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The 2020 IFL Season-End Awards
Conner Reid - January 8th, 2021 - 05:57pm

After an exciting, action-packed season, it be time to recognize some of the league’s top fighters!  All of our winners were voted on by our captains and their assistants this season.  Let’s see who they selected as being among the best performers this year!

Rookie of the Year

The league were chock-a-block with talented rookies this season, but a few jumped out as memorable to our voters.

Gatito – Deathcake

Gatito were among the best fighters in the league this season, finishing with a 2-1 record and forcing his playoffs opponent, a seasoned league veteran, into sudden death, securing maximum points, and helping Deathcake nab a playoff spot.  No surprise he were nominated for the win.

Shelby Monaro – Team New Blood

Nominating Shelby for this award were something of a no-brainer for some of our voters who noted that she had the best PDPB and were tied for most wins by a rookie this season.  Another voter also noted that Shelby never fought below the Push match.  An outstanding season for a newcomer to the league.

WINNER – Haru Jeong – The Rock Hards

While there were many qualified contenders, it be Haru running away with the votes for this year’s Rookie of the Year.  The voters had a lot to say about this here young fighter:

“The kid kept the potential for ROC to play spoiler alive.” – Skid

“They really worked super hard, and I think the effort really showed in their dedication.” – Morgan LaFey

“This kid was on absolute, nearly unstoppable fire.  Two Iron Fist wins!  He only lost one of four total matches, and that was to Gren Blockman!  Enough said.” – Salvador

“Three victories, a near perfect record including two IronFist victories, both against seasoned IFL fighters.  This was a remarkable first performance and Haru should be very proud!” – Eden 

After smashing his opening season, there be no doubt that Haru has a long future in the league should he want it.  Congratulations, Haru!

Playoffs MVP

Eighteen fighters fought in this year’s postseason, fighting their nerves to either continue their streak of victories or overcome tough odds to secure the win.  The voters picked out several fighters who distinguished themselves in the postseason.

Eden Parker – Real Rhydin

“After getting blasted in the regular season by Olaf 5-1, and being down to him 0-3 after 4 rounds in the semi-finals, she mounted a comeback that put RRD in the Finals.  Without her digging deep, RRD has no chance for their 2nd IFL championship. Switch the Eden and Olaf 5-4 score and the match ends 23-23, with KGM going to the Finals by virtue of the Iron Fist bout-win tiebreak.” – Matt

Caleb Feren – Deathcake

Caleb were the only fighter in the postseason who not only did double-duty, but won both of his fights.  His win in the playoffs helped put Deathcake’s points over the seemingly unstoppable Team Fist and secured his team a seat in the Finals.  And without his win in the Finals, Deathcake had no shot at the win — he’s one of the reasons the victory was so close!

Dakota Street – Real Rhydin

In her first ever IFL postseason, Real Rhydin’s rookie was called to face down last year’s champions — no small ask.  And not only did she face them, she won her match — securing the team’s spot in the Finals in the process!

WINNER – Gren Blockman – Real Rhydin

There were nominees in this category, but there also were a clear winner: GREN

“Gren’s performance in the finals was undoubtedly what secured the Championship for RRD.” – Skid

“With a score of 23 – 20 in the end, had I done any better against him in the IF match in Finals, it would be Deathcake holding the championship and not Real Rhydin this year. He had my number and definitely carried the team to victory, in my opinion. Not to mention that he went undefeated in the regular season this year.” – Salvador

“IronFist match in the finals, the most heightened pressure, he manages to hold his opponent to one point.  MVP without a doubt!” – Eden

Gren not only needed to win, he needed to win decisively, and he did exactly that.  Congratulations, Gren!

Captain of the Year

It be a tough question to put to our voters (captains and assistant captains themselves) what makes a good leader.  Be it the person who leads best from within the rings?  Or be it the person who selects the best match-ups for their roster of talent?  This season our captains identified several who displayed the kind of sportsmanship they value.

Morgan LaFey – Team New Blood

Morgan came to mind of several of our voters when they were looking for the best captain.

“For a first time captain, Morgan made some really solid choices each week and chose a pretty strong roster. New Blood had some very close scores between some of the sport’s toughest teams, and made quite an impression.” – Salvador

Kruger Allen – Rock Hards

Kruger’s enthusiasm and drive for his team resonated with more than just his own. Other captains were inspired by his determination to have fun and brighten the event for everyone.

“Seriously the most entertaining and positive captain; I love watching him make big deals out of entrances and cheering on his team.” – Morgan LaFey

Salvador Delahada – Deathcake

Salvador has been a keystone in the IFL seasons since joining. His combination of dueling prowess and unorthodox approach to scheduling has left other captains scratching their heads, often in vain.

