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Tag: World Series of Fighting

Jake Shields Signs With World Series of Fi-Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


(If you think I’m going to waste my time thinking of a funny caption for this photo, you are out of your damn mind. / Props: Esther Lin)

Fresh off his kind-of-unfair-but-whatever firing by the UFC, welterweight veteran Jake Shields has signed a multi-fight contract with the World Series of Fighting, according to BleacherReport’s Jeremy Botter.

“I am very excited to be fighting for the World Series of Fighting. They have one of if not the best welterweight divisions in the world* and I look forward to fighting great fighters like Jon Fitch, Rousimar Palhares, Josh Burkman, Gerald Harris and more,” Shields said in a statement to Bleacher Report. “I also believe I will now be in an environment where fighters are embraced which will allow my performance at my very best! My first fight for WSOF will be soon so stay tuned. My thanks to the MMA community and fans for all the love and support.”

Between the guys that Shields listed, and other UFC castoffs like Yushin Okami and Melvin Guillard, WSOF isn’t just taking the UFC’s leftovers — they’re constructing a bizarre alternate reality in which we’ve all warped back to the year 2007 or something. WSOF should rename itself “UFC Classic” and see if they can draw Matt Hughes out of retirement. The crazy part is, people are legitimately excited about this. Here’s one representative tweet we got after the news broke:

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Melvin Guillard Signs With World Series of Fighting, Hopes to Make “Some Real Money”


(Hopefully Guillard can earn enough with the WSOF to actually get some lenses put in those frames, but a man can only dream…Photo via Getty)

Whether you were a fan of his brash personality or excitement-first fight philosophy, there’s no denying the impact Melvin Guillard had on the UFC’s lightweight division during his near-unprecedented 9-year run in the organization. His recent release from the UFC may not have been completely unexpected, given his 1-3 1 NC record in his past 5 fights, but it signified the end of an era in its own way. Of course, given Guillard’s fan-friendly style, we figured it wouldn’t be long before he found a new promotion to call home.

And as is usually the case, we were right. After a mere fortnight of unemployment, Guillard has signed a multi-fight deal with the World Series of Fighting, as confirmed by WSOF executive Shawn Lampman and Guillard’s own Twitter account:

We hope that’s truly the case for Guillard, because UFC vets like Josh Burkman might argue otherwise.

After the jump: Guillard speaks with The MMA Hour about life after the UFC and the factors that led to his uninspiring performance against Michael Johnson at Fight Night 37.

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Yushin Okami to Face the Complete Opposite of Yushin Okami in WSOF Debut


(Savov poses with his Bulgarian pop star girlfriend, Desi Slava, while Okami can only crysterbate into a box of tissues offscreen.)

After signing a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting back in October, former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami finally has a date set for his promotional debut.

If you recall, Okami was released from the UFC last September (to make room for the Jumabieke Tuerxuns of the world) despite going 3-1 in his last 4 fights, because whatever, fuck you. “Thunder” was quickly snatched up by the WSOF but has been sitting on the shelf ever since his signing for reasons unknown. Regardless, it was announced earlier today that Okami will make his promotional debut against Bulgarian Svetlozar Savov at WSOF 9 on March 29th.

With 11 finishes in his 12 victories, Savov is pretty much the antithesis of Okami, who collected just 4 stoppages in his 18-fight UFC career. That being said, expect Okami to come in as a huge favorite here. Not Cormier vs. Cummins huge, but somewhere around that. Thankfully, this squash match will likely slip completely under the radar once Rousimar Palhares inevitably maims Steve Carl in the evening’s main event.

Seriously, I cannot begin to comprehend why the WSOF is essentially rewarding Paul Harris for his repeated acts of douchebaggery in the cage by giving him an immediate title shot — it’s like giving a convicted arsonist a book of matches, a gallon of kerosene, and the keys to the home of the judge who sentenced him. “Tickets got to be sold,” I guess.

-J. Jones

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Rousimar Palhares vs. Steve Carl Title Fight Booked for World Series of Fighting 9 Main Event


(Props: The UG)

After signing Rousimar Palhares in November, World Series of Fighting is fast-tracking the unpredictable heel-hook artist to a title fight against the promotion’s reigning welterweight champ, Steve Carl. MMAJunkie reports that Carl vs. Palhares will headline WSOF 9, March 29th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be co-headlined by the inaugural WSOF bantamweight title fight between Marlon Moraes and Josh Rettinghouse.

A former Bellator vet, Steve Carl has won his last seven fights including three consecutive submission victories under the WSOF banner. His fourth-round triangle-choke of Josh Burkman won him World Series of Fighting’s 170-pound title back in October.

