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IFL returns, honoring the traditions originally founded by Chairman Kiowa and his search to find the best of the best.

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"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price." - Sun Tzu
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The Blow of the Week: Week 6 Playoffs!
Kruger Allen - December 28th, 2021 - 01:37pm

It was a rough week in the Iron Fists League. Don’t get The Anvil wrong, every week in the league is a rough one. This week stands out because there were aspirations from every match up to make it through to the finals. Things were settled fairly quickly in week six, the end results were a given by the end of the third bout, or the beginning of the fourth. It occurs to me that when you look at the matches within a semifinal situation there really can’t be one single blow of the week. Two teams advance to the finals, therefore there must be a double header of blows!

The Anchor match between Jaycy Ashleana and Summer is the logical place to pick one of our blows of the week from. Team Fist had a chance to make it through to the finals. Summer had to be perfect, five points in five rounds with none scored by Jaycy. It’s a little mind boggling to The Anvil that our first blow of the week wasn’t even a blow. It was a missed blow, Jaycy took a swing, and Summer was too quick for her. Something obviously went wrong. Perhaps Jaycy attempted to compensate and caused the slightest of missed steps which kept Summer from being able to connect with Jaycy on a very well timed dodge? The Anvil supposes that kind of question is better left to his last mentor or his old sifu, J.C. and Seirichi respectively. Whatever the cause, that first round came and went with only a defensive advantage for Summer.  Even had Summer blanked Jaycy in six rounds the scores between the two teams would have been tied, and since Real Rhydin had taken the Iron Fist bout, the tie would have pushed them through regardless. 

Week 6’s first Blow of the Week goes to Jaycy, Watch my Flow, Ashleana!

Looking at the matchup between King’s Gambit, and The Rock Hards was a bit difficult for The Anvil. Probably because he wanted things to go differently. Hopefully you’ll forgive him for that. Mind you, there’s a ton of pride in him for the way his team came together as the season progressed. Heck we even managed to coax a far more aggressive Amaris out in that final week. The fight between Bile and Maggie, devastating as it was to the scores, was not the nail in the coffin. Morale was a different story, but even with that The Rock Hards could have dropped ten points across the two remaining fights and still have advanced so long as they won them. It was Xanth who managed to kill The Rock Hards’ revisitation to the finals, and it has to be Xanth who takes home his second Blow of the Week title for his fight ending kick to keep Doran from grappling with him.

Week 6’s second Blow of the Week goes to Xanth, One Man Team, Bokkelen!

The Anvil can’t wait to see what happens in the finals! 

The Blow of the Week: Weeks 3-5
Kruger Allen - December 14th, 2021 - 06:15am

The Anvil is embarrassed to admit this, but he apparently forgot to hit send on a few emails. He noticed that there were little numbers next to the draft folder, but The Anvil has been doing his best to avoid that one. Not that he has anything against military service, he wouldn’t want to be pressed into it though! That was a pun and it was super hilarious, The Anvil knows because he couldn’t stop laughing for three whole minutes. Now, before you ask…”Anvil, aren’t you worried about missing your deadlines?” The Anvil is just going to say, no, not really. These are freelance submissions, so he doesn’t feel tied down by someone else’s timelines. There is of course an added benefit to missing the last few weeks. The Anvil gets to submit three weeks worth of articles, but only has to send in one free lance! Jokes on you Mr. Publisher! Still, The Anvil starts to wonder what they do with all them free lances. Do you think they sell them to knights at jousting tournaments? The Anvil hopes not, he hasn’t been blunting the ends of the one’s he’s sent. It’s a good thing those guys wear armor! 

Let’s get down to business.

Week 3:

It was difficult to find one bout, let alone one blow to review in week 3. Things were fairly close in the standings, however let’s take a better look at this. Here’s what The Anvil realized. At the start of the week, there were a bunch of teams which were one and one. There was one team which had dropped to zero and two… and there was only one undefeated team. The ancient yet venerated Team Fist. Week three would see that change. Unfortunately, not everyone can win. The fact of the matter is that in every week, half the teams will take a loss, so yes three teams went from one and one to two and one. One team had to fall to one and two, and another had to drop all the way to zero and three. By the end of the week though, there would be no undefeated teams. 

To The Anvil this might be the most important event of the week, and because of that his Blow of the Week must come from the matchup between Team Fist and Real Rhydin. Knowing this, you can easily figure out whom The Anvil is looking at to take week 3’s Blow of the Week! Round seven of the Crutch match between Dakota Street, and Summer (a.k.a. Destroyer of Hope) resulted in a trade of kicks. Trades can be great, until the point where they’re not. In this case the trade signaled the end of the bout, and the acquisition of enough points to end Team Fist’s winning streak. 

Week 3’s Blow of the Week is awarded to…Dakota Streetcar named Desire!!