“Salvador has excelled not only as a duelist but as a strategist. Utilizing endless rotating lineups of your fighters is not only the pinnacle of fairness but also displays the utmost trust and support of your team. Sal led his team, which many considered a dark horse, to the finals overcoming the number one seed along the way. All other captains should look to him as a teacher.” – Hope

WINNER – Hope Naharis – Real Rhydin

In the end, Hope were our voters’ choice for Captain of the Year. Having made the finals in the previous two years, RRD were an odds-on favorite of making the finals as the season began.  But Hope were looking at a dramatically changed roster with some of her most reliable winners sitting out the season.  Even midway through the season, playoffs were starting to look like less-and-less of a given, with a record of 1-2, and Team New Blood and Deathcake putting on playoff berth pressure.  But through that pressure, Hope continued to guide her team through four more weeks of IFL, figuring out who to rely on at the right time — and that turned into four more weeks without a loss.  

“No two ways about it: Up or down, Hope managed to lead her team to a Championship. Can’t argue with that.” – Skid

“Midway through the season, RRD had fallen behind 1-2 and things were looking uncertain.  But Hope led our team from the front, getting key wins from our fighters at the right moments and bringing in much needed wins herself.  We never lost another week!” – Eden

Leading her team to the finals for the third year in a row is no small feat.  Congratulations, Hope!

Most Valuable Player

In a season with so much evident talent, there were many fighters that distinguished themselves to the voters as being foundational to their team’s success.  These fighters were the glue that held the teams together.  But this year the count for the winner was far from a given — in fact only one point separates the winner from the next runner-up — a testament to how competitive this season were.

Haru Jeong – “Haru came into this season as a rookie and arguably the least experienced fighter on his roster. He was irreplaceable on his team this year and had a standout breakthrough freshman season.” – Hope

Sophia Song – Continuing to develop her legacy in the league as one of KGM’s most reliable fighters, Sophia finished the season with a 2-1 record as well as a postseason IronFist win against RRD’s Hope that came close to securing her team another Finals spot.

Matt Simon –  Performing double-duty as fighter and team captain, Matt picked up two clean wins including one in the IronFist against RRD’s leaderboard stalwart, Hope Naharis, and finishes the season with the best PDPB in the league.

Olaf von Trunk (5 points) – For the second year in a row, Olaf von Trunk seemed absolutely untouchable through much of the season, a fact that did not go unnoticed by our voters.  For three weeks, he allowed no more than a total of four scored points. 

“The pressure alone that this Trunk put on every captain trying to figure out their lineup versus KGM makes him a strong MVP candidate.” – Skid

Shelby Monaro (5 points) – As a finalist for rookie of the year, many of the voters recognized Shelby’s strong role in her team.  

“Shelby had three wins in the regular season and never fought a match lower than at the Push level.  She was one of this team’s go-to fighters and that makes her an MVP in my book!” – Eden

Crunchem (11 points) – Sitting pretty as 4th on the leaderboard Crunchem was reliable week in and week out for Team Fist this season. Having started the season as a FlyWeight should Crunchem return he will leap to Powerhouse in his following season. His contributions no doubt helped lead Team Fist to the number one spot in the season.

Gren Blockman (17 points) – Finishing the season as number 2 on the leaderboard, but the highest ranked with three wins, Gren was a close runner-up for this season’s MVP title.  

“In terms of raw performance, not even touching the playoffs, Gren did the most while giving up the least. If RRD hadn’t been riding comfortably towards the playoffs from the get-go, his work would’ve been even more impactful.” – Skid

“His perfect performance this season included two IronFist bout wins including the only win against one of the season’s best rookies.  Without question, RRD doesn’t make the playoffs without Gren!” – Eden

No question about it, this was one of the best performances of the season.

WINNER – Most Valuable Player, Deathcake: Skid

(18 points)

Coming down to a single point difference in tallies Skid claims this season’s MVP vote! Skid dominated this year helping his team to a chance in the postseason.  Finishing the season as number 3 on the leaderboard with a 3-0 record, Skid’s big wins in weeks three and four were key to his team’s securing the postseason.  With a chance they made it all the way to the finals and without their workhorse who’s to say what would have happened.

“Not only was Skid one of the winningest fighters on his team and in the league, his decisive victory in week four helped ensure another win for the team that put them in playoff contention.  That’s MVP behavior that got them into the finals.” – Eden

Thank you to everyone that participated this season, including our many rookie fighters who jumped in the rings for the first time this season, along with the captains and assistant captains who took the helm and lead their teams.  We could not have had such a great season without you.

See you all for IFL 2021.

Conner Reid & Midnight Eve

Breaking down the Finals!
Ayperi Durrishahwar - December 21st, 2020 - 06:07pm

I returned from holiday to discover the Iron Fist Finals are slated for tonight!  It’s always sad when an IFL season comes to a close and this season’s no exception.

