5-7) are all at 2-1 while Team New Blood (7-5), Real RhyDin (6-6), and Team Fist (4-8) are 1-2.
What’s noteworthy here is that while DCK and RRD have the same BW-BL ratio, one of those is a 2-1 match win and the other is a 1-2; it’s not just how much you win, it’s where and when you win. Another example is ROC and TNB. ROC has technically lost more bouts than TNB, but they’ve got the 2-1 win-loss record.
Coming into the penultimate week we have King’s Gambit at Team Fist, Team New Blood versus Real RhyDin, and The Rock Hards against Deathcake. We have another tie-breaker match-up with ROC vs DCK, including a re-match between Maggie Harker and Salvador Delahada. From a playoff perspective the high-stakes match-up this week is Team New Blood and Real RhyDin. New Blood and the Reals are 1-2 each, and they both need another win to get them into the top four.
My top three bouts to watch live are Renley (KGM) vs Koyliak (TMF), Jackson (TNB) vs Gren (RRD), and Doran (ROC) vs Gatito (DCK).
King’s Gambit at Team Fist
Current Record: 2-1
Over the past three seasons only Runt, Bile, and Xanth have found consistent success in a Gamblers vs Punchers match-up. Bile is not with a team this year and Runt has been benched for the week. For the KGM side, Olaf and Anubis have both lost to Team Fist over the past two seasons but over half the TMF lineup is brand new and Ria/Koy don’t normally feature in a KGM match. Going into the week the Gamblers placed first on the standings with a 2-1 record with 81 points forced. The Punchers are dead last with a 1-2 record and 80 points allowed. If we are talking about team momentum, King’s Gambit is a steady train and Team Fist is scrambling to get the engine going.
Anchor: Olaf vs Luna
Olaf has a great start this season with solid wins against Burke and Street. The Trunk also sports a very nice 2.73 PDPB record. Luna has one bout so far, a respectable loss against Mos of Team New Blood. One of the most challenging things about fighting the Trunk is the unpredictable chaos. Despite being an Iron Fists League, the Trunk gets away with things like pinesol jets, hazardous and likely-explosive marbles, disgorging a real, live person mid fight, and sliding away on a streak of (probably poisonous) Elmer’s glue. What kind of bribery does the Lich-Lord have on the commissioner to allow this atrocity when the League should be about kicking, punching, and Koy’s stiletto shoes?! Due to a clearly unfair advantage of using everything, including the kitchen sink, this goes to Olaf, 5-2.
Crutch: Anubis vs Ria
Anubis claimed a solid win against Blackthorne two weeks ago, the first since 2020. Ria’s last win was also in 2020, but she was on leave for Season 2021. Ria sports a -1.00 PDPB record while Anubis has -1.09 making them essentially equal, except Anubis has twice as many bouts. Ria and Anubis both show predictable patterns from the tapes. Anubis is a bit more assertive and knows when to throw a good punch while Ria seems to rely on those powerful legs of hers. I’m always a fan of the fist, and I think it produces more reliable results. Anubis, 5-3.
Push: Renley vs Koyliak
These two fought in the league back in 2019 during the Powerhouse Tournament where Killian won a tight 5-4 bout. Renley is 1-1 this season while Koyliak 0-1 after a quick loss to Dakota Street back in week one. However, lest you think this is an easy call, VanDuran-Simon is the current holder of IceDancer in the Outback with 78 WoL and last cycle she was 3-0 on the Emerald Ranking System. I think Koy has it in her stiletto shoes to win this one, but it will be close. Koyliak, 5-4.
Iron Fist: Xanth vs ‘Blue’
The Iron Fist match between Xanth and ‘Blue’ promises to be interesting. If you exclude the powerhouse tournaments, which I normally do, Xanth is riding a ten-win streak since 2020 including opponents such as Yuzuki Kuwbara, Doran Ilnaren, Eden Parker, and current DiArchLord Gatito. Myth is 1-1 in his debut season, with a close loss to Gren and a close win against Amaris. Xanth’s win streak will continue unless ‘Blue’ has picked up some extra skills in the past week. Van Bokkelen, 5-4.
