The World Series of Fighting (WSOF) rolled out their twentieth event, one marred by late fight cancellations and changes. Still, the event rolled on, with middleweight champion David Branch looking to advance in a light heavyweight tournament contender tournament.
On Friday on NBC Sports Network at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, he did just that against late replacement Jesse McElligott.
Branch kicked things off, literally, scoring a hard body kick and then closed the distance to force a clinch along the fence. After changing levels, Branch is able to lock hands and dump McElligott to the mat, landing in half guard. McElligott was able to recapture full guard, but it was Branch doing damage on top, pressing McElligott into the fence. Branch would spend the remainder of the round there, landing short but essentially uncontested shots from top position.
Branch went right to work in the second round, teeing off early with combinations and forward pressure. A step through knee from Branch badly hurts McElligott. Branch recognized it and followed up with a series of hard knees in the clinch followed by a double leg that lands Branch in side control. From there, Branch secured a Von Flue choke, but moved to mount before the referee recognized it and stopped the bout.
The end came officially at 1:28 of round 2.
In the co-main event of the evening, WSOF stalwart Nick Newell took on Joe Stevenson-trained Joe Condon in a lightweight contest. Newell opened stalking, pawing with his right hand and despite briefly clinching, put pressure everywhere with leg kicks, check hooks and middle kicks. The two would exchange kicks throughout the frame, but Newell would focus on the middle kick, which win't unblocked and scored as Newell stood southpaw to Condon's orthodox. Just before the end of the frame, Newell secured a single leg from a caught kick, which he used to get behind Condon, dump him to the mat, take the back with both hooks and at least threaten the choke.
Newell changed things up in the second round, charging in for a takedown, but this time unable to secure it the first time. From the clinch a second time, Newell scored a harai goshi. Condon was able to recover his base, but Newell was all over him, failing but attempting takedown attempt after attempt with no break. Condon eventually separated, but Newell scored towards the end of the bell with a strong single leg takedown.
In the third and final frame, Newell attempted a single leg, but appeared winded and couldn't complete it. Instead, it was Condon who scored the single leg takedown and then the back. Newell was able to stand to his feet without absorbing a huge amount of damage, but spent that portion of the round firmly on the defense. Condon would press forward again and score a double, but Newell was able to stand much quicker this time and force separation. Condon would attempt one more takedown, but Newell met him with a lethal guillotine attempt. The one-handed fighter, however, was unable finish with the submission.
The judges gave it to Newell in the end, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28, awarding him the unanimous decision victory.
MMA 'superhero' Phoenix Jones (Ben Fodor) made his WSOF debut against top-control wrestler Emmanuel Walo. Fodor came in with all the hype, but it was Walo who dictated things early and often, scoring double legs with authority, but unable to do much with it. After the second of such slams, the pair were stood up for a lack of activity. Still, Walo scored a third double leg and the two were right back on the mat.
By the second round, Fodor opened the frame by closing the distance immediately and trying to land heavy bombs, but was eventually turned in the clinch and taken to the mat with a body lock. Jones was able to stand after a wall walk towards the middle of the frame, but only to be taken down one more time by the persistent Walo.
In the third round, Fodor attempted a guilltone choke on Walo after being taken down, but could get nowhere. Jones landed some decent strikes before standing again and trying another guillotine, but couldn't secure it. However, Walo was clearly exhausted and able to save himself by landing another takedown with less than two minutes in the frame. Fodor had a better gas tank late and stood again, but was returned to the mat with a single leg takedown. Jones attempted one last triangle-armbar attempt, but couldn't ever put Walo in any real danger.
Ultimately, the judges sided with Walo, awarding him the unanimous decision win with scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28.
In heavyweight action, 2008 Olympian Steve Mocco faced off against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Justin Coutinho. Mocco would draw first metaphorical blood as a right hand scored early noticeably wobbled the Brazilian, but Coutinho hung tough and the two continued to exchange. Switching from striking to wrestling, however, Mocco scored an easy single leg takedown. which he ultimately used to create space and rain down heavy punches. Coutinho eventually turned, showing his back, which caused referee Dan Miragliotta to step in and stop the contest at 4:02 of the first round.
In the opening bout of the main card, lightweight Ozzy Dugulubgov was originally expected to face Melvin Guillard, but with the latter's late absence, WSOF veteran Lucas Montoya was called in to replace him. The two exchanged strikes for approximately in a minute and a half before Dugulubgov was able to secure the takedown. While the Renzo Gracie product didn't pass guard or forcing a striking stoppage, the bout was temporarily halted when it was observed Montoya's arm was badly damaged. Either from a kick on the feet on a blocked able from his back, Montoya's right arm was broken. Once the ringside physician examined him and gave his recommendation to referee Kevin Mulhall, he waved off the fight. The end came officially at 3:39 of the very first round.