In tonight’s IFL Championship matchup between fan-favourite Real Rhydin – who’ve made the Finals for 3 consecutive seasons – and dark-horse Deathcake, who’re making their very first Finals trip, we’re looking at a rematch of Week 1 where RRD came out on top of a 2-2 bout tie with a  28-21 score.  In that matchup, RRD won the Iron Fist (Kheldar vs. Gatito, 5-3) and the Push (Hope vs. Caleb, 5-3) but dropped the Crutch (Eden vs. Dizzy, 4-5) and the Anchor (Jaycy vs. Sal, 5-6).   

None of the pending Finals matchups are a repeat pairing from this season and most of these brawlers have never fought one another in the past.  Will that make a difference?  We’ll know soon enough! Without further ado, let’s take a look at the bout-by-bout breakdowns!

Anchor

Eden Parker (HV) vs. Yuzuki Kuwabara (FW)

2020 Season Record: Eden: 0-3; -5.67 PDPB / Yuzuki: 1-2; -0.33 PDPB

Rank: Edge to Eden (HeavyWeight) over Yuzuki (FlyWeight).

Experience Factor: Eden Parker.  Eden’s fought in 19 career IFL bouts with 11 of those in the regular season where she has a 5-6, -0.73 PDPB lifetime record.  She sports a 3-1 record in the playoffs with one fight in each bout slot.  Her playoff wins were against Renley Killian (2017), Runt (2019) and Olaf von Trunk (2020) with the lone loss coming at the hands of Matt Simon (2017).  Yuzuki is an IFL rookie with no playoff experience and three career bouts to her name.

Intimidation Factor: Draw.  This would normally go to Eden, but she had a miserable 2020 season.  She lost narrowly to Dizzy Flores in a bout where the score was tied in every round but the last.  She dropped the next week to Koy by two points and was blown out by Olaf 5-1 in Week 3 before sitting out the rest of the regular season.  Despite these setbacks, Eden might be on the verge of turning things around.  Down 0-3 to Olaf in the Semi-Finals, she worked her way back into the bout and came away with a 5-4 win.     

With a 1-2, -0.33 lifetime record, rookie Yuzuki’s best performance and only win of the season came in Week 3 when she trounced Morgan Chae 5-1 in an Iron Fist bout.  Her other bouts, in the Anchor and Crutch, were less successful.    

Historical Factors: These two ladies have never fought each other in an IFL league match.  Eden’s only fought against Deathcake twice before: a 5-2 Push win over Cassius in 2017 and the 4-5 Crutch loss to Dizzy this season.  This is Eden’s fifth ever Anchor bout and her first since the 2019 playoffs.  She holds a 3-1 record in Anchors, with wins over Renley Killian (2017), Blondie Eastwood (2019), and Rachael Blackthorne (2019) along with a loss to her nemesis, Olaf (2019).  Yuzuki’s never fought against Real Rhydin and lost her only Anchor bout to date, against Xanth in Week 2 of this season.

Overall: Eden Parker.  Eden dug herself out of a deep hole against Olaf in the Semi-Finals to find her first 2020 bout win, which was all the more critical because a loss would have meant KGM in the Finals instead of RRD.  While Yuzuki’s somewhat of a wildcard (most rookies are), Eden has superior rank, a bit of momentum and far more experience on her side.

Final Score Prediction: 5-3 Eden

Crutch

Hope Naharis (PO) vs. Dizzy Flores (HV)

2020 Season Record: Hope: 3-1; 3.25 PDPB / Dizzy: 1-2; -1.67 PDPB

Rank: Edge to Hope (PowerHouse) over Dizzy (HeavyWeight).

Experience Factor: Draw.  Most pundits would award this category to Dizzy, given that she’s participated in every IFL season since the league’s inception.  She tops the all-time leaderboard with 39 regular season bouts (22-16, 0.13 PDPB) and has fought over 50 bouts including playoffs and PowerHouse tournaments.  She was also Assistant Captain of the first-ever IFL championship squad (Team SHE, 2006) but despite her longevity in the league, the majority of her teams have missed the playoffs, meaning she only has 4 playoff bouts (3-1 record) to her name with the most recent playoff appearance coming in 2014 with Royal Pain

Hope’s fought in 24 regulation bouts with a far superior regulation record than her opponent (19-5, 3.54 PDPB).  Although she’s a big reason why RRD’s had so much sustained success, her playoff record falls short of her regulation numbers (3-6).  However, she did demolish Matt Simon 5-1 in the Iron Fist bout during the 2019 Finals to lock in RRD’s first championship and has fought in several more playoff bouts than her opponent. 

Intimidation Factor: Draw.  Both women have proven themselves in the IFL, though their lifetime PDPBs aren’t anywhere near one another.  In fact, without factoring in any bout minimums, Hope is 12th overall in lifetime regulation PDPB and Dizzy a far distant 76th.  