Overall Match Score: According to my calculations, this should be a 29-18 victory for King’s Gambit. As always, I love a good underdog story and I’d be happy for Team Fist to prove me wrong. The swing duel could very well be the Iron Fist, as it usually is, which would shift the score in favor of the Punchers.
Team New Blood at Real RhyDin
Current Record: 0-2
The last time New Blood fought Real RhyDin it was absolutely devastating. Gren, Jaycy, and Eden claimed victory after victory in the Undercard Bouts, and then Hope topped it off with a shut-out victory against Herne in the Iron Fist 5-0 in 6. That was in Week 5, when RRD 2-2 and TNB was also 2-2. They both desperately needed to win in order to make the playoffs. Once again, TNB and RRD are in a very tight race with identical points allowed, two more points forced for New Blood and very similar BW-BL records. And similar to 2021, they both need this win.
Anchor: Em vs Jaycy
Locke went up against Kruger week one in the Iron Fist, and Ashleana had her first bout last week against Renley. This is the second bout of the season for both Em and Jaycy and they both are looking for a win. The good news is, one of them will get it. Since Locke has no Outback record and we know very little about her we will use their first bouts as a comparison point. Em’s bout against Kruger started in her favor with a 3-1 lead, and she was at match point for four rounds before Kruger caught up to win in the twelfth round. In comparison, Ashleana’s bout was five quick rounds with a single trade in round two. I think LaFey’s coaching is paying off with his trainees. Locke, 5-3.
Crutch: Rheamilia vs Michelle
I’ve already sung Rhea’s praises earlier in this article, so I won’t repeat myself here. Michelle’s overall record is 2-4 with a -1.50 PDPB, and she clearly didn’t shake off the rust with a 1-5 loss against Burke. I think Rhea shows careful thinking in her bouts and already has more points forced than the former Diamond this season. Momentum is in her favor. Rheamilia, 5-2.
Push: Herne vs Eden
Herne is sitting with a 2-2 (-2.75 PDPB) record and one win this season so far. Eden is 10-6 (1.19 PDPB) with two wins. From a purely statistical perspective Eden has more wins this season, more wins overall, and a greater depth of experience which puts the odds firmly in her favor. Furthermore, stylistically Parker seems a bit more adaptable than Herne. This one goes to Parker, 5-3.
Iron Fist: Jackson vs Gren
This season is an even 1-1 for Jackson, which mirrors his overall record of 3-3 (0.33 PDPB). Gren’s record is 13-12 (-0.04 PDPB), but he’s held that 50-50 over the course of 25 bouts. This season Gren also has a 1-1 record, making it once more a coin flip. They are both just as likely to win as lose, and they both have equal momentum at this point in the season. The one edge for Gren is that his Outback experience is miles deeper than Jackson’s. However, it’s still a 50/50 and could mean the difference for either team. At the risk of putting undue pressure on the pugilists, I think this is the most high stakes match of the week going in. I’ll give the edge to Blockman, 5-4.
Overall Match Score: This could very easily go for either team, but the numbers beg to be written in cold hard ink. RRD, 24-22. Those margins are tight, too tight for comfort. Every fighter needs to bring their best, and as we saw last week in TMF vs ROC the tie-breaker matters and every damn point matters.
The Rock Hards at Deathcake
Current Record: 1-1
I love it when we’ve got a tied score for team matchups. While these two teams aren’t vying for the fourth spot in the same way as RRD or TNB, this is about personal pride and seeing how far up the top they can climb. The Rockers are sitting in third and Deathcake is second with only a single bout-win separating the two. In 2020 DCK won a close 25-23 matchup due to Gatito and Skid’s Undercard bouts and Dizzy getting full points in the Anchor match. In 2021 ROC took three bouts by Maggie, Doran, and Rachael for a 28-18 victory. You’ll notice that both teams have put some of their best out again this year, including the aforementioned Maggie, Doran and Rachael on the line against Gatito and Dizzy.
