One of MMA's upstart organizations is back at it on Saturday with a decent card despite the incredibly poor timing of the event. MMA and boxing have different audiences and this show is expected to end before the mega fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Canelo Alvarez. Yet, even the UFC bows to Mayweather. If there's a way to make sure you have a hard time promoting your product or event, put on the same day as a Mayweather mega fight.
What: WSOF 5
Where: Revel Resort & Casnio, Atlantic City, New Jersey
When: Saturday, the five-fight preliminary card starts at 6:0 p.m. ET on WSOF.com while the five-fight main card goves live on NBC Sports at 9 p.m. ET.
I'm not really confident about either of these fighter's chances, but I'm forced to go with the Belorussian here, ultimately. Arlovski's takedown defense is still quite good and Kyle is all too likely to want to engage on the feet anyway. It wouldn't be the least bit surprising if the AKA fighter starched Arlovski, but I'm going to assume (perhaps foolishly) Arlovski can stay out of trouble long enough to use his superior stand up.
I certainly see the possibility of Branch getting lit up a bit on the feet by the quicker, seemingly more athletic Villefort, but in the end I have to side with the grinding style of Branch. Over time, I suspect he'll drag this fight into the clinch along the fence and/or the ground where he'll smother with stifling top control. Villefort is a capable ground operator, too, but I wonder if he's got enough to keep Branch off of him and mount an attack. I have my doubts.
I'm really, really torn on this one. On the one hand, I can easily see Taylor doing the thing he always does: getting the takedown and riding on top long enough to hear the bell ring, round after round. On the other hand, Mutapcic can basically do it all. He's an excellent finisher, but is also capable of going the distance against veteran grinders. He already did it once to one of Taylor's Team Quest teammates. I'll flip a coin and pick the guy with more upside.
Rolles Gracie vs. Derek Mehmen
Gracie's going to have to do a lot more than get crushed by Joey Beltran and defeat Bob Sapp for me to accept he's a serious competitor. Mehmen, for all his faults, doesn't have that problem. He's also well-rounded enough here that if he can stay out of obvious trouble spots, he should be able to define the complexion of the fight.
This is a fun scrap. Lowe is going to try to lord his considerable wrestling skills over Karakhanyan. The Armenian isn't the wrestler Lowe is, but he's got all sorts of other MMA skills. Ultimately, I think that will be the difference maker. Lowe will only be able to control Karakhanyan for so long before he's able to reach into his bag of tricks and take over the fight.