Dizzy’s had two different 7-bout win streaks in her career (2007 Week 3 – 2007 PowerHouse Party & 2014 Week 5 – 2015 Week 2).  Hope’s had several win streaks in her career, but none longer than 5 duels.  On the flipside, Dizzy’s only lost 3 bouts in a row once (Beta Season: Week 1, 2, 3) but has lost two bouts in a row six times.  Hope, meanwhile, has only lost back-to-backs twice and the last time it happened was 2014 (Playoffs and PowerHouse Party).  Since that time, she’s always followed up a loss with at least two consecutive wins with the lone exception being her loss in the 2019 Finals against Olaf and then her win over Caleb Feren in 2020 Week 1 followed by loss against Matt Simon in 2020 Week 2.

Historical Factors: Hope and Dizzy have never fought each other in IFL.  Against Deathcake, Hope holds a 4-0 record, but three of those wins were with narrow 5-4 scores (Melanie Rostol in 2014 Week 5, Aurora Spencer in 2015 Week 7 and Canaan Devillier in 2019 Week 4).  Hope’s never faced Deathcake in a bout lower than the Push and has only fought in the Crutch four times in her career, with a 1-3 record in that bout.  Dizzy’s only gone up against RRD twice: a 4-5 Push loss to Gren Blockman in 2017 Week 7 and this season’s 5-4 Crutch win over Eden Parker in the opening week.  She’s fought in 15 Crutch bouts, the most of any bout type in her lengthy career, with an overall 12-3 record in that bout.

Overall: Draw.  You can manipulate the numbers any way you want.  In bout wins, Hope’s allowed an opponent to score 4 points just one time out of her last 11 victories: ADV Hope.     Dizzy dominates the Crutch: ADV Dizzy.  Hope dominates the regular season: ADV Hope.  Hope has a far superior lifetime PDPB but Dizzy’s playoff win % is higher.  And on and on.  Honestly, none of it matters.  When these two ladies step into the ring on Finals night, just about anything could happen. 

Final Score Prediction: 5-4 Hope.  But this could be a shutout for either, or a 5-4 Dizzy win, or anything in between.

Push

Kheldar Drasinia (KBW) vs. Caleb Feren (HV)
*Historical Note: The last time a Kiowa Belt winner fought in the IFL Finals (Dark Warchild of Team Fist, 2015), it was also in the Push bout

2020 Season Record: Kheldar: 2-1; 2.00 PDPB / Caleb: 1-2; -3.00 PDPB

Rank: Kheldar’s the Kiowa Belt Winner.  Can’t top that!

Experience Factor: Kheldar.  Kheldar has 37 regulation bouts (tied for 2nd in IFL history with Koyliak VanDuran-Simon) and a lifetime 22-15, 1.19 PDPB record.  He’s fought in the playoffs 8 times, with a 7-1 record.  Caleb’s an IFL rookie who’s fought three regulation bouts and one playoff bout.

Intimidation Factor: Kheldar.  He’s been in the league from Day 1, holds the Kiowa Belt and has won 15 of his last 18 bouts, with a win streak of 6 bouts and another of 7 bouts packed in there.  Both streaks include appearances in the finals of the 2017 and 2019 PowerHouse Party tournaments.  For Caleb’s part, he defeated fellow rookie Cade Washington in the 2020 Semi-Finals.  Though he comes into this bout on a positive note, it doesn’t hold a candle to Kheldar’s recent achievements, not to mention the venerable veteran’s overall career.

Historical Factors: In the playoffs, Kheldar most often fights in Push bouts, compiling a 3-0 record, with his opponents never scoring more than 2 points in those bouts.  Overall in the playoffs, his one loss aside, Kheldar’s never allowed an opponent to score more than 3 points.  Against Deathcake, Kheldar’s 2-2 lifetime (a 3-5 Crutch loss to Salvador in 2015, a 3-5 Anchor loss to Canaan Devillier in 2017, a 5-4 Crutch win against Salia DeFortes in 2019 and this season’s 5- Iron Fist victory over Gatito).  

Caleb lost his only outing against RRD to date: a 3-5 Push loss to Hope Naharis in Week 1 of this season.  Caleb’s 0-1 against RRD and 0-2 overall in the Push, losing those bouts to Hope Naharis in Week 1 and Cade Washington in the Semi-Finals.

Overall: Kheldar.  Caleb, like his teammate Yuzuki, is in his first ever IFL Finals as a rookie.  That’s a lot of pressure, especially when facing one of the league’s most long-tenured veterans.  Just about everything plays in Kheldar’s favor, at least on paper.

Final Score Prediction: 5-2 Kheldar

Iron Fist

Gren Blockman (PO) vs. Salvador Delahada (HV)

2020 Season Record: Gren: 3-0; 7.00 PDPB / Sal: 2-1; 0.67 PDPB

Rank: Gren (PowerHouse) over Salvador (HeavyWeight).

