World Series of Fighting is investing a lot in its first trip to New York.
WSOF president Ray Sefo announced on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that the promotion’s upcoming cards, scheduled for Nov. 12 and Dec. 3, will be scrapped in order to boost the promotion’s show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 31.
WSOF 34 was set to take place at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., on Nov. 12, and feature a welterweight title bout between Jon Fitch and Jake Shields in the main event. WSOF 35 was scheduled for XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash..
"After a few weeks of discussions, we decided our main event, which is Jon Fitch and (Jake) Shields for that card, to our New Year’s Eve card in Madison Square Garden Theater," Sefo announced. "And having Blagoi (Ivanov), who is out heavyweight champion, was scheduled to headline our December show, get hurt last week, it kind of fell in place and we just decided to merge the two cards together and put on a bigger card for New York City."
The UFC will hold a historic event at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12 with three belts on the line, and Sefo feels happy for the MMA fans in New York.
"I think fans in New York City are gonna have nothing but enjoyment of two big cards coming to New York City back-to-back," he said.
Fitch vs. Shields will be moved to Dec. 31 and co-headline the show. In the main event, WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje puts his title on the line against Joao Zeferino. The third fight of the main card features bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes, and Sefo said his opponent will be announced later this week.
The WSOF president also said that it wasn’t hard to convince the bantamweight talent to sign a new deal with the promotion after entering free agency after his last title defense.
“Marlon is a great fighter, he’s a great kid, and we’d support whatever Marlon wants to do,” Sefo said. “As of right now, Marlon is still a World Series of Fighting fighter and he will be fighting on New Year’s Eve on the Madison Square Garden Theater.”
The main card will air on NBC between 4-6 p.m. ET. The preliminary portion of the show, which will be headlined by Yushin Okami vs. Paul Bradley on NBC Sports, will also include two other match-ups and start at 3 p.m. ET, Sefo said.
According to Sefo, the fighters originally booked for Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 who won’t compete on Dec. 31 are expected to fight on its following show, which takes place Jan. 20 in Las Vegas.