World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" took place last night (Sat., March 29, 2014) from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and despite the early criticism the promotion faced in its first few events, this fight card was actually quite impressive.
In the main event, former UFC bad boy Rousimar Palhares redeemed himself by submitting Steve Carl in the opening minute to capture the welterweight title, but raised a few eyebrows when it came time to break the hold (see for yourself here).
Carl stormed out and tried to clock Palhares with a right hand, but "Toquinho" scored the takedown right away and hung out in Carl's guard for a bit. Carl was looking to surprise Palhares with a transition using the rubber guard, and almost locked in the same triangle choke that submitted Josh Burkman, but the experienced