Experience Factor: Draw.  Gren has 20 regulation bouts to his name (10-10, -0.40 PDPB) while Salvador has 21 (15-6, 2.57 PDPB).

Intimidation Factor: Draw.  As noted above, Salvador’s regulation record is far superior to Gren’s but where playoffs are concerned, Sal’s only fought in three playoff bouts with two wins (a 5-4 Anchor vs. Grace Frigg in 2015 & a 5-3 Iron Fist vs. Matt Simon in 2020) and one loss (1-5 Anchor vs. Juliane Smith in 2014). 

Gren has four total playoff bouts to his name with a 2-2 record, the wins coming against Morgan Chae (5-4) in a 2013 Anchor bout and against Blondie Eastwood (5-2) in a 2019 Anchor bout and the losses against Tarl Cabot (4-5) in a 2013 Crutch bout as well as a 2017 Crutch loss (3-5) to Darik Warchild.  Tarl and Darik both fought for Team Fist when Gren faced them and the ranger must be quite pleased that Deathcake eliminated his former team from the Finals!  Though Gren enters this bout undefeated on the year, Sal’s only loss came at the hands of rookie sensation Shelby Morano, who started her IFL career with 3 straight victories.

Historical Factors: Salvador’s fought against RRD three times previously and is 3-0 in those bouts, but each victory’s been tougher and tougher.  He started off with a 5-0 Crutch shutout against Gren back in 2017, defeated Gren again 5-3 in a 2019 Anchor bout and then squeaked out a 6-5 Anchor win over Jaycy this season.  Similarly, Gren’s fought DCK three times in his career and is 0-3, with the two losses already mentioned coming after a 3-5 Anchor loss to Sabine Gabrielle in 2015, when Gren was part of Team Fist.  These two haven’t fought each other in IFL outside of the matches mentioned above.

This season, Gren’s been solid and has kept his opponents from scoring many points with 5-2, 5-3, and 5-2 wins.  In contrast, all but one of Salvador’s bouts this year have been won or lost by the narrowest of margins (6-5 in, 4-5 loss, 6-5 win, 5-3 win).

Overall: Salvador.  Every year’s a new year and every bout’s a new bout, but having already lost twice to Salvador (one of those a shutout) has to serve as a host of violent angry add-tons-of-pressure bees in Gren’s bonnet heading into this fight.  There’s something to be said for going through a season undefeated but if anyone’s going to stop Gren’s three-bout win streak/two Iron Fist bout win-streak, it’s Salvador, who’ll find a way to take this one with yet another slim margin. 

Final Score Prediction: 5-4 Salvador

 Captain’s Lineup Decisions

Just about everyone’s questioning Salvador’s thinking as Deathcake’s Finals lineup features two rookies and inexplicably keeps Skid (3-0 regular season with two critical 5-1 bout victories, both of those with 4-0 leads when he absolutely had to keep his opponent’s scores low) relegated to sub status.  In fact, of DCK’s three best duelers this season (Sal, Skid, Gatito), only Sal’s scheduled to appear.  Absolutely mind-boggling.

With Gatito a guaranteed non-factor, Skid the designated sub and his two rookies in play, Salvador had little choice but to round out his field with an underperforming Dizzy Flores, though an argument could be made for using Rekah instead.  DCK’s finals roster basically forced Sal to take the Iron Fist for himself…there’s no sense putting a rookie up there nor Dizzy, given her struggles the past two seasons.  If Sal’s extremely lucky, the IFL gods will do him a favor and knock one of his other duelers down with a pre-match injury, forcing him to do what he should have done in the first place – put Skid in the lineup.

On the other side of the ledger, Hope fielded RRD’s best possible squad.  One could argue swapping Dakota in and Eden out, but Eden has far more experience and the smart play was leaving the rookie on the bench, especially since she already fought in the semi-finals.  Some might nitpick and say that Kheldar and Gren should have switched spots (especially given the Sal-Gren Iron Fist pairing), but in either case, Real Rhydin’s sitting pretty.  Whereas Salvador took some huge lineup risks, Hope played it safe.  Unfortunately for Deathcake, going big just might mean going home. 

Conclusion

Real Rhydin’s got the decisive edge in just about every category that matters and Deathcake’s the proverbial definition of underdog in this matchup.  That being said, with a couple of breaks, Deathcake doesn’t have an impossible road to victory…just an extremely difficult one. Predicted Match Score:Real Rhydin secures their second IFL championship, 28-19

How You Betting? Finals
Conner Reid - December 21st, 2020 - 09:14pm

Alright, mates, it’s been an interesting road here.  Now last week, we were pretty close with our calls — we got just two wrong of the eight individual fights.  But going wrong on just those two matches meant we were wrong on both of our team calls.  Lady Luck be a fickle lover.   

Still, with a six-out-of-ten win result, iffin you be betting with us you should still be in the black.