Week 4:

Week 4 was extremely important, even if it left the playoff picture exceedingly unclear. Team Fist locked in their spot relatively early, a very happy event for them, although it did move Deathcake to share the name cellar dweller with The Rock Hards…but hey, we owned that moniker! It would see The New Blood, and Real Rhydin sliding into two and two records, as well as The Rock Hards pulling down their first win. These lower events would put a haze over the bottom two seats in the playoff picture where anyone could take the spots. 

As eventful, and possibly emotional, as the end of week standings was, The Anvil feels that the most important move of the week belonged to King’s Gambit. It was a defining week for that team because they pulled down a win necessary to also secure their spot in the playoffs. Now, this could easily have gone the other way, TNB’s Jackson had all the pressure on him, and that’s putting a lot on a rookie. Jackson had to be perfect, but he was up against One Man Team Xanth. Round one of the Iron Fist bout was another trade, and once again a trade at the worst possible time. Even had Jackson pulled out the win, KGM had won the week. 

All this being said…

Week 4’s Blow of the Week is awarded to…One Man Team Xanth Bokkelen!!

Week 5:

 Week 5, or as The Anvil likes to call it If Week! There wasn’t a single week this season which held as many possibilities as week 5 in IFL’s regular season. KGM and TMF would meet to decide who would win the regular season, and who would end up in the fray for the final three positions in the playoffs. RRD and TNB fought to see who would secure a position for post season action. If’s and possibilities…DCK and ROC would meet to see who might stay alive a little longer and who would need to step aside and cheer their favorites. Seeds one and two were out of reach for everyone except RRD, and low and behold they claimed that spot commandingly. KGM’s defeat of TMF forced Matt and his crew into the third spot. That left the fourth and final position open to DCK, TNB and ROC. 

Now some may accuse The Anvil of bias this week, and he’d like to point out that he has friends on both TNB and DCK. The Anvil loves these two teams!! However, The Anvil would also say that this is an opinion piece, and that he’s not a true journalist. The Anvil isn’t getting paid for this! Now if that makes him biased, he’s probably guilty! The Rock Hards season was mostly disappointing, but mixed in that was one bright spot. They did keep managing to win bouts if not weeks. By the end of week five, they’d managed to pull down eleven bouts won, which tied them with Team Fist with a worse win/loss record. It seems nearly inconceivable! It was that feat alone which pushed them into the playoffs this season, and let’s be completely honest. There was one person who secured that for the team. Maggie Harker picked up her third straight win. This also kept her at the very top of the leaders board. Considering that last season she went zero and four, this was an amazing season for her.

The Anvil feels what he feels, and that means…

Week 5’s Blow of the Week goes to Maggie “you’re preaching to the choir” Harker!!

The Anvil will attempt to continue this column through the playoffs!

Week Six Semi-Final Predictions IFL 2021
Intern Liovanni - December 14th, 2021 - 08:58pm

Welcome everyone to Week Six, or in other words, the Semi-Finals! Wow, what a ride it was watching Weeks Four and Five wrap up. The Anvil and Kalamere already gave some pretty great analysis of the regular season, so I won’t spend too much time on it. 

Except for a few words. 

Damn, Rock Hards, you pulled off a killer ending. While KGM, RRD, and TMF definitely earned their way into the playoffs I think ROC embodies the spirit of IFL. The 2021 Season Predictions put them at 6th place with a 1-4 record. They turned around a three-match losing streak in the late season to win against Real RhyDin and Deathcake. And if you look at the scores, the matchups against Team Fist and Team New Blood were incredibly close. Really, just a single extra point could’ve made the difference. No one can say that this team didn’t earn their spot. 

In the playoffs we see Team Fist against Real RhyDin and The Rock Hards at King’s Gambit! There will be some close fights and I expect the sudden-death wave to continue. But in the end, it will be Real RhyDin and King’s Gambit as our IFL Finalists. 

Team Fist at Real RhyDin
These two teams were matched back in Week Three, and I predicted Team Fist would win but Real RhyDin proved me wrong. Back in 2019 these teams fought in the Week 6 Semi-Finals and Real RhyDin took home a 34-10 victory winning all four bouts. In 2017 they fought in the Week 9 Finals, and Real RhyDin again took home the victory 23-20. Matt and Hope are no strangers to high-stakes matchups with each other, but Hope’s lineup always seems to get the edge. History will repeat itself. Real RhyDin 28-20

Anchor: Summer vs. Jaycy

Team Fists new-old recruit, Summer, is having a hard time getting into the swing of things. Jaycy lost in the Week 3 match against Matt, but has otherwise contributed to RRD’s victories. Despite not having wins to her name yet, Summer’s first match went to sudden death against ROC’s Kruger. Looking at her bouts you can see Summer has some advanced, if old-school, training. Her main downfall is a few unadvised risks now and then, losing to some basic but reliable strategies. Jaycy’s style is fairly adaptable, and she’s used to the old-school patterns that Summer brings to the field. Jaycy, 5-4.    

