By CagePotato contributer Andreas Hale
The World Series of Fighting held their first event at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, NV. Although the main card appeared to be stuffed with squash matches, it was a pretty good night of fights and I was there to get a good gauge on the atmosphere and if WSoF could become a player in the MMA world that Dana White rules with an iron fist.
First things first, it wasn’t the sellout they promised as word is that they only sold 1500 tickets and comped double that to ensure a nice fight atmosphere. Nevertheless, it was a good evening of fights that the crowd was receptive to. Oh yeah, ring girls. Lots of ring girls. They were like a platoon that switched in and out. I didn’t know ring girls needed breaks but whatever. It’s enough variety to keep fans engaged between rounds. I mean, Brittany Palmer and Arianny Celeste are great but six beats two every single gotdamn time. Right? But I digress…
Media sat on a stage that put us eye level with the cage and we could damn near touch it (or slap a cameraman) if we tried hard enough. We could actually feel some of the punches landed. Pretty good stuff. Oh yeah, and there were fights.
Andrei Arlovski def. Devin Cole via 1st round TKO (2:37)
In the main event, Arlovski walked out to some rap song where the chorus barked “Andrei Arlovski.” Cool or corny, I’m not sure. I’ll probably roll with corny. At any rate, all I was thinking about was “if he gets knocked out this great rap song will all be a waste.” Devin Cole’s biggest victory was against Mike Kyle back in 2006 so the chances he would beat Arlovski were slim to none.
Trying to rival Bruce Buffer, the announcer’s catch phrase heading into the main event was “Can you feel it!?!?” Nope, sure can’t. Not with that.
Anyways, Arlovski did exactly what was expected as he smashed an overhand right into Cole’s temple and sent him to the canvas. Arlovski followed him there and hammerfists met Cole’s face.
Anthony Johnson def. DJ Linderman via 1st round KO (3:58)
Yeah, we all knew that Anthony Johnson could separate your body from your spirit in one punch, but this was ri-goddamn-diculous. Johnson continued his crusade to destroy foes in the 205 division as he wrecked DJ Linderman with a right hook that sent him face first into the canvas. Here’s how it went…
Johnson and Linderman danced around a bit. Johnson kicked Linderman in the nuts real, real hard. Linderman got himself together and Johnson went after him. A poke in the eye had Johnson in trouble. Herb Dean didn’t see the eye poke and urged the blinking Johnsno to continue. Instead of Linderman being cordial, he decided to rush him. Hey, all is fair in war, right? Unfortunately, that just pissed Johnson off and he uncorked a right hook that landed with the impact of Thor’s Hammer and sent Linderman face planting to the canvas. Even referee Herb Dean looked down like “Damn!” before checking to see if Linderman was dead. Fortunately, he wasn’t.
Marlon Moraes def. Miguel Torres via split decision (30-27 & 29-28 for Moraes, 29-28 Torres)
Once upon a time, Miguel Torres was considered to be unbeatable. A punch by Brian Bowles in 2009 shattered his unbreakable image and it hasn’t been the same for him ever since (3-5 in his last 8 fights after going 37-1). A stint in the UFC was chopped down by Michael McDonald and a rape van tweet that he couldn’t shake. His debut in WSoF was thought to be a rebirth but it was a rather rude awakening that perhaps the game has passed him by. Torres looked out of sync and lost against Brazilian Marlon Moraes as his stalking style was disintegrated in the first minute of the fight when Moraes clocked him with a combination and blood trickled from his scalp. From there — with a bizarre mixture of boos and Ric Flair “woos” echoing through the crowd — Torres was out struck by Moraes as he proved to be the faster and stronger fighter. It wasn’t the most exciting fight but Moraes was so comfortable that he attempted a jumping roundhouse in the third round. You wouldn’t have done that to Torres five years ago. But today, it’s a different story. A late takedown during a relatively competitive third sealed his fate. Well, almost. Somehow, one judge inexplicably scored the fight 29-28 for Torres but the other two judges managed to get it right with scores of 30-27 and 29-28 for Moraes.
Tyrone Spong def. Travis Bartlett via 1st round TKO (3:15)
101-5-1 is Tyrone Spong’s kickboxing record before deciding to head to the world of MMA. Obviously, his debut was hyped. Poor Travis Bartlett stood in the way of Spong becoming 1-0. That didn’t last long. The kickboxing beast handed out a savage beating to Bartlett that will likely have light heavyweights crapping their pants. After nearly kicking Bartlett’s head into the audience on several occasions, Spong settled for a straight right hand that dropped his foe to the canvas in a “no mas” manner eerily reminiscent of how Forrest Griffin collapsed to the canvas against Anderson Silva. It was ugly, it was brutal, it was beautiful.
Elsewhere on the card…
Tyson “The Man Of” Steele stopped Gregor Gracie in the first round with a hulk smash TKO. Time of stoppage was 2:11
Brian Cobb ended Rony Torres two-year, 11-fight win streak with a split decision victory.
Steve Carl pulled a nifty transition from crucifix to rear naked choke to elicit the tapout at the 2:11 mark.
Josh Burkman was impressive as he earned a unanimous decision victory over Gerald Harris.
JZ Cavalcante bent TJ O Brien’s leg like a pretzel as he scored a first round submission in 63 seconds.
David Branch’s workman like performance earned him a unanimous decision victory over Dustin Jacoby.
Spotted In The Crowd: Jake Shields, Urijah Faber, Rashad Evans, Travis Browne, Pat Militich, Vitor Belfort, Martin Kampmann, Ian McCall, Jay Heiron, TJ Lavin, Josh Barnett, Rampage Jackson, Chael Sonnen, Joseph Benevidez & Frank Trigg