World Series of Fighting crowned two new champions in its tenth edition in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Branch, who defeated Danillo Villefort in the 185-pound tournament semifinal in September, escaped from an early guillotine attempt by Taylor and immediately went for a D’Arce choke. He didn’t get it at first, but he stuck with it and Taylor eventually tapped.
"I can’t describe the emotions I’m going right now. It’s been a long road," Branch said after the win. "I’m the champion now. I’m really emotional right now."
WSOF also crowned a new featherweight king, but the title didn’t come easy. Rick Glenn’s quest to the championship almost ended in the first round when Georgi Karakhanyan locked a tight armbar, however he was able to survive and come back with hard punches that hurt the champion.
Glenn was vicious coming into the second round, pounding on Karakhanyan’s body with punches and knees. Karakhanyan went down a couple times, but Glenn couldn’t get the finish. Between rounds, Karakhanyan told his corners he had broken ribs and the doctor called the bout, crowning Glenn the new 145-pound champion.
WSOF strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar put her title on the line against 10-year MMA veteran Emi Fujino, but the Japanese challenger had little to offer. Aguilar controlled the pace of the fight and left Fujino bloodied from the opening round.
"Jag" came close to the finish in the third round with an arm-triangle choke, but Fujino survived the choke and the subsequent volley of elbows from mount. Aguilar continued to connect the better punches in the later rounds, ultimately defending her title via unanimous decision.
The Blackzilians fighter, who entered the cage in a four-fight win streak, dominated Griffin with takedowns and back control and even rocked him standing in the first round, but failed to get the finish. After three action-packed rounds, Firmino improved to 18-6 with a unanimous decision.
In the preliminary portion of the WSOF 10 card, Timur Valiev and A.J. Williams scored impressive finishes over Adam Acquaviva and Tanner Cowan, respectively. Valiev stopped Acquaviva on the third round with a flying knee, while Williams needed only 44 seconds to knock Cowan out with a head kick.