Right before Josh Burkman and Aaron Simpson locked horns last night in New Jersey at the World Series of Fighting event, the organization’s President Ray Sefo announced that the winner of the bout would get Jon Fitch in June for his promotional debut. Fitch is the former #1 UFC welterweight title contender that was recently released by the top promotion and snatched up by Sefo and WSOF.
Both Burkman and Simpson are also UFC veterans. Fitch was ring side last night in Jersey and appeared ready to make good on Sefo’s plan.
Burkman, however, may not be. After knocking Simpson out in the first round and stringing together his fourth straight win, Burkman balked at fighting Fitch next. Burkman believes that he has earned a shot at the organization’s vacant welterweight title and that Fitch has yet to.
Our man Oliver Chan is on the scene tonight at the Revel Casino, where he and photographer Rick Albrecht will be posting round-by-round updates, commentary, and visual aids after the jump, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest from the NBC Sports Network main card broadcast, and let your voices be heard in the comments section.
A member of World Series of Fighting‘s all-star crew of ring girls, Jessica Sutton is a New Jersey-bred model who will be returning to her home state for WSOF 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson this Saturday in Atlantic City. Now making her home in Las Vegas, the self-described “hustler” also works as a rental property owner, licensed hair-stylist, and cocktail waitress. Check out more of our favorite Jessica Sutton photos in the gallery below, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more!
MMAFighting passed along that news last night, adding the following: “On Wednesday, though, Filho confirmed that he was on a plane headed to New Jersey, so as of Wednesday night, the Filho vs. Branch fight is still on.” Oh, Filho confirmed it? Well, then. Crisis averted. I’m sure he’s not hiding in an underground bunker somewhere deep within the Amazon rainforest, surrounded by boxes and boxes of sleeveless flannel shirts.
We’ll keep you posted if we hear more. I think at this point, a blown weigh-in and distracted performance would be a best-case scenario. The smart money’s still on “no-show,” though.
(“Why yes, I did smell what The Rock was cooking. In fact, I went back for seconds. Why do you ask?”)
“Anthony Johnson is trying to shed the tarnish of being one of the best welterweights in the world…that couldn’t make the weight.”
In the opening moments of the extended preview for this weekend’s second World Series of Fighting event, we are informed of the above dilemma facing former UFC contender Anthony Johnson by a silky-voiced narrator — over a melancholic piano soundtrack of course, because emotions. And while this bit of info would usually serve as the precursor to an inspiring tale of Johnson’s welterweight redemption, it kind of loses its pop when you realize that Johnson is now fighting at upwards of 50 pounds heavier than he was in the UFC.
But it is Johnson’s horizontal expansion that takes center stage in the above preview, understandably yet somewhat still puzzlingly juxtaposed with Andrei Arlovski’s own tale of hopeful redemption. It’s a shame that Dana White has already publicly written off the fight as “not legit,” or the (implied) idea that we could see “The Pitbull” back in the UFC would probably hold a lot more water in the above preview. Ditto for the idea that Arlovski could do so by beating up a former welterweight who has been fighting at light heavyweight for less than a year now. Then again, if you’re like Sherdog’s Jordan Breen, who is also featured in the video, you probably think “weight classes” and “champions” of said “weight classes” are meaningless restrictions meant for little more than depriving MMA fans for the fights they truly want to see (SUPER HLUK TOURNEY NEVER DIE!).
Featuring some highlights of Johnson and Arlovski crushing their respective cans at WSoF 1, as well as the aforementioned interviews with everyone from Eddie Alvarez to renowned trainer Mike Winkeljohn, check out an extended preview of WSoF 2 after the jump, along with a full rundown of the card.
(Anthony Johnson, back in his “How in the actual f*ck does that guy make 170??” days.)
