The fight with the highest curiosity factor last night (March 23, 2013) might not have been the main event but a middleweight main card match-up featuring former WEC 185-pound champion Paulo Filho and UFC veteran David Branch on the World Series of Fighting II main card in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Filho had not competed on American soil ever since his final WEC fight, a decision loss to Chael Sonnen which left all sorts of questions about his mental state after failing to make weight as the promotion's champion and then acting strangely during the bout.
Despite some drama in Brazil, Filho made it to Atlantic City and weighed in successfully, but after seeing his performance last night, he'd have been better off not getting on that plane at all.
Filho was in the fight against Branch for about 10 seconds, winging some really heavy punches at the start of the bout before being taken down and just pounded on by Branch with shots to the body and head for nearly five straight minutes.
The second round was even more dominant as Branch gained confidence, putting Filho in a crucifix and actually counting out the number of consecutive unanswered blows he landed. The Renzo Gracie black belt actually got to 20 before trying to pass to an even more dominant position.
Branch dominated this fight both standing and on the ground, scoring with straight strikes on the feet and then closing the distance with his improving muay thai before dumping the Brazilian on the canvas and going back to work with his ground and pound.
The only disappointing part about Branch's dominance was his failure to score a finish against Filho, but he was still able to secure an extremely one-sided unanimous decision victory when the 15 minutes were up.
For Paulo Filho, this was just downright awful. The only redeeming quality of this performance was that he didn't tap out to strikes or completely give up. Other than that, he was straight up crushed from start to finish. If you watched this fight as a new fan of MMA, you would probably be absolutely floored to learn that he was once considered the second best middleweight in the world next to Anderson Silva. He was wild and reckless on the feet, failing to land any strikes of significant and he gave up extremely easy takedowns which led to receiving a beating on the canvas. This was just bad on so many levels.
Hopefully WSOF learns their lesson and doesn't invite him back because Filho didn't deserve to compete on the main card, preliminary card or even an untelevised dark match last night.
For David Branch, the only gripe was his inability to secure a finish in a fight he was completely dominating. His striking was on point, looking better than ever and he was aggressive not only with his takedowns but with his ground and pound, really taking what Filho was giving him and going after the body before mixing it up to the head and passing guard to some dominant positions. This was a very solid performance from a veteran who's looked pretty good in all his bouts since his UFC release.
Next up for Branch should be Danillo Villefort, who won an absolute war on the preliminary card against Kris McCray and deserves a big fight with more exposure. That would be a pretty fun scrap and it would be a lot more competitive than this bout ended up being.