World Series of Fighting 20 came live on NBCSN from Luddyard, Connecticut (basically the back yard of Nick Newell). The action wasn’t great, and the main-event was destined for a letdown after Ronnie Markes pullled out from dehydration. A number of important events happened though so here’s a rundown of the action though and what you need to take away from it.
It was a win for Ozzy but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Montoya, plucked from the preliminaries to the main card, gave him a good tussle before getting his forearm fractured. In terms of action provided and skill, Montoya proved that he belongs on the main card. Look for him to be a fixture on the main card after he heals.
I guess all the criminals in Seattle have to do to stop Phoenix Jones is just take him down #WSOF20
— Pressley Nietering (@PressMe) April 11, 2015
Did you hear that sound? It’s the sound of Rey Sefo and the rest of the WSOF executives crying over the superhero, Ben Foder (aka Phoenix Jones), losing in convincing fashion. Foder, who has received national exposure for his superheroing exploits, was supposed to be the next big thing with Walo just being a steppingstone to a bigger fight, possibly against Jon Fitch.
Instead, Walo won. To make matters worse, Walo wasn’t even that good. He was sloppy with his takedowns, often not planting his feet before lunging. His striking game was embarassing (what little was seen of it) as he consistently telegraphed punches and did not throw combinations. He might have earned himself a contract with a win but he won’t be able to win against top competition.
The big loser in this fight is the WSOF. The shine wore off on one of their stars and they did not find a gem in the process. If Fedor can find some semblance of a takedown defense, he’ll be a decent fighter. Until then, he’s more name than game.
What a fight! For all the dashed hopes Fedor put all the WSOF fans through, Nick Newell, one of the WSOF’s most bankable and dependable stars, and Joe Condon made up for it.
Condon is who is he is at this point in his career. The Bellator veteran isn’t going to get better but he won’t be dumb in a fight. He’s technically sound while not explosive. The angles on his takedowns and striking are proficient but not powerful. He’s a great find for quality depth on the WSOF roster and provided a show tonight.
Newell proved that, aside from Gaethje and Luis Palomino, he’s the class of the lightweight division. When they (inevitably) move on to the UFC, Newell can step in as champion. He proved tonight that he is still effective after a layover following the time Gaethje “exposed” him in a closer-than-it-looked-live match.
Sometimes, fighters that were on the preliminaries should stay on the prelimaries. McElligott proved he wasn’t ready for primetime, showing almost absolutely zero skills. He was just putrid from stand-up to ground. Even his basic fighting was messed-up; his hands were too wide and his shoulders not square enough. He doesn’t have much of a future in the WSOF, or any other professional MMA promotion for that matter.
The submission Branch used to put McElligott away was a thing of beauty. “Shoulders of Justice” are criminally underused in MMA so kudos to Branch for seizing the opportunity. He also deserves credit for putting his opponent out of the audience’s misery.
As far as the victor goes, he answered the question of if the weight change would affect him. Here’s a clue: it didn’t. He looks at home in the 205-lbs divison and should coast to his second title. Sorry, Ted Holder. Branch just looks like the better fighter (leaving the question, “How good of a fighter is Thiago Silva really?”)
*NBCSN has some work to do: Technical difficulties (which they had during the Fedor/Walo fight) are understandble but replaying a fight in its entirety is a bizarre producing decision. Really?!?!? The Mocco/Coutinho fight was boring enough the first time. The 2nd time around, it was practically unwatchable (it did allow me to catch up on my writing though). The WSOF may have lost a number of fans to the Bellator telecast on at the same time during this replay.
*Renzo Gracie is not the answer: Unless the question is “what announcer would make fans miss Bas Rutten?”. Gracie’s accent was worse than Rutten’s usually is (although Rutten does have worse moments). He hyped every fight about the same amount, rendering his hyperbole worthless. His worst offense was declaring the Dugublagov/Montota fight, if it had continued, a “classic”.
He lacked Rutten’s enthusiasm and charisma for fighting. His “personal” ancedotes were menial stories I could have connjured up about anyone and didn’t explain anything about Branch, a huge mystery figure for someone so prominant in the organization. He didn’t get excited about big moments in fight and I couldn’t hear his color commentary due to him not speaking in the microphone. Basically, Gracie was a big ol’ unintelligible 12-pack of nothin’.
Bring back Bas! And Rey Sefo! Sefo, at the very least, spoke into the microphone and was cohereant. It’s a start.
*Predictions: I went 2-2 on my predictions. Not great but not bad, just like the night’s action.
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