Crutch: Karma vs. Eden

This here is a re-match from the Week 3 bout earlier this season where I gave an in-depth analysis of the fighting record between these two from recent Opal challenges and the Diamond Quest. Eden is #3 on the Leaders board right now and Karma is in a three-way tie for 9th. Will Eden continue to go undefeated? Will Karma break away with a victory? I think Eden is on Shake Shack Sugar High, 5-4, sudden death. 

Push: Crunchem vs. Gren

This may be a Push match, but it reads like an Iron Fist. Two Powerhouse fighters, both of them with 2-1 seasonal records, and very similar PF-PA records. If you have front-row tickets to a fight this week, I would book the night off and see THE ARBORIST versus UGLY HUNGER. My gut says the Ogre’s bloodlust is going to terrify the gentle ranger. UGLY HUNGER 5-3.  

Iron Fist: Hope vs. Matt

Alas, the Captains were on their A-Game and fought before this could get published. While my notes had Hope winning 5-2. Really, it was the last few moments of this match that tipped the scales in favor of RRD. Tied for three Matt sprung forward, looking to catch Hope in the air. And she almost, just almost seemed to go for it, but quickly dropped low to deliver a quick kick to the calf. At this point, Matt was on the ropes, and many fighters can tell you that old-reliable wins more than it loses at this juncture. But Hope was ready, dipping the incoming punch and returning her own. As Hope said that night, Matt fought like a demon. A bout worthy of the Semi-Finals. 

The Rock Hards at King’s Gambit

Congratulations to the Rock Hards and King’s Gambit for making it this far into the Semi-Finals! While the Rock Hards have fought tooth and nail to get here, they are going to have to keep fighting in order to reverse the results from the regulation season. Kruger is sitting back this week, putting himself in the Anchor position and letting the All-Stars Maggie and Doran take the heavier fights. Once again not surprised to see Xanth and Bile taking the top-tier matches. While I predict the victory goes to King’s Gambit, 25-22, I want the Rockers to prove me wrong. I love a good underdog story. 

Anchor: Kruger vs. Li Xiaofan

Kruger has turned the Rock Hards into a fighting threat this season, leading some of those victories by example. Li, on the other hand, is in the bottom bracket of the Leaders pool. Granted, Li lost to Dakota and Rekah, two noteworthy opponents in the League. I think Kruger is pulling a strategy here called ‘Lead from Behind’, and it’s going to work for him. Kruger, 5-4

Crutch: Amaris vs. Sophia

There are a few KGM fighters that I think Amaris has a shot against. And as I’ve said before, any fighter can beat someone else at any time. However, Sophia has earned herself a Powerhouse ranking and Amaris has got a 0-3 record for the regular season. The win goes to Sophia, 5-2.

Push: Mairead vs. Bile

Mairead Harker takes the #1 spot on the Leaders board right now. Whatever happens in this match, that is something you can take to sponsors and fans and be proud of. Only six points against the young woman, from tough opponents such as Koyliak, Hope, and Salvador. She has defied every prediction I’ve ever made, and for that, I am humbled. Just don’t defy this one. The win is yours, Mairead, 5-3

Iron Fist: Doran vs. Xanth

This is the second re-match of the Semi-Finals, with Doran and Xanth meeting in the Iron Fist! Back in Week Two, Xanth delivered the only loss Doran has felt this season with a 5-2 score. Since then, Doran has taken out Ettyn, Michelle, and Droet while Xanth continued undefeated against Jackson and Dean. This fight right here is the ultimate fight of the Semi-Finals. I think Doran is going to put everything he has into it, and Xanth will bring every unholy object to bear upon him. Last time I penned Xanth for victory, and it will be Xanth once again 5-4, sudden death.  

Better late than never, you have your Semi-Finals IFL 2021 Predictions. See you after the holidays for the Finals! 

The Playoff Picture – 12/6 Update
Kalamere - December 6th, 2021 - 10:20pm

As testament to how tight this season is running, we’ve had 7 bouts and closed out week 4 since the last update, and we still only know half of the teams who will make the playoffs and NONE are ruled out! The only real change since the last time we had this chat is that King’s Gambit earned their way in.

So, despite Xanth winning. Twice. Gren winning. Twice. and a handful of other bouts that advanced the cause, there are still a ton of questions out there. Do I have answers for you? Of course not. I just have some back of the napkin math to toss out there and probably complicate things more.

Here’s the run down.

Team Fist: In or Out: In – Rank: 1-3.