After going 3-0 as light-heavyweight last year — with no weigh-in mishaps whatsoever — ever-expanding slugger Anthony Johnson is making his next jump up the scale. As first reported by MMA Junkie, the former UFC welterweight contender is slated to face former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski at heavyweight in the main event of World Series of Fighting 2, which goes down Saturday, March 23rd, at Revel Resorts & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Both men scored easy first-round knockouts at WSOF’s debut event in November, so hell, why not make ‘em fight each other? Though “Rumble” won’t have a size-advantage to rely on this time, his powerful fists could spell doom for Arlovski’s fuzzy chin.
But that’s not even the biggest WSOF-related news we have to share. According to a press release distributed today, WSOF 2 will mark the first live event in a new three-year broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Network, which previously aired the promotion’s first card. Here’s the important stuff:
The agreement calls for a minimum of six live events annually on the national television platform that reaches over 80 million homes. Additionally, later this year, NBCSports.com will live stream World Series of Fighting events via TV Everywhere.
We’ve got a special treat for you today, Taters – not one but two dope short video documentaries that take us behind the scenes of some of the biggest recent MMA events. UFC President Dana White has released his latest vlog (above) to promote this Saturday’s event in Macao.
The vlog has footage from last month’s UFC in Minneapolis as well as the UFC in Rio and has some compelling stuff, showing Yves Edwards waiting painstakingly backstage to hear if he would get to fight the incarcerated Jeremy Stephens or not. It also shows him getting the bad news broken to him by White personally.
The footage from the Rio event shows Anderson Silva warming up by doing crazy spinning kicks back stage as well as Stephan Bonnar during intense moments of contemplation as he warmed up for perhaps the last time of his roided storied career.
“I thought about that fight too, I’d take it if they offered it to me. I was actually thinking about it today. I was thinking about it today whenever I watched the fights, I watched the whole card today, and I was like it would be crazy if I got to fight Andrei Arlovski…If it happened, I would accept it. Andrei’s a great athlete. I remember when he won the title, I remember when he lost the title, I’ve followed his career. He’s a great fighter, a real athlete, a real fighter too, so it would be an honor to fight him. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. That’s just something that popped in my head this morning, what if it did happen? That would be crazy.”
That would indeed be crazy — especially considering that AJ was competing successfully at 170 pounds as recently as October 2011. Then again, their size difference isn’t much of a difference at all. Arlovski was also victorious in his World Series of Fighting appearance, TKO’ing Devin Cole in the first round of the show’s main event. Arlovski has now gone four fights without suffering a scaryconcussion, which is as impressive an accomplishment as anything else that happened this weekend. Check out the Arlovski vs. Cole fight after the jump, and tell us who you think would win the hypothetical moneyweight matchup between Rumble and the Pitbull.
“My management paid HOW MANY Pitbull bucks for this song?! Paulo Filho won’t be impressed.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released fighter salaries for the inaugural World Series of Fighting event, held last Saturday night in Las Vegas. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski made the most money that evening, bringing home $60,000 for crushing Devin Cole in the main event. While we’re all glad to see Arlovski get paid, hopefully he spends some money on better entrance music; having some rapper bark your name is something that an amateur on the undercard of a local show would do to get people to notice him (assuming none of his friends knew how to shave stars into his hair, of course), not something a former UFC champion should do to keep people interested in his career. Just saying, it was pretty cheesy.
Taking home the second-largest purse of the evening was Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who earned $55,000 for his highlight reel knockout against D.J. Linderman. Since moving up to a weight class that he should reasonably be fighting at, Anthony Johnson has looked pretty impressive. It’s a shame that he sacrificed so much of his career – not to even mention his health – cutting to welterweight, but at twenty-eight years old it’s by no means over for the UFC veteran.
Keep in mind that none of these salaries include any undisclosed bonuses or end of the night bonuses that World Series of Fighting may have given out. Also, even though this promotion is riding a lot of hype and had recognizable talent throughout the card, keep in mind that WSoF is a brand new promotion that just put on its first event. Basically, no one made Anderson Silva money, is what I’m trying to say: