Italian Cage Fighting: continuity through novelties and future ambitions

The report of the press conference held today in Milan

Among some novelties, starting from the name of the promotion itself, and the ambition to become more and more influential and sustainable, Italian Cage Fighting presented its next initiatives for the upcoming autumn-winter season, during a press conference held in the morning in Milan. The best known figure of the promotion, the co-founder and matchmaker Alex Dandi, explained it all.

From IFC to ICF: why and what changes

Although not the first topic dealt with today, it is easy to start from the IFC (Italian Fighting Championship)-ICF name change, motivated with the opportunity to avoid any future conflicts in terms of recognition and exploitation of the brand with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. An aesthetic change (also made official through new custom gloves, on the style of what is done by other international promotions) which is accompanied by a more substantial one in terms of corporate structure: no longer an “open source” creature as proposed last January, but a limited liability company (ICF Promotion Srl, with a share capital of € 110,000). A choice that sacrifices a bit of openness but, at the same time, ensures greater stability for the entire project, in the intentions of Dandi and his collaborators.

The Italian Fighting Card will remain alive, given to those who had contributed financially to the promotion in its embryonic state, with the substantial presence of the same advantages in terms of discounts on tickets and other materials (unchanged also the cost, 99€ at year, the new edition will be available from October). Anyone owns the previous edition of the card will be able to replace it during the ICF events.

ICF: space for Italians, more international challenges with the titles at stake

Regarding the underlying philosophy at the basis of ICF, it has been reiterated the intention to give space to emerging athletes in the Italian scene, which will have the opportunity to test themselves more and more with foreign wrestlers should they have title fights. On the one hand a tradition already started in previous IFC shows (see Botti vs. Kocani and Paternò vs. Maguire), on the other a need given the scarcity of local talent in certain weight classes. In order to avoid the possibility of foreign fighter practically missing should they win the belt, Dandi has assured that they will sign a contract that will provide at least 3 matches with ICF, an agreement already stipulated with the next contenders.

The positions on ranking and video of the matches

In the January press conference one of the highlights was the formal adoption by ICF of the rankings curated by MMA Ranking Italia, apparently without particular and explicit consequences in the following months (for example, the publication of those on the official website of the promotion) . Currently, the position taken by ICF on the point is somewhat blurred according to what was stated by its co-founder: not a real rejection, but a “suspension of judgment” due to a perceived lack of constant updating of rankings, especially in optics to base part of the matchmaking process on them. Waiting to understand how the issue will evolve, ICF will refer to the international rankings drawn up by Fightmatrix and Tapology and has hypothesized the creation of its own rankings in the long term.

Another issue discussed in the press conference and often the subject of debate among fans on social media concerns the possibility of seeing ICF bouts, both past and future, on video. “We haven’t broadcast anything because we don’t want to devalue our product, our matches will never be seen for free on TV”, Dandi explained, “we need to reach certain quality standards to attract investments also from advertisers”. While barring any chance of live streaming, “not profitable as far as numbers go and expensive under the logistical aspects”, it has been announced starting in the coming weeks the start of a video strategy that will include the presentation of fight highlights, the transmission of pre-match footage as it happened at IFC 3 and other projects aimed at accentuating greater attention to storytelling of the promotion events. A novelty aimed to put some salt on possible rivalries between fighters and increase their commercial potential (in other words, to sell more bouts), which will be accompanied by some concession to “showtime” during shows (“the sport will remain anyway at the center of our events”, Dandi reiterated).

The next events: 6 shows in total in the calendar year, from 2019 also in the Center-South

6 events a year for the next 3, this is the roadmap in the future of ICF with the opportunity to add an extra event if there are conditions and to “give continuity to the professional and amateur activity, even for the good of the careers of athletes who want to fight”, Dandi explained. The scheduling of events on a half-yearly basis will follow substantially when already occurred in the IFC era and will provide in 2019, in the cycle of the first 3 shows, at least one date in Southern Italy, “in advanced stages” of definition.

Italian Cage Fighting 4: back to Teatro Principe, Botti takes on UFC one-timer Lloveras

Saturday 29th September ICF will have its second baptism in the same place as the first, the Teatro Principe of Milan, during ICF 4. The card of the event, marked by the absence of presale due to delays in the transition to LLC (even if a short ticket sales window has been suggested in the next few days), suffered another blow after losing Leonardo D’Auria and Simone Tabaglio to injuries. A recent physical problem has also blocked David Aramyan, Tanio Pagliariccio’s opponent. “O Scugnizz” will face the young Argentine fighter Facundo Frognier. Among the guests of the evening, in addition to the already announced Jan Blachowicz and Stefano Paternò, Gunnar Nelson will also appear, in the corner of Lloveras.

