World Series of Fighting: The Real Winners and Losers
The World Series of Fighting began their foray into the world of promotion on Saturday night with a four-fight main card on NBC Sports Network.
The main event of the evening saw former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski defeat Devin Cole via a first round technical knockout.
It was a card littered with UFC and Strikeforce veterans and several interesting match-ups—mostly on the undercard.
But who really came out on top Saturday night? Here are the winners and losers from the first ever World Series of Fighting event.
Winners: Undercard Veterans
JZ Calvalcante, Josh Burkman, David Branch, and Brian Cobb all picked up needed victories.
Calvalcante finished T.J. O'Brien in just over a minute with an achilles lock, his first victory of 2012 in three fights.
The other three veterans took home decision victories. Cobb has now won five of his last six fights, Branch, three of his last four, and Burkman moved to 3-0 in 2012.
While each fighter may not jump back inside the UFC's Octagon right away, it was important to get a win at World Series of Fighting. It also keeps their names elevated for the other promotions across the globe.
Loser: Gregor Gracie
Gregor Gracie was seeking to move his overall MMA record to 8-2 and put another Gracie name out there in the growing landscape of MMA. He failed.
Tyson Steele won by TKO in the first round.
The Gracie name may still carry some weight to it, but it is nowhere near what it once was. The sport of MMA has evolved past it.
If Gracie wanted to put the name back out, he needed to finish Steele impressively. Not only did he not accomplish that, but he lost. In the first round.
The Gracie name makes us feel nostalgic, but does nothing for anyone in the current state of MMA.
Winner: Tyron Spong
Tyron Spong made his MMA debut in impressive fashion.
Travis Bartlett was essentially a lamb being led to slaughter. Spong stayed composed and picked his shots until he knocked the outmatched opponent out.
Spong, a member of the Blackzilians, will be one of the top prospects to watch in the light heavyweight division. Under the guidance of his team we could see him blossom in to a superb fighter, but only time will tell.
The first victory is out of the way for Spong. Hopefully his next contest will push him more so that we can see him grow as a mixed martial artist.
Winner: Marlon Moraes
Marlon Moraes was largely an unknown entering his fight against Miguel Torres. He was seen by most as an easy win for the former WEC champion.
Moraes upset Torres and put himself out there as another young bantamweight to watch.
The 24-year-old peppered Torres with a variety of strikes over the course of 15 minutes and came away with a split decision victory. Anytime an unknown can upset a former champion on television it is a big victory for them.
It is Moraes' third straight victory and should position him for an even bigger fight in his next outing.
Loser: Miguel Torres
Miguel Torres was one of the first big signings for World Series of Fighting, and this was his opportunity to recapture some of his old magic. It is too bad for Torres that Moraes had other plans on Saturday night.
Moraes' performance showcased that the sport has begun passing Torres by. He is no longer getting by with mistakes he made in the past, and the young athletes in the sport are able to effectively break him down en route to victories.
The fight proved that Torres is no longer close to the top of the sport. Unless major changes happen to his game, it is unlikely he ever recreates the success he once had. The sport has passed him by.
Winner: Anthony Johnson
In Anthony Johnson's quest to rejoin the UFC roster he added another finish to his resume. He is now 3-0 at light heavyweight.
The knockout was comical.
Johnson appeared to take a finger to the eye, but Herb Dean told the fighters to keep fighting. D.J. Linderman came in and promptly got knocked unconscious.
Johnson is making an excellent case to Joe Silva and Dana White for bringing him back to the company. We will have to wait and see if he has done enough or if he needs another impressive performance outside the Octagon.
This was another step in the right direction.
Losers: Travis Bartlett & D.J. Linderman
It is not worth picking up a small check to get embarrassed on television. That is exactly what happened to Travis Bartlett and D.J. Linderman.
Bartlett was a non-factor against Tyron Spong. A supposed boxer offered nothing against an elite kickboxer. It was a countdown until Spong unleashed violence upon his body.
Linderman faceplanted from being knocked out. The image will remain with fans from this point out. When they think of Linderman, they'll think of Johnson's short punch and Linderman going down. Not a great way to be remembered.
Is it really worth such a small paycheck to be thrown to the lions? No.
Losers: World Series of Fighting, the Audience, and the Fans
The World Series of Fighting event was OK overall, but they suffered their own failures.
After airing some of the undercard fights, the World Series of Fighting stopped the stream before the final two preliminary fights. Why? I have no idea. The stream did return, but to re-air some of the earlier fights.
That decision made the fans the losers. Why deprive fans the opportunity to see two more fights when they had already aired four fights? The fans lost out, and it is World Series of Fighting's fault.
Lastly, the Las Vegas crowd was poor. Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter sums it up best:
You stay classy, local Vegas fight crowd. Way different than UFC crowds .
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) November 4, 2012
When the World Series of Fighting returns in 2013 we can hope that they air all of the preliminary bouts instead of a select few, and that the live crowd is much better.