Steve Carl became the first World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion tonight (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) when he defeated Josh Burkman via submission at WSOF 6 from BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida.
The surprising end came early in the fourth round of a closely contested back-and-forth affair.
Burkman appeared to get the better of Carl in the opening round of their mixed martial arts (MMA) contest. However, Carl won the second round in a big way after landing an early takedown and spending the better part of the frame peppering "People's Warrior" with ground-and-pound strikes while searching for attempted submissions.
The third round was razor close with both men trading the advantage, including a tight rear-naked choke attempt from Carl and a guillotine choke attempt from Burkman.
Then in the fourth round Carl locked Burkman in a triangle choke and got the submission early into the round.
After the fight, Carl revealed he had been hospitalized with torn muscles and a bulging disc in his back two weeks before the fight.
"Honestly I didn't think I could do it for a while," Carl revealed, "But, here we are, we did it."
In the co-main event, Marlon Moraes delivered a spectacular technical knockout of opponent Carson Beebe early in the first round by way of a stiff left hook. With the victory Moraes improves his WSOF record to 4-0 and his overall record to 12-4.
"Now I want to get my belt man," Moraes said after the fight. Given his current hot streak in WSOF, he would appear to be a shoe-in to contest for a Bantamweight title if the fledgling promotion opts to create one soon.
Elsewhere on the card, former top-ranked Welterweight Jon Fitch won a close-fought split decision over Marcelo Alfaya. The first round saw the notorious grinder Fitch get a taste of his own medicine, when Alfaya took him down and worked for a rear naked choke for the lion's share of the bout's opening frame.
The second was a far more even round with both men in control at times, but Fitch appeared to be in the driver's seat more often than Afayla.
Then in the third, Fitch took over on a gassed out Afayla and began landing strikes with increased frequency in a round that clearly belonged to the American Kickboxing Academy product.
Fitch improves his record over his past five fights to 2-3 with the victory over Afayla.
In the opening bout of the televised NBC Sports main card, Justin Gaethje defeated Dan Lauzon via second round TKO. The first round was a fast paced affair that saw Gaethje get the better of Lauzon, including landing a series of debilitating leg kicks.
Lauzon, younger brother of UFC Lightweight Joe Lauzon, began the second round in the southpaw stance in an attempt protect his injured right leg. Gaethje was unrelenting, however, and peppered Lauzon's left leg with kicks until "The Upgrade's" mobility was severely limited.
From there it was merely academic when Gaethje landed a right uppercut that felled Lauzon for the TKO victory. With the victory Gaethje improves his professional record to 10-0.
On the Internet-only "Prelims" portion of the card former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Bantamweight champion and ex-Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Miguel Torres lost to Pablo Alfonzo by way of first-round guillotine choke. With the loss, Torres falls to 3-6 since losing the WEC Bantamweight title to Brian Bowles back in Aug. 2009.
WSOF President Ray Seffo announced plans to co-promote with Pancrase CEO Masakazu Saka in Japan sometime in 2014. "It will be early next year for sure," said Seffo of the co-promotional alliance that will be billed as World Series of Fighting Japan.