Anchor: Rachael vs Dizzy
Dizzy has been in this league since the beta years without missing a single season. Rachael doesn’t have quite the same depth, but this is her seventh season out of the nine (the beta is not included in the official count). With both players being in the League that long it is not surprising to find they have met in the rings before. Three bouts over seven IFL years. First, 2014, where Rachael rocked the Rock Hard brand and Dizzy fought for Royal Pain. That year Dizzy won 5-1 at the Crutch level. Again, in round two of the 2019 Powerhouse Tournament where Dizzy won 5-3. The most recent fight was last year in the week five Anchor bout where Rachael won 5-2. This week Dizzy is coming off a loss to Jackson and Rachael just bested Runt the frost giant. The odds are in favor of Blackthorne, 5-4.
Crutch: Kruger vs Rekah
Kruger and Rekah are two interesting pugilists because we don’t see them very often in the Outback, but they’ve both got a long IFL history. Kruger captained the Rock Hards back in 2013, and only had a single season hiatus in 2019. Rekah has been a mainstay of Deathcake since 2015. They fought once five years ago, when Kruger was part of Claire Gallows’ Team Dirty in 2017 and Kruger won 5-3 at the Crutch level. I don’t think it’s in either of their natures to view this as a revenge match, but it makes the statistical nerd in me obscenely happy to see these two meet again at the same bout level. Kruger lost back in week two, and Rekah had an incredibly close fight with Rhea in week three. Stylistically they lean different ways, Kruger has been using his upper body more this season while Rekah was a bit more spread out in her approach against Rhea. I think Rekah may be susceptible to Kruger’s straight-forward methods once more. The Anvil, 5-3.
Push: Mairead vs Salvador
Maggie is 1-1 this season with an overall -0.33 PDPB record. Captain Delahada is 0-1, but with a 1.72 PDPB record overall. Harker and Delahada met each other in week five of 2021 where Salvador lost 4-5 in the Iron Fist bout after two rounds of sudden death. In fact, Kruger wrote about this very match, and I quote “Week 5’s Blow of the Week goes to Maggie “you’re preaching to the choir” Harker!!”. This will be a great re-match, and I expect another high stakes close-call bout. I think Salvador’s ferocious tenacity will best Harker, even if she’s in bear form. Delahada, 5-4, sudden death.
Iron Fist: Doran vs Gatito
This is Doran’s third time in the Iron Fist for ROC, and in 2020 and 2021 he lost both of his I.F. matches. Gatito has only been in the I.F. once so far, and he also lost. One of them is about to walk away with their first Iron Fist victory. If we turn to the Outback records around October 9th Doran has 5 WoL and Gatito has 4 WoL. While Gatito is the current Diamond, that doesn’t always translate into IFL results. But this time it will. Gatito, 5-3.
Overall Match Score: By a close margin, this week goes to Deathcake, 26-22. However, if the Push match goes towards Maggie in sudden death then the Rockers will jump up the ranks. Overall, this is going to be an exciting week to view at Wrangler’s Watch Party.
By my calculations, at the end of week four we will see Deathcake at 3-1, Real RhyDin at 2-2, and King’s Gambit at 3-1. If there is anyone primed to pull an upset though, it’s Team New Blood, and I won’t be the least bit surprised when it happens. Stay crunchy – Liovanni
The Blow of the Week – Week 3
Kruger Allen - November 26th, 2022 - 03:56pm
The Anvil is at a loss for how to begin this week. There were a lot of potential outcomes before the first blow was thrown. It was never made public knowledge, but what we ended up with was very close to what I was hoping for. Three teams with a 2 and 1 record, and three with a 1 and 2 record. It mattered less to me who retained these records, than the symmetry of the numbers. I enjoyed the discovery which was covered by Intern Liovanni regarding the mirror effect of bouts won and lost. Symmetry once more, although with a hint of an inclusion. It feels a little odd to have one of the teams with a winning record have fewer won bouts than the next team down. Of course when you consider that it is my team, you should automatically allow for a certain amount of disparity. Any team that has The Anvil on it will show unusual variances. Now that we’ve got the beginning out of the way, I can move on to the middle of this week’s BOTW.