Now iffin we thought the results of the playoffs were balancing on a razor’s edge then we don’t have a fine enough metaphor for how close we think this finals could be.  Our colleague, Ayperi Durrishahwar, has already done a grand breakdown of these here finals match-ups, so we’re going to do what we always do… focus on the betting. 

Let’s get into it.

Deathcake vs. Real Rhydin

Even as we were calling the team win last week against Deathcake, we knew there were a good possibility that they could come through.  As we said then, this team been knocking on the door all season.  But iffin we roll back to our pre-season… well.  We hope someone put some good cash on Deathcake, because that bet be paying out 1 to 8 that the team would be in the finals.     Hope some of you made out like bandits!  

A team we did anticipate seeing in the finals this year were Real Rhydin.  Even with a shallower bench, we pretty much expected this third-in-a-row finals appearance giving it 1 to 2 odds — odds we gave to only one other team: King’s Gambit.  And here they be indeed.  But truth-be-told, after the season got a bit bumpy in the middle, we were starting to doubt.  With a couple of its key fighters putting up goose-eggs, the team’s been heavily relying on its top three fighters: Gren Blockman, Hope Naharis, and Kheldar Drasinia.

So it be no surprise here to see them in the top three slots of RRD’s lineup.  Captain Hope Naharis be putting her best foot forward, and although Eden been having a rough season, like Ayperi pointed out, she has the postseason experience to round out the line-up.  

On the flip side, we also think Captain Delahada’s lineup makes sense — in so far as we can’t make complete sense of it and that always be the way with Captain Sal.  Like Ayperi pointed out in his fine write-up, benching the 3-0 Skid for the finals along with PathFinder-holder Gatito be a bit confusing.  But as we said right at the beginning of the season, we don’t know what sort of chaos theory (or gods or demons) Salvador be worshipping, but against our own called odds it got his team to the finals.  

Salvador Delahada vs. Gren Blockman

Gren comes into this IronFist fight undefeated, looking pretty good for a possible MVP pick.  Sitting pretty at number 2 on the leaderboard, Gren’s gotta be feeling pretty good about his chances this week.  Salvador got himself a strong record as well, 2-1, and momentum from picking up the win last week in this very spot against Team Fist’s Matt Simon.  It be a solid head-to-head matchup for these two.  But Captain Salvador gotta be feeling a little extra confident coming in considering that the last two times these two faced each other in an IFL ring, Salvador come out on top, including a shut out back in 2017.  This here fight may be the battle of the momentums.  Who be feeling the most confident and who be ready to go to the mat for their team.   

While we be tempted into thinking Gren about to continue his win streak, we think the victor of this one will be Salvador.  One of IFL’s most painful lessons always be that every win streak comes to an end.  And with the kind of history these two have?  Well we think it will be close, but Sal will come away with the W.

Caleb Feren vs. Kheldar Drasinia

Caleb been a bit difficult for this here column to pin down.  Of his four fights this past season, we predicted them wrong well more often than right — and that includes last week’s win against Team Fist’s rookie Cade Washington.  But this here be Caleb’s first ever IFL finals.  That going to make the difference?  Meanwhile, Kheldar be coming into this fight with momentum — a 2-1 season record and a win in the playoffs.  Have we also mentioned before that he be the Kiowa Belt holder?

Kheldar.  Caleb got that surprise factor we keep talking about but never betting on.  Maybe he’ll make us pay for it one last time, just for fun.  But we be going with experience here when we say it will be the big man.

Dizzy Flores vs. Hope Naharis

Dizzy comes into this fight with a 1-2 record with her only win against RRD’s Eden Parker.  Even with her long history in the IFL we don’t see any match-up here against Hope in the past.  Captain Naharis put herself down here in the Anchor bout, probably because of the strength of her top two fighters.  Hope were 3-1 this season, but just lost an IronFist bout against KGM’s Sophia Song.  With neither of these fighters coming in with meaningful momentum, we gotta look at their long histories to see iffin it will tell us something about how they might perform.  …enh we got nothing.

Hope.  Assuming teammate Jaycy Ashleana will be there in one of them outfits again, we be thinking that be sufficient motivation for any fighter to pick up a win.  Dizzy needs better cheerleaders to compete.

Yuzuki Kawabara vs. Eden Parker

Yuzuki comes into this fight with a good looking season for a rookie, a record of 1-2, including a dominating IronFist win against Morgan Chae.  And as we’ve said before in column after column, Yuzuki been tearing up the Outback during regulation, regularly picking up wins against some of the Outback’s best fighters.  Eden meanwhile been struggling all season.  She comes into this fight after finding her first win last week, finally managing to turn it around against KGM’s Olaf von Trunk.  But och, did that fight start off rocky.  Ayperi calls this one for Eden on account of her experience, momentum, and rank.  Do we agree?