Palhares, of course, is the Brazilian maniac who was fired by the UFC for holding onto Mike Pierce’s leg after the referee intervened at UFC Fight Night 29 — the final straw in a controversial UFC career that included a similar incident against Tomasz Drwal, an elevated testosterone bust, and repeated episodes of excessive flexing. World Series of Fighting has already warned Palhares that they won’t tolerate any crazy behavior on their watch. Unfortunately, Palhares has the mind of a jungle-native and the impulse-control of an excited five-year-old at California Pizza Kitchen.

Palhares’s upcoming fight against Carl will be a much-needed opportunity to prove that he can behave like a professional, and we truly hope he can straighten out his head. But either way, kudos to World Series of Fighting for getting us to actually care about a Steve Carl title defense. This one should be interesting, folks…

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Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Is the Hottest Free Agent in MMA — And the Most Over-Hyped


(In case you missed it, here’s what Rumble did to Mike Kyle on Saturday. Props: Arquivo El)

By Scott Sawitz

What a weird, wild ride it’s been for Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the past 18 months. He’s gone from being a welterweight prospect with an insanely high ceiling (and an even bigger weight cut), to a high-profile UFC castoff, to a star for the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion at light-heavyweight. After his spectacular knockout of journeyman Mike Kyle on Saturday night — which fulfilled the last fight on his WSOF contract — there was plenty of speculation among the MMA community on where he’d end up next.

Somehow, Rumble Johnson has become the hottest free agent since Hector Lombard. The WSOF, the UFC, or Bellator (or maybe all three) is going to offer him a big money deal because of one thing: Anthony Johnson is the only unsigned light-heavyweight in the world right now who looks like he could be a relevant fighter in the top tier of the 205-pound division. But the reality is, that’s only because he hasn’t had to face anyone that would suggest otherwise; the current buzz around Johnson wasn’t exactly built on quality of competition.

Bloody Elbow’s Mookie Alexander wrote a terrific piece on why the UFC needs Johnson, if only to bolster its dwindling, aging LHW roster, but I’d argue that Johnson isn’t the sort of high-profile fighter we think he is right now. You could never call him “elite” because he hasn’t fought anyone of note (with the possible exception of Andrei Arlovski, who he fought at heavyweight). In his best moments, Johnson looks like he could actually pass for a UFC title contender, but that could also be the result of some kind matchmaking by World Series of Fighting and Johnson’s management team.

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Jessica Aguilar vs. Alida Gray Might Be the Best Reason to Watch WSOF 8 This Saturday


(Jessica Aguilar photo via Jeff Lopes/Kimurawear)

Believe it or not, there’s a World Series of Fighting event happening this weekend. WSOF 8 goes down this Saturday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, featuring the twice-delayed fight between Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle, and the promotion’s inaugural lightweight title fight between undefeated banger Justin Gaethje and Richard “Who Da Fuq?” Patishnock. [Ed. note: Not his real nickname. But seriously, have any of you heard of this guy?]

Look, I’d happily tune in to watch Rumble Johnson beat up any unretired jobber they throw at him. But it’s worth mentioning that WSOF 8 features a second title fight, which might turn out to be the most competitive, meaningful fight on the entire card. I’m speaking, of course, of the inaugural women’s strawweight championship match between Jessica Aguilar and Alida Gray.

For devoted fans of WMMA, Jessica Aguilar should need no introduction, but here it is anyway: Aguilar is an eight-year veteran of the sport who’s best known for her 5-1 stint in Bellator, where she won decisions against Carla Esparza, Lisa Ellis, and Megumi Fujii. Then, last October, Aguilar traveled to Fujii’s home-turf and beat her again (although not without controversy).

When Bellator shut down its women’s division last August, Aguilar signed with the World Series of Fighting — perhaps prematurely. In short order, other female Bellator refugees found themselves snatched up by the UFC (like Jessica Eye) or signed to Invicta and then snatched up by the UFC (like Felice Herrig). In other words, Jessica Aguilar is probably the best female 115-pounder not in the UFC, for better or worse.

As for Alida Gray, well, even if you don’t recognize her name, you may have seen her around here before…

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Publicity Stunt of the Day: Ali Abdel-Aziz Proposes WSOF vs. Bellator Pay-Per-View Extravaganza


(Click image for the full-size version. Yes, Eddie Alvarez is indeed listed as “hostage.” Image via @NewYorkRic)

For MMA fighters, one of the most tried-and-true methods of getting attention is to publicly challenge a fighter who’s a lot more famous than you. If you’re Conor McGregor, you call Diego Sanchez a fat has-been. If you’re any UFC middleweight who needs some fans, you call out Michael Bisping. If you’re Khabib Nurmagomedov, you put together a nice photo-collage of Hispanic lightweights for your dream-board. If you’re Jacob Volkmann, you threaten President Obama then get visited by the Secret Service. Sometimes, the resulting heat is good enough to get you noticed. Sometimes, it’s just transparent and crazy.