RRD vs KGM:
The push bout between Eden and Sophia was exactly the kind of fight which attracts The Anvil’s attention. Sophia came on strong in the early rounds, and Eden ruled the middle rounds, taking the lead in the sixth round. Sophia tied the scores back up in the seventh, but Eden grabbed the lead back like a carton of popcorn in the eighth. It ended with some mutual brutality in the tenth round as both of the fighters gave it all they had, but the trade was not good for either of them. It did keep the Realists in the fight for winning the week, but man did Sophia do everything in her power to make it as difficult for them as possible. These decisions that face The Anvil are fraught with difficulty, the ones where I have feelings both ways. I’m torn, because I love The Pineapple Express, but I’m giving the advantage in this bout to Sophia sing me a Song.
ROC vs TMF:
Let me be the first to point out that Intern Liovanni accurately predicted the match to be considered this week between the Rockers and the Fist…woah… let’s go with my second choice of Teamsters. Now, there was a part of The Anvil which wanted to make an alternate choice, but that was because I wanted to be unpredictable. The thing is, the fight between Dean and Maggie is the right choice. It’s obvious, not just to me but to others as well. The entire week’s fights were an exercise in how to score properly. 23 – 23 meant that without the win over Runt by Rachael in the Iron Fist, if Haru had lost one more point against Rekah, if Amaris hadn’t managed to gain four against Myth Blue before being defeated, then Maggie’s 5-2 loss to Dean would have meant nothing. Her success in defeat was as much their accomplishment as Maggie’s, with the following exception. Dean’s lead had him in a position to take the victory in three separate rounds. His win was once again, masterful, but there’s a place in Maggie which refuses to give up. She knew going in what she needed, and rather than panic when things were spiraling out of control, she bared down harder and pulled a team victory out.
TMF vs DCK:
There have been more debuts this season than The Anvil remembers since… well my memory isn’t so great really, but there’ve been a ton of them this season. Another thing that I noticed this season was how well every one of these new fighters have performed. Rheamila’s coming out party in the Anchor bout against Rekah was definitely not an exception. I’ve fought Rekah, and she’s very good. I am sure that Rheamila likely agrees, she trailed the more experienced Rekah from round one all the way through round nine. She finally tied up the scores in the tenth which also took the fight to sudden death! Rekah certainly wasn’t letting that walkback get into her head, because round eleven saw suddener death. Scores were tied at 5-5, no matter what way this went, the loser had managed to gain every available point for their team. Now the night ended with a team score of 21 for The New Bloods and 15 for Death Cake. Had Rekah managed to pull the win it would have looked slightly different, regardless when the fight was done there scores were so very close with Death Cake having a three point advantage going into the Iron Fist. Does any of this make sense? Probably not. My point is that I am giving the advantage to Rhea in that closing round over Rekah purely because… it was the very first time she’d been in that kind of limelight.
The Blow of the Week Award:
These are all important fights, important blows for their respective teams. So when things are this close, how does The Anvil choose? He certainly doesn’t flip a three sided coin. No, he has to look at the one which had the greatest impact for the candidate’s team. Now, I’m sure that Intern Liovanni is reading this and doing some kind of booty dance… someone take a video and send it to my email… Maggie’s last kick took a loss and turned it into a victory. No score this season has been as close as the one between Team Fist and the Rock Hards.
The Anvil awards Week 3’s Blow of the Week to Maggie “Unleash Your Rage Bear” Harker!!
This Needs to be Said
Olaf von Trunk - November 21st, 2022 - 10:35pm
*Ed. note: The opinions herein do not reflect those of the Iron Fists League as an organization, any of its administrative staff, the sportscasters at the IFL Garden, any and all media companies that disseminate this work, the holonet providers that transmit this work, citizens of RhyDin, citizens not of RhyDin, the interns, the fans, the company responsible for the printing and physical distribution of this editorial, those who provided coffee during work hours to any of the aforementioned parties, or anyone not already included who has character or conscience. Any person, entity, or conscious or semi-conscious manifestation of an idea who reads the following does so at their own risk.