Nah.  This should be Yuzuki.  It be true that other DCK fighters have had a better season than Yuzuki, but we seen more of her skill these last few months in the Outback than any three fights of IFL could ever tell us.  Eden may have the rank, experience, and momentum, but it be Yuzuki with the skill and that’s where it counts.

Team Outcome:  Like we said, we think this will be a close one.  We be calling it for Deathcake.  Real Rhydin still be looking for that first season magic they got, but we think this one will come down to the numbers, and we don’t think they got it.  While we can nitpick DCK’s lineup, we think Captain Sal got this more right than wrong.  And RRD can still be proud being the first team in IFL history to make finals three years in a row.  

Alright, mates.  That be all the calls we got.  Iffin you see me in the stands, buy me a pint won’t you?

Reid.

How You Betting? Playoffs
Conner Reid - December 10th, 2020 - 09:53am

Welcome punters, grab a seat.  How’s the betting been?  Well iffin you be betting with me, your columns should be in the black.  While we took a bit of a tumble in Week Four we managed to right the ship come Week Five.  And while we haven’t managed to match our near perfect Week One predictions, we be feeling pretty confident heading into the postseason that we be making the right bets.

Let’s get into it.

Deathcake vs. Team Fist

Team Fist come through this season looking STRONG!  We be right impressed by these old vets coming through unscathed!  Now not to be raining too much on that parade, it be worth noting that some of these matches were prettttty close.  And that includes the match against their playoffs opponent, Deathcake.  In their week five matchup, Team Fist squeaked by Deathcake with just a two point deficit.  That don’t be too different from Deathcake’s week two loss to King’s Gambit where they were one point away from knocking on their door.  

We know these be strong teams so it’s going to be coming down to each matchup to see how this one will turnout.

Salvador Delahada vs. Matthew Algiers Simon

Iffin you had a sideline on captain versus captain in the playoffs, hope you be getting a good payout right about now.  Sal comes into this fight with a 2-1 record with both wins being extra-point squeakers.  Matt coming in with a strong 2-0 record right at the tippy-top of the leaderboard.  His wins include an IronFist bout against RRD’s captain Hope Naharis.  Do this make Matt the captain-killer?  Eh, maybe.  These two have faced each other before back in the 2017 Powerhouse tourney where Salvador took the victory.  But we all know the pressure of that post-season tourney do not compare to the high stakes moment of the IFL postseason.  

Mad respect to both captains for carrying the banner for their teams.  We think this one will be a barn burner.  But we’re calling it for Salvador.  There be a glint in that fellow’s eye that you don’t be wanting to cross, and we think that makes him a safe place to put our cash monies.

Skid vs. Crunchem

Bloody hell, this fight.  Both fighters be coming into it 3-0, with Skid sitting right on top of Crunchem on the leaderboard.  Now Skid be no joke, with two wins this season holding his opponents to just a single point.  But his IronFist performance against Sophia Song of KGM were considerably closer.  Crunchem looked good all season too, with a dominating IronFist win right in week one, but we can’t decide if his close, late-rounds fight against rookie Dakota Street  speak more to her strength or his weakness.  Which be a weird thing to say about an ogre, eh?

The Nightmare vs. the Ogre.  Och, this be a tough call, mates.  But we’re calling it for Crunchem.  We said it before and we be saying it again.  In the ring, size matters.

Caleb Feren vs. Cade Washington

Rookie versus rookie in this crutch match as Caleb (1-2) and takes on Cade (2-1).  In some ways, these two blokes be mirror images of each other and not just in record.  Both of ‘em lost their first fight in IFL back in week one, then went on to pickup their first win against an opponent on KGM.  Cade managed to turn that win into one more just last week against DCK’s own Yuzuki — no slouch in the ring herself — but Captain Sal might be feeling a bit more confident with this here match-up for Cade.  

Caleb might be due another win in these here proceedings.  But we still think the smart bets with Cade.  No doubt that Caleb can be a surprise performer, but momentum is with Cade.

Gatito vs. Dean

Gutsy Gatito be getting back in the ring in his first IFL postseason.  Gatito finished the season strong with a pyrrhic victory against ROC’s Maggie Harker that went a full 18 rounds.  Woof.  We be tired just writing about it.  Dean be coming into the match at 1-2, but his losses were against some tough opponents, including KGM’s steady performer Sophia Song and ROC’s rookie-of-the-year prospect, Haru Jeong.  We think there be a good chance that the PathFinder holder, Gatito, could bring a surprise win here for DCK.  And iffin he do, that might be just the kind of magic that DCK needs to put a stop to TMF’s win streak.

But we think this will be Dean.  Lotta nerves for rookies coming into the postseason, but Dean has performed in this spot before with postseason wins in 2014 and 2017.  We think it’ll be Dean.

Team Outcome:  Based on the match-by-match predictions, it looks like this should be an easy call for Team Fist.  But we find ourselves feeling rather uneasy instead.  Skid be a real danger in the ring, and Caleb pulls off victories in the Outback that can make your head spin, and Gatito be holding a bloody opal, aye?  Somehow we got a nagging feeling that Deathcake be about to pull off an upset.  We just can’t be sure where or how.

