World Series of Fighting 2 Preview and Predictions
The up-and-coming World Series of Fighting promotion is gunning for the No. 2 spot in the industry, as they return this weekend with a stacked card of action.
Aided by a TV deal with NBC sports and boasting a main event between Andrei Arlovski and Anthony Johnson, World Series of Fighting is making an aggressive run at the top. Add to that the fact that they have bolstered the card with a number of top non-UFC talents and prospects, and you have yourself a legitimate, top MMA organization.
Here is a preview and prediction of the card this weekend.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Here is a quick look at the preliminary card for World Series of Fighting 2:
Kris McCray vs. Danillo Villefort
UFC veterans square off in the welterweight division, when Kris McCray and Danillo Villefort meet. McCray went 0-3 against solid competition in the UFC, but has won all-but-one since his departure. Villefort is an experienced grappler with good submission skills. McCray struggled against submission specialist Carlos Eduardo Rocha in the UFC, so expect Villefort to acquire a tapout here.
Igor Gracie vs. Richard Patishnock
Igor Gracie comes from the famous family for which his last name bears. Richard Patishnock has not won a fight against an opponent above .500. Gracie should be able to get things going early, securing a takedown and tapping out the overmatched Patishnock early in the fight. The longer the fight goes, the more it favors Patishnock, as Gracie has a questionable gas tank.
Cameron Dollar vs. Waylon Lowe
An interesting matchup flies under the radar here, as UFC veterans Cameron Dollar and Waylon Lowe meet to move up the ladder in World Series of Fighting. Dollar is a solid submission fighter who has seen success since leaving the UFC. Waylon Lowe is a wrestling-heavy fighter that uses his takedowns and ground-and-pound to stifle opponents. Lowe's wrestling should prevail here en route to a decision.
Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Chris Wade
Two prospects take center stage here in a fight that will give casual fans an introduction to Ozzy Dugulubgov and Chris Wade. Wade is undefeated with most of his fights coming by decision. Ozzy has been an exciting fighter thus far in his career and could give Wade fits throughout. I will go with Wade and his proven ability to outlast opponents for 15 minutes.
Rick Glenn vs. Alexandre Pimentel
Two featherweight prospects who I am very high on meet in the first fight of the entire night, as Roufusport's Rick Glenn meets top Brazilian prospect Alexandre Pimentel. Glenn is known for his striking, but also has a solid ground game to compliment it. Pimentel is going to want to grapple with Glenn, as staying on the feet will lead to an end of his perfect record. Glenn will defend takedowns and pressure from Pimentel to outpoint him on the feet and grab the judge's approval.
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The main card opens with Brazilian veteran Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante taking on regional standout Justin Gaethje.
JZ is a well-respected fighter that has fought all over the world in his career. Once considered a top lightweight, JZ has struggled to put together back-to-back wins in recent times.
He is a solid submission fighter that is comfortable throwing hands as well. However, his advantage here would put Gaethje on his back and work the top position for a possible submission.
Gaethje is undefeated, but has not taken on anybody as experienced and dangerous as JZ. He is a pretty well-rounded guy, but he will need to use those all-around skills to stay off his back.
I expect JZ to keep his wits about him here and fight his fight. He will secure a trip and outwork Gaethje from top position. He may not get a finish, but he will turn some heads with a good performance.
Prediction: Cavalcante def. Gaethje via decision
Dave Branch vs. Paulo Filho
Middleweights collide in an interesting matchup, as UFC veteran Dave Branch meets up with former WEC champion Paulo Filho.
Filho recently came out of retirement in devastating fashion, as the once-troubled Brazilian quickly dispatched of Murilo Rua in under a minute. Filho smashed the brother of "Shogun" with nasty strikes to earn the stoppage.
Filho is a submission fighter first-and-foremost. However, he has never been one to shy away from throwing hands, which has sometimes led to his downfall.
Branch is also a jiu-jitsu specialist that is big and strong physically. He may try to bully Filho, but must be aware of the power he possesses in his strikes, even if it is not the most technical.
Branch is probably best remembered for being knocked out by a slam against Gerald Harris. The UFC veteran saw some success in the Octagon, but ultimately was cut after a loss.
Filho should be the more well-rounded individual here. He will try to knock Branch's head off, but Branch is too skilled to let that happen, especially early.
The Brazilian earns his second straight win here via decision.
Prediction: Filho def. Branch via decision
Josh Burkman vs. Aaron Simpson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Another pair of UFC veterans square off here, as recently released Aaron Simpson battles a man with similar skills in Josh Burkman.
Simpson is a wrestler by trade, but has picked up the art of striking along the way. He has power in his hands, as seen in his recent outings where he has peppered opponents with hard punches.
If he does want the takedown, it may be tough, as Burkman is experienced and a wrestler himself.
Burkman's last outing saw him defeat another tough wrestler in the form of Gerald Harris. He is a grinder that isn't afraid to strike, but would rather clinch, takedown, and punish opponents from the top.
This is going to be a battle of wills. In an upset, Burkman takes a narrow decision and possibly get Jon Fitch in his next fight.
Prediction: Burkman def. Simpson via decision
Marlon Moraes vs. Tyson Nam
The co-main event sees two top bantamweights outside the UFC meet up when Tyson Nam fights Marlon Moraes in a critical showdown.
Tyson Nam gained popularity by brutally and shockingly knocking out Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas in Brazil last year. That win instantaneously put his name on the map, and World Series of Fighting quickly jumped to sign him.
Although he displayed power in his hands in that fight, Nam is also a good wrestler and trains with Team Quest. That may be his best option in this fight, as Marlon Moraes is a nasty striker.
Moraes similarly got on the map recently with a surprise upset of Miguel Torres in the last World Series of Fighting card. Moraes used nasty kicks and punches to outpoint the UFC veteran, thus earning him high regard in the MMA community.
If Nam stands with Moraes, he is in trouble. If he incorporates an ugly game plan that includes wrestling, he should get the nod here.
I will go with the former.
Prediction: Moraes def. Nam via decision or late TKO stoppage
Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson
Gary M. Prior/Getty Images
The main event promises to be a slugfest as former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski meets fellow UFC veteran Anthony Johnson.
Johnson has been like Kenny Florian when it comes to weight divisions, except he keeps moving up. Johnson went from fighting at welterweight (which was a tough cut), to middleweight (which was a failure), to light heavyweight and now to heavyweight. Each time, has power has transferred, which makes this fight even more interesting.
Johnson has wrestling to fall back on, but he is a knockout artist first and foremost. He will look to utilize his speed and athleticism to run circles around Arlovski and hopefully dent his chin with a haymaker from hell.
Arlovski has been on a roll since his departure from Strikeforce. He has yet to be defeated since that exit in bouts against foes such as Devin Cole and Tim Sylvia.
Arlovski's goal is to use his top-notch kickboxing skills to headhunt on Johnson. His main concern is his chin, which has dwindled over his many years of hard-contact combat competition.
It's hard to bet against a proven heavyweight like Arlovski, but Johnson has the uncanny power to knock heads off. It should be interesting to say the least.
Prediction: Johnson def. Arlovski via knockout