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World Series of Fighting 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson — The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Special thanks to Oliver Chan and photographer Rick Albrecht for the photos. 

If there’s one thing that I took away from last night’s World Series of Fighting card, it was that even a high profile promotion that puts on a night of entertaining fights is going to encounter some hiccups during its second event.  Join us as we relive the highs and lows from WSoF 2.

The Good:

Anthony Johnson looked legitimate at heavyweight: Heading into last night’s main event, a lot was riding on Anthony “Rumble” Johnson actually fighting like a true heavyweight and not just looking like one. With all of the focus from fans and pundits alike on the “former UFC welterweight” issue, a poor showing from Johnson could have caused many fans to dismiss WSoF as an organization of squash matches and freak show fights. Fortunately for the organization, last night Rumble proved that his fight against Andrei Arlovski didn’t deserve freak show status. Johnson was too quick for Arlovski early on, and almost finished the fight before the end of the first round. He may have gassed out early – that’ll happen when you take a knee to the juevos during your first fight as a heavyweight – but at least he demonstrated that he’s capable of being a competent heavyweight if Ray Sefo needs him to be one again.

Marlon Moraes Proves his Win Over Miguel Torres Wasn’t a Fluke: Marlon Moraes vs. Tyson Nam was a battle between two fighters that many fans aren’t familiar with, but should be. Just 2:35 into the first round, “the guy who beat Torres” finished ”the guy who beat Bellator’s champion“ with a devastating head kick. Moraes vs. Nam proved to be an entertaining co-main event that established Moraes as a legitimate bantamweight contender. As an added bonus for WSoF, Marlon Moraes is essentially a “home grown” prospect, in the sense that unlike Arlovski, Torres, Fitch and Johnson, Moraes isn’t already known for his previous work in a different major promotion. It’ll be interesting to see who the promotion will find to challenge Moraes next.

Josh Burkman’s Knockout Over Aaron Simpson: There may not have been a lot of action leading up to it, but Burkman’s knee to Simpson’s head was a great finish. Burkman now improves to 7-1 since being released from the UFC in 2008, and a rematch against Jon Fitch appears to be inevitable.

The Bad:

Where Does Andrei Arlovski Go From Here? Arlovski may be 4-1 with one no contest in his last six fights, but I think it’s safe to say that last night’s performance proved that his days as anything more than a Sylvia-esque sideshow are limited. I hate to sound be so negative, but let’s face it: Arlovski is a mid-level heavyweight at this point of his career. An accomplished one who can still beat the not-quite-readies and never-weres of the division, but one nonetheless. His loss to Anthony Johnson demonstrated that his days as a major organization’s champion are clearly behind him. Even when he was awarded the final round, it felt like Arlovski won it because Johnson was too tired to do so himself. So now the question is, what does WSoF do with him? Do they continue to pay him former heavyweight champion money to crush cans? Do they sacrifice him to a promising upstart? Or do they just throw dignity to the wind and bring in Tim Sylvia?

Cage-Gate: Believe it or not, up until two hours before the preliminary fights, there was the possibility that there wouldn’t be a World Series of Fighting II. Up until then, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board had issues with the corner pads and canvas WSoF initially planned on using in the cage and refused to approve it for competition. You can read more details on the almost-catastrophe here, and feel relieved that your Saturday night was not ruined by sloppy event planning. Of course, that wasn’t the only case of minor league shenanigans to come from the event…

The Ugly:

Sweet Gloves, Bro. I Bet You Trane UFC:

Now that’s some minor league, Mickey Mouse bullshit. You would think that someone at World Series of Fighting – or NBC, for that matter – would have bought the guy a different pair of gloves instead of putting their faith in a strip of tape.

Whatever Paulo Filho Did for Three Rounds: There are two very good reasons no other semi-legitimate promotion on the planet wants anything to do with Paulo Filho. For starters, despite having all of the necessary skills to be a great fighter, Filho’s life is such a tragic whirlwind of addictioninsanity and unreliability that he’s a headache for promoters. If that doesn’t scare you away from signing him, then know that he couldn’t give less of a fuck about fighting, even when he’s locked in a cage with someone trying to hurt him. When he unretired (*sigh*) to kick Ninja Rua’s ass one last time, World Series of Fighting apparently saw something that led them to believe that he could be placed on the main card of WSoF 2 without making a mockery out of the organization. Predictably, if the pre-fight panic-attack wasn’t enough to make Sefo and co. regret their decision, the three rounds of bullshit against Dave Branch probably was. The saddest part here is that Branch looked great – or at least I think he did - but it’s impossible to put too much stock in a victory over a guy who doesn’t want to even be in the cage.

