As the World Series of Fighting made its foray into Canada, Georgi Karakhanyan became the promotion’s second ever champion.
Karakhanyan was able to defeat the one-time Ohio State wrestler Lance Palmer in the third round with a guillotine choke to take home the inaugural featherweight belt. Karakhanyan controlled much of the action by keeping the fight standing and staying on the outside. He strafed Palmer and used his length, landing jabs and combinations throughout the first two rounds. Karakhanyan eventually caught the Team Alpha Male member Palmer with a perfectly executed guillotine, in which made a beautiful adjustment to secure, late in the third round.
"Lance Palmer is a great fighter who comes for a good wrestling background," Karakhanyan said in the post-fight interview. "My coach Romie Aram told me to keep it standing and pick him apart, but you know Lance was trying to grind me out. It was a very tough fight. But, if I put that guillotine on you, I don’t care who you are, you’re going to tap."
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The end came at the 4:40 of the round three in a fight scheduled for five. With the victory, Riverside’s Karakhanyan moves to 23-3-1.
The co-main event featured Jesse Taylor against the Bosnian born Elvis Mutapcic in a middleweight title eliminator, a fight originally slated to take place in September in Atlantic City. That night, just before the walkouts, the bout was scrapped when Mutapcic was discovered with unapproved prescription pills in the locker room. Three months later, Taylor fought like a man who didn’t appreciate having his time wasted like that. He dominated all three rounds with his wrestling and ground-and-pound, winning a unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Taylor will now face David Branch for the inaugural 185-pound title at a date later to be determined.
And in one of the card’s most intriguing match-ups, lightweight Nick Newell kept his record perfect when he submitted British Columbia’s Sabah Fadai with a modified guillotine choke at 1:21 of the first round. Newell went for a single leg and forced Fadai to the fence, where he quickly snatched the "Persian Warrior’s" neck and forced him to tap.
With the win Newell -- a one-armed fighter who has swiftly become one of WSOF’s most popular fighters -- moves to 11-0 in MMA (with eight submissions).
WSOF 7’s main card opened with Surrey native Kalib Starnes, a UFC vet remembered for all the wrong reasons for his performance at UFC 83, against Dwayne Lewis. In his WSOF debut, which was contested at light heavyweight tilt, Starnes made the most of things.
Starnes crumpled Lewis with a short left elbow on the inside that ended things abruptly in the second round. Though Starnes has had a checkered record since his last fight in the UFC, he has reeled off four wins in a row.