The WSOF train marches on, this time with two title fights when it should have been three. Yushin Okami and David Branch collide to determine the middleweight champion, while Jessica Aguilar and Kalindra Faria will determine who is the organization's women's strawweight champion. Yet, a title fight between lightweights Justin Gaethje and Melvin Guillard was scrapped when Guillard failed to make weight.
What: WSOF 15: Branch vs. Okami
Where: USF Sun Dome, Tampa Florida
When: Saturday, the five-fight preliminary card streams live on MMA Fighting at 6 p.m. ET and the four-fight main card goes live on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.
Unless Okami is totally shot, he should be able to do here what he's always done: get the takedown, ride out top position and avoid submissions en route to a victory. Branch has a good guard and much improved takedown defense, so I'm not suggesting he's some pushover. But I also recognize Okami's been able to hold position on the ground against fighters with much better, more established talents.
Despite missing weight, I don't think Guillard's assessment of Gaethje is necessarily wrong. Gaethje is a hell of a talent, but has plenty of weaknesses that can be exploited. We've seen them over and over. He just overwhelms opposition to the point where it doesn't matter in the end. If Guillard can stay moving at angles and off the fence, he's going to light Gaethje up.
Call me crazy. I like Faria here. I don't think she's the wrestler that Aguilar is, but she has good trips of her own. Moreover, she's very dynamic on the feet, big for the weight class and has a potent guard. She's extremely offense-oriented at all moments in the bout, which is going to give someone who is position oriented like Aguilar a lot of problems.
I'm going to give it to the Brazilian here. Yes, he's older and slower and not as physical as Reynolds, but he's also performing pretty well of late, all things considered. Getting bombed on by Luis Palomina or submitted by Carlos Ferreira means you're not ready to fight in the UFC, but as far as the upper echelon of journeymen go, that's about where Patino is. I'm not saying that disparagingly. Patino is something of a living legend in the sport, but he's older now and only capable of so much. That happens to be a few notches above Reynolds.