JZ Calvalcante’s Face After His Fight Against Justin Gaethje:

Entering the bout, the 7-0 Justin Gaethje showed a lot of promise, but like most young up-and-comers, held zero notable victories to his name. Well, unless you count his unnecessarily sad knockout over the troubled Drew Fickett, in which case, we might not have the same definition of “notable.” Gaethje kicked off the main card by butchering JZ Calvalcante’s face on the way to a doctor’s stoppage. Early stoppage? I don’t think a cut above the eye is something to take lightly, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to a rematch, either.



Cagepotato Comments

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g-money- March 25, 2013 at 6:20 am
There were no replays between rounds either, it seemed Bas lost some of his commenting skills too, still love him though
2Dogs- March 25, 2013 at 3:12 am
@danomite thanks for the link to the fight bud.
Ya, you had to give the fight to Johnson purely for the fact that Arlovski was rocked at the bell...If, the fight went 5 rounds Arlovski wouldve taken it I think. I think Arlovski is great, I have always liked him, Hes fought some good fighters and he always shows up to fight. My favorite Arlovski fight was definately he episode of bully beatdown...
Pen Fifteen- March 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm
How about instead of placing the burden on the person who was fouled, why not start taking points away from people for throwing groin strikes? I guarantee that would put the ixnay on knees to the balls in a real hurry. There are plenty of adherents to the "if you ain't cheatin you ain't tryin" school of fight ethics, but suggesting some people are "training" themselves to fish for phantom groin shots is absurd.
BrianMMA- March 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm
I'm surprised nobody is talking about how terrible the announcing was. Bas was fine but the Schmo next to him was terrible. Eric Fitch... seriously?
danomite- March 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm
Ok, I'm getting tired of talking about testicles so this is the last I'll say about it: here's the video of the fight on youtube

skip to the 9 minute mark to see what is the softest knee to the balls I have ever seen. Then keep watching as they show a replay. Two things to notice in the replay: First, the knee hits rumble's thigh and it's actually arlovski's thigh that hits the cup. Secondly, watch rumble in the lower right PIP as he is sitting on the ground sucking wind. Now tell me that wasn't a case of someone using a groin shot as an opportunity to catch their breath. That groin shot totally changed the momentum in that round. Arlovski was roughing him up on the feet before that, and then right after the restart, rumble came in with a big flurry of punches looking much fresher and more explosive. Now it's entirely possible that his nuts got pinched between cup and thigh, or maybe it was a harder shot than it looked on tv, but to me it looked like a guy who was gaming the system.

And now, just for fun here's a guy taking a kick to the pills from Erik Koch:
WampaStompa- March 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm
Moraes looked legit, he's going to be one of the WSOF's biggest stars.
The12ozCurls- March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm
Ya! Get a new cup or a smaller dick & balls!
danomite- March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm
I've been hit plenty of times in the nuts wearing a cup. There weren't too many times where I actually had to stop what I was doing and wait until the pain went away. You want an example of what I'm talking about? Koscheck vs. GSP. GSP hits koscheck(a known injury faker,at this point) in the nuts with a lowkick, and koscheck grabs his nuts in pain and tries to get the ref's attention. The ref doesn't see it. GSP waves his finger at him, as if to say "you aren't getting away with it this time" and keeps attacking. When koscheck realizes they aren't going to call a time-out he suddenly feels much better and keeps fighting. IT'S AMAZING! he went from excruciating pain to perfectly fine in less than a second.
On a personal note, if your cup isn't protecting your balls any better than you make it sound, you probably should get a better cup.
nick diaz and the dub sack- March 25, 2013 at 8:14 am
Hughes was a legendary faker of nut shots too. In his 2nd fight with GSP, when Hughes started to get worked, he fell to an inside low kick and claimed he got nut shot. He pulled that BS twice. Going back and watching Hughes' career you'd be surprised how much more susceptible he was to getting hit in the nuts than anyone else.
Pen Fifteen- March 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm
Good point danomite, anyone who has worn a cup knows that there is no way a full power knee directly to the nuts could hurt. My nut cup even came with a lifetime testicle replacement warranty in case of cup failure.
danomite- March 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm
They say chins don't get better over time, but damnit it sure looked that way with Arlovski. He took a bunch of shots in that first round that would have ended the fight a couple years ago. Yeah, he was probably saved by the bell, but he was still conscious after taking a shot so hard it broke his jaw. I even felt like he won the last two rounds, but was kinda glad johnson got the win. He definitely did more damage.
I'm also getting real sick of seeing guys whine and cry foul after every single shot to the groin. Not all groin shots hurt so much that they require a time-out. They are wearing cups, after all. I think these guys are starting to train themselves to grab their junk and cry foul every time they feel any contact to the cup, because it will give them a chance to catch their breath and they know the replay will show contact, so they won't be accused of faking it.