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Rising star MMA fighters get their chance to shine at Fusion Fight League’s ICF 29

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No easy fights.

That’s the mantra Terrill Bracken and his Fusion Fight League are bringing to the Intense Championship Fighting brand now that they’ve officially taken charge of the popular Mixed Martial Arts promotion.

That idea will be in full swing on Oct. 20 for the Washington Vs. Montana Rising Stars event at ICF 29 set to take place in the cage at the Four Seasons Arena at Montana ExpoPark.

The headliner fights include the undefeated Tommy McMillen training in the renowned MMA Lab taking on Shane Fichter, 5-2 out of Billings, for the 170-pound title belt and Lisa “The Strangler” Spangler, the 8-1 fighter from Portland, Ore., taking on Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga, 6-3 from Lakeland, Florida.

The fighters, according to the official Fusion Fight League release, “boast more than 10 titles in various promotions and weight classes, six undefeated records and at least seven King of the Cage appearances.”

Fusion promoters continue, adding “Mark our words, fighters on this card WILL be in Invicta, UFC or Bellator in the coming years — some sooner than you think.”

ICF 29Bracken said they want to see the hometown fighters do well, but more importantly than that they want competitive matches that will keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.

“Good, competitive matches are what people pay to see,” he said. “A rule of thumb for me is that if a fight’s not exciting for me to watch, I’m not going to book it because it’s probably not going to be exciting for anyone else as well.”

Speaking of the headliner of Spangler vs. Borga, Bracken said that he sees a bright future in MMA for both of them.

“That fight, it’s bound to be a top-notch, national caliber fight with two females that will for sure end up at Invicta before too long, I think that’s a given,” he said.

Invicta, for those unfamiliar with MMA promotions, is the national all-professional organization featuring some of the top female fighters in the country.

In preparing for her fight against Spangler, Borga said that she’s going into it with full confidence in that she’ll be able to topple her talented opponent.

We are both aggressive and strong fighters. We like to stand and bang,” she said. “But, there is a lot I haven’t gotten to show in my game and I think she might underestimate me.”

Borga added that, “I don’t worry with what could go wrong, I just work on getting better with everything each time and I know I’m ready to fight.”

Spangler, in a video announcing the fight, said she expects an explosive match, as well.

“…with our fighting style, it should be a war,” she said.

With the other main-event, Bracken said the McMillan-Fichter fight will likely be a thrilling bout as well.

“I think that is going to be an absolute war and I can’t even begin to pick a winner in that match-up,” he said.

Bracken added that both amateurs have taken to training full-time with Fichter working out of the Grindhouse Gym and McMillan with the MMA Lab. He said there likely will be, “Good striking and some good ground fighting.”

While those might be the two headlining fights, Bracken said he’s anticipating that the entire fight card will have thrilling action. For instance, he said, they’ll have Conall Powers getting “probably his biggest challenge yet,” against Nathan Strenning, and Johnson Nasona putting his 12-match win streak on the line against a powerful Dylan Schulte of Missoula.

Washington Vs MT“I think Dylan is the underdog in that fight, but he’s a state-champ wrestler fighting out of the Dog Pound and he’s undefeated coming out of a spectacular knockout win against Dakota Tackett,” he said.

Bracken said while people are still getting used to having Fusion in charge of ICF, he said they’re working hard to show fans a few important things when it comes to how they’re running the events.

“We are here to raise the level of Montana MMA through really competitive match-ups by bringing a lot of fighters in from out of state to compete against our home state guys,” he said. “We are also really working hard to improve the fan experience with really good sound, lights and video production, and then we’re promising to book no easy fights. We’re doing our best to make sure everyone gets challenged. That’s better for everybody — it’s better for the fighters  because it helps raise their level and it helps fans enjoyment. It makes for a better show for everyone involved.”

Event organizers also will be selling t-shirts to help support Troy Ross, 3 years old. Troy has been diagnosed with an incredibly rare autoimmune disease called pulmonary capillaritis, which for some reason causes the the immune system to attack his lungs like a virus. You can purchase a shirt online here, or on the day of the fights at the arena.

Tickets to ICF 29 are $15 if your tickets are purchased in advance at Alias, Smith and Jones Pawn in Great Falls, Cody’s Cars, The Sting Sports Bar, and Big Sky Harley. They are $20 the day of the fights at Four Seasons Arena.  The 10-person VIP tables are $500 for first two rows, $400 behind that. They can be purchased or reserved by calling Call 406-697-0542. Below is the official fight card matchups. All fights are subject to change.

  • Roger Kremer from Monroe, Wash., vs. Nate Nava of Great Falls
  • Timothy Weeks of Monroe, Wash., vs. Gage Morsette from Kalispell
  • Aaron Ibanez from Seattle vs. Brock Picard of Great Falls
  • Sawyer Depree from Missoula vs. Xander Beston Sr., from Poplar
  • Collin Small from Seattle vs. Brandon Brisbo from Butte
  • James Dennis from Shelby vs. Alejandro Dearce from Great Falls
  • Sanny Ibanez of Seattle vs. TJ Losleben from Billings
  • Nathan Strening from Chicago byway of Seattle vs. Conall Powers of Missoula
  • Dylan Schulte of Missoula vs. Johnson Nasona of Seattle for the 145-pound title fight
  • Tommy McMillan vs Shane Fichter for the 170-pound title fight
  • Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga vs. Lisa “The Strangler” Spangler for the 135-pound title
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