But this here be a betting column and we gotta make a choice.  We think the safe money is with Team Fist.  But iffin someone willing to give you some long odds, we think Deathcake might give you an opportunity to pick up some good coin.  

Real Rhydin vs. King’s Gambit

As others have mentioned, this here matchup be a retake of last year’s finals.  And like the week three face-off, we think this matchup will highlight the changes in Real Rhydin’s lineup.  While Real Rhydin struggled against the one and two seeds this year, they showed their backbone by pulling out wins against the up-and-coming teams Team New Blood and the Rock Hards.  Do they have what it takes to pull off a win here?  Or will it be another rout by King’s Gambit?  King’s Gambit meanwhile has been relatively dominant this season, with only a close loss to Team Fist in week four, and a close win against Team New Blood in week five.  Will the adjustments they’ve made to their lineup keep them on the path to the finals?  Or will Real Rhydin find the chinks in their armor?

Let’s take a look, matchup by matchup.

Hope Naharis vs. Sophia Song

As we always say, we love seeing a captain leading from the top spot.  And this be an obvious move from Hope Naharis who comes in with a strong 3-1 record this season that puts her solidly in the top 10 of the leaderboard.  Sophia also comes in with a strong record, positioned at 2-1, with her one loss being a close one against DCK’s Skid in her only IronFist bout this season.  Now Sophia been in this position before, having secured victory for KGM back in the 2019 finals with her IronFist win against Gloria Blaze.  Without having seen these two fight, we have to wonder whether this adjustment will give RRD the edge with Hope in the top spot.

Sophia.  A repeat performance be a lot to ask of any fighter, but we think Sophia’s strong work this year and her experience in the postseason will give her the edge.  But don’t take too many points, mate.  This should be a close fight.  Unless Jaycy shows up again dressed to distract.

Kheldar Drasinia vs. Li Xiaofan

Kheldar walks into this matchup with a record of 2-1, including two victories against a couple of the league’s rookies.  Xiaofan also has a 2-1 record, including wins against RRD’s Jaycy and TNB’s Morgan Chae.  Now we don’t be seeing that these two have ever faced each other, but we do know that they each have made a playoff appearance.  Kheldar beat Xiaofan’s teammate Renley 5-1 in this position back in 2019.  And then went on to pick up the Kiowa Belt.  Xiaofan fell in a close fight to RRD’s Michelle in the 2019 playoffs.  

Here be another difficult call to make.  But we think this will be Kheldar.  That Kiowa Belt matters, and Kheldar has the postseason experience to pick up this win.

Eden Parker vs. Olaf von Trunk

Coming in so far with pretty much the same match-ups as in week three, we gotta wonder if captain Naharis were hoping for this re-match or hoping to avoid it.   Eden comes into the fight 0-3 including a 5-1 rout by her opponent, Olaf von Trunk.  Olaf comes in 3-1 (och, mate, we lost so much money last week!) with a recent loss to TMF’s rookie, Cade.  But that one loss hasn’t pushed Olaf from the leaderboard, where he ends the season in a comfortable sixth position on account of wins from Doran Ilnaren, Dizzy Flores, and yes, Eden Parker. 

This will be Olaf.  We don’t think Eden has what it takes to stop the skid.  And… as you know… never bet against the trunk.

Dakota Street vs. Anubis Karos

Dakota comes into this match with a 1-2 record, which be a pretty good looking thing given the opponents she’s faced.  With a recent win against ROC’s Kruger, we think she be coming into this match with a fair bit of momentum.  Also, she be sassy and we like that.  Anubis comes into the fight with a 2-2 record, including wins against ROC’s Rachael Blackthorne and RRD’s Kheldar.  Interestingly, Anubis recently dropped a match to another league rookie, TNB’s captain, Morgan LaFey.  That mean they’re might be an opening for Dakota to squeak through?

Maybe!  We be calling this one for Dakota.  Anubis has the age and experience, the playoff wins and losses.  But Dakota has nothing to lose.  And we like that look on her.  

Team Outcome:  Our breakdown of the matchups would suggest we give this edge to King’s Gambit.  But most of the lineup changes in this rematch have come from them, and we be wondering if they might have messed a bit too much with perfection.  Real Rhydin be looking for a bit of redemption from their close loss last year, but a shallower bench this season and a bad season for Parker have revealed some weaknesses.  And we’re not sure enough has changed since week three to make a difference.

So we be calling this for King’s Gambit.  If Hope can deliver, if Parker can perform, and if Dakota can surprise, this might be a different ballgame.  But we think King’s Gambit be in the driver’s seat.

Alright mates, that be our take on these here fights.  

Think of something pithy for me to say here.  We be spent.

Reid.



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