ICF Lightweight Title bout 5×5
Alessandro Botti (15-8 MMA, 2-0 ICF) [C] vs. Abner Lloveras (21-10-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Welterweight bout 3×5
Walter Pugliesi (3-0 MMA, 2-0 ICF) vs. Yousof Hassanzada (4-1 MMA, 0-1 ICF)

Lightweight bout 3×5
Francesco Moricca (5-2 MMA, 2-0 ICF) vs. Gianluca Rocca (3-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Welterweight bout 3×5
Andrea Fusi (5-4 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Gabriel Conti (2-3-1 MMA, 1-1 ICF)

Middleweight bout 3×5
Pietro Penini (6-1-1, 1 NC MMA, 0-1 ICF) vs. Francesco Demontis (1-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Bantamweight bout 3×5
Luca Panzetta (2-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Ashley Rosi (4-3 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Bantamweight bout 3×5
Tanio Pagliariccio (2-0 MMA, 2-0 ICF) vs. Facundo Frognier (0-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Featherweight bout 3×5
Federico Fasciano (2-0 MMA, 1-0 ICF) vs. Marco Esposito (1-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Italian Cage Fighting 5: the Turin debut, the local darling Belsanti against Nuzzi

After returning to Milan, ICF will test for the first time the Turin territory with ICF 5, scheduled for Saturday 20th October at the PalaCupole (capacity of 750 people). In the shadow of Mole Antonelliana there will be 2 title bouts: Francesco Nuzzi will defend the bantamweight belt from the assaults of local opponent Giorgio Belsanti, while Walter Cogliandro and the French Souksavanh Khampasath will compete for featherweight laurels. Regarding the latter dispute, Dandi has made it clear that he had proposed the match to Federico Mini, but “Fortigno” will be busy with another promotion (which could be Venator FC, of ​​which he is that weight class champion).

ICF Bantamweight Title bout 5×5
Francesco Nuzzi (6-1 MMA, 2-0 ICF) [C] vs. Giorgio Belsanti (7-7-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

ICF Featherweight Title bout 5×5
Walter Cogliandro (7-0 MMA, 1-0 ICF) vs. Souksavanh Khampasath (11-9-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Welterweight bout 3×5
Marco Saccaro (5-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Leonardo Damiani (6-2-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Middleweight bout 3×5
Emanuele Palombi (6-6 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Cristian Magro (9-5 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Welterweight bout 3×5
Raffaele Spallitta (7-16-1 MMA, 0-1 ICF) Vs. Daniele Miceli (7-3 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Welterweight bout 3×5
Michelangelo Colangelo (2-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Giovanni Bagnasco (1-2, 1 NC MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Lightweight bout 3×5
Giuseppe Mancuso (2-4 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Seck Ndiobo (3-2 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Lightweight bout 3×5
Stefano Tiengo (1-12 MMA, 0-1 ICF) Teodoro Scolieri (1-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Featherweight bout 3×5
Matteo Caretti (2-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Nicolò Solinas (2-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Bantamweight bout 3×5
Riccardo Mura (1-1 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Ozbazaje Meraj (0-0 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

Italian Cage Fighting 6: the grand pre-Christmas season final in Verona with many title fights

In the season finale near Christmas (Saturday 15th December), ICF will be at the PalaFerroli in Verona, an arena of 1500 spectators, to promote a possible quartet of title fights. The 2 contests made official were those for the heavyweight (Matteo Riccetti will be called to defend the homeland honor against the Polish Grzegorz Cieplinski) and the welterweight straps (Virgiliu Frasineac will challenge an international opponent “highly regarded in Europe and with a similar record to his “, the only clues left by Dandi during the press conference). There could also be the reassignment of the middleweight title, perhaps with the involvement of Pietro Penini should he win at ICF 3, and the long-awaited light heavyweight title bout, already mentioned at the original IFC presentation. Quite clear, however, even if to be defined in detail will be the presence of several Venetian athletes on this card, one of whom should be Manolo Zecchini.

ICF Heavyweight Title bout 5×5
Matteo Riccetti (7-2 MMA, 0-0 ICF) vs. Grzegorz Cieplinski (8-6 MMA, 0-0 ICF)

ICF Welterweight Title bout 5×5
Virgiliu Frasineac (9-1 MMA, 2-0 ICF) vs. TBA

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