Case in point: On today’s installment of The MMA Hour, World Series of Fighting Executive Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz challenged Bellator to a roster vs. roster pay-per-view event, with WSOF’s best fighters facing off against Bellator’s top talent. Abdel-Aziz even took the time to lay out what the hypothetical fight card might look like, as illustrated in the Excel document you see above.

“Listen, a lot of people said Bellator [is] number two and a lot of the media said Bellator is number two, but I believe it’s all about winning.” Abdel-Aziz said. “If we line up nine of our guys and nine of their guys, I believe we’ll win. We are number two, strong number two.”

Abdel-Aziz suggested that the event could be a “winner take all” card, in which the pormotion that came out on top would keep all gate receipts and PPV revenue. And despite the ludicrous, won’t-happen-in-a-million-years nature of his proposal, Abdel-Aziz insists that this isn’t just a publicity stunt:

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Strikeforce WSOF Deathwatch: WSOF 7 Pulled in Just 94,000 Viewers


(And just when they were figuring out proper product placement! Curses!!)

Well, we can’t say this looks good.

Thanks to a last-minute injury that saw their (cursed) main event scratched, Ray Sefo and the gang were forced to push the featherweight title fight between Georgi Karakhanyan and Lance Palmer from the co-main spot into the spotlight at WSOF 7 last weekend. Viewing audiences apparently did not approve of this unfortunate yet necessary change, or maybe they just had better things to do on a Saturday night. Or maybe we were all tapped out from the epicness that was Fight Night 33. In any case, it appears that none of you heeded our advice and tuned into WSOF 7. Seriously, like none of you (via MMAPayout):

MMA Payout has learned through Nielsen sources that World Series of Fighting’s event on Saturday night received a meager 94,000 viewers.  WSOF 7 from Vancouver, BC in Canada competed with a heavy night of college football, boxing and Invicta FC. 

One could argue that the lack of “compelling” fights (which, as we pointed out in our breakdown, was not the case with WSOF 7) and multitude of events that transpired last weekend were responsible for the utter failure that was WSOF 7. But as MMA Payout also pointed out, WSOF 6 managed to draw in 161,000 viewers despite competing with both Mayweather-Alvarez and Fight Night 30.

Perhaps most troubling, however, is the complete nosedive WSOF’s ratings have taken over their last few events.

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Rousimar Palhares Is World Series of Fighting’s Problem Now


(Palhares would later describe this moment as “the first time I’ve ever been on an airplane.” / Props: @ToquinhoMMA)

When it comes to picking up the UFC’s leftovers, World Series of Fighting and Bellator have displayed two very different approaches. While Bellator tends to sign the most washed-up UFC castoffs in order to make their home-grown fighters look impressive when they beat the UFC guys (or to create negative buzz around a surely-doomed PPV), World Series of Fighting tries to pick up the best UFC castoffs available, in the hopes that fighters like Anthony Johnson, Miguel Torres, Jon Fitch, and Yushin Okami are famous enough to draw fans on their own. Bellator would rather avoid having champions who weren’t good enough to keep their jobs with Zuffa. For World Series of Fighting, having a UFC veteran win a belt is the kind of promotional hook they’ve been working towards all along.

I mention all of that to help explain why World Series of Fighting has just signed Rousimar Palhares to a multi-fight contract. Yes, he’s been bounced out of the UFC for causing undue injury to his opponents, and any organization that signs him isn’t doing the sport any favors. On the other hand, Palhares is incredibly talented, a ferocious fight-finisher, a consistent generator of controversy and awesome GIFs — the kind of athlete that any B-level MMA league (besides Bellator) would kill to get their hands on.

Palhares is expected to make his WSOF debut in March, against an opponent to be named later. Jon Fitch has already pre-emptively turned down the fight, but matching Toquinho up against another American wrestler is a possibility. As MMAJunkie reports:

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Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Mike Kyle Is Simply Never Going to Happen


(Ian McCall’s broken hand is laughing at you right now, Mike.)

In the very brief history of The World Series of Fighting, Anthony Johnson vs. Mike Kyle has been booked on two separate occasions yet has never come to fruition. It probably never will.

The pair was first scheduled to collide in the main event of WSOF 5 last September, until “Rumble” was forced to pull out from the bout with an injury and replaced by Andrei Arlovski (who eventually defeated Kyle via unanimous decision). The pair was then rescheduled to throw down in the main event of WSOF 7 on December 7th. A press release sent out earlier this morning, however, informs us that the fight has once again been scrapped. Did I mention that it will likely never happen ever?

“I’m as disappointed as anyone that we’re forced to cancel this fight, but Mike just could not compete with his broken toe, and we simply could not find a suitable opponent for Anthony on such short notice,” World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo said.

“That said, we are fortunate that we still have a fantastic championship matchup between Georgi Karakhanyan and Lance Palmer that will now serve as our main event, and I think fans are still going to enjoy an incredible fight card.”

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