The week 5 matchup between TMF and KGM is the fight for 1st place. Both teams have locked in their spot in the post season by having 3 match wins through week 4, and now they’re just fighting for top bidding. Both captains have already fought, though sadly not against each other because, at least personally speaking, I think that might have been more interesting. Never-the-less, Matt and Xanth both won their matchups and we’re now looking at a 1 point edge to TMF with the Push and Crutch bouts left to go. The team who wins takes the regular season crown. The team that losses.. well.. something else. Three match wins means they can’t fall below a 3rd place finish because only one of RRD or TNB can match that. If TMF loses this match and TNB beats Hope and co., then the Outback favorites take second place since; at worst, they’d be tied in bouts won and TMF won the head-to-head. If it’s RRD that comes out on top though, then TMF is going to drop down to 3rd seed. At best (in a losing scenario vs KGM) TMF would hold 11 bouts won. Hope’s crew has 10 already and can’t win their match without at least 1 more, which results in a bout wins tie. Since RRD took them to school back in week 3, they hold the secondary tie breaker and would claim the higher seed.

King’s Gambit: In or Out: In – Rank: 1-3

Xanth only needed 3 points to collect a week 4 win for his crew, but he collected the bout victory anyway, and then went on to rack up another in the opening bout of week 5 vs TMF. The question that remains is whether or not the rest of his team can pull this out. At 3-0 on the season, Xanth now accounts for a full 1/3rd of his team’s bout wins, leaving the rest at 6-9. A match win puts them at the top of the league. A match loss and, just like TMF, they’ll be looking at tie breakers with either RRD or TNB to see who claims second. Also, just like TMF, they won the head-to-head vs TNB while dropping it to RRD. They edge out TNB already unless the new kids sweep all the remaining bouts, so they probably want 1 more bout win in a losing effort for that insurance. If RRD comes out on top and they’re both sitting at 3-2 though, then just like TMF, they’ll drop to 3rd place.

Real RhyDin: In or Out: ?? – Rank: 2-4

What’s weird here is that these guys won against the league’s top 2 teams and lost against the league’s bottom 2 teams. In impressive style too! They whipped King’s Gambit by 20! But then got man handled by Deathcake and lost by 19. What’s going to happen when they face an outfit that’s in the middle of the pack? Gren got them up in the first bout recorded, so they lead now by 4 – but this was the Anchor bout and leaves a whole lot of point our there to be claimed. Of the teams without 3 wins already, RRD is in the best position to get to the post season. A win seals it and actually pulls out a 2nd place season finish (see above). A loss means they are looking at a tie breaker with the winner of the DCK vs ROC match. 1 more bout win seals the deal in a faceoff with DCK, since Sal’s crew could sweep the rest of that match and still only get to where RRD is today. A ROC win, though, is more interesting. ROC could amass as many as 12 bout wins by the end of this, while RRD wouldn’t have more than 11, maybe 12 in a highly unlikely scenario, and ROC holds the head-2-head. So, really, these guys want to win the match and/or root for Deathcake at this point.

Team New Blood: In or Out: ?? – Rank: 3-4

The New Kids need two strong wins to come back and win week 5 to advance into the playoffs as the 3rd seed. Winning all 3 would be nice for them, but really has no impact to their final seeding at this point. If they lose though, then things are pretty dicey. They could still win 2 bouts and lose the match, thus ending with 9 bouts won on the season. DCK would have to match that to come out on top over ROC, where TNB would take the tie breaker. DCK could still sweep to win though, which would give them a 1 bout edge and the nod for the playoffs. If Kruger’s gang comes out on top though, then it’s over. The Rockers already hold 9 bouts won and would need at least 1 more to come out the victors. Just like Hope and company, they want to win this while rooting for DCK, only with the exception that they’re now down in this match, so I hope they’ve ordered their DCK t-shirts and coffee mugs already.

The Rock Hards: In or Out: ?? – Rank: 4

Doran put up and import first bout win over Droet in the Push match and put Kruger’s crew into the lead position. It’s a big first step, but was also a narrow win so there is plenty of opportunity for DCK to get back in there. At best we’re looking at a 4th seed playoff berth for the Rocker’s, but they actually look pretty strong right now and have a legitimate shot at it. They need to win the match. That’s step one. Lose and we’ll be done talking about them until next Fall. A win isn’t a lock, but they look really good in a tie breaker vs TNB and not altogether terrible if it’s RRD. There are 3 bouts left and they really only need 1 to take the match. They probably want 2 to put themselves in the best position though.

Deathcake: In or Out: ?? – Rank: 4

Basically everything I just said about ROC, only they are far more desperate for the wins. Even if they sweep the 3 remaining bouts to take the W, they’d need RRD to drop all of theirs, if that’s who we’re comparing to. For simplicity’s sake, they need RRD to finish off New Blood while they take down ROC. They’ll need 2 bout wins to take this match, and that could be enough… but they’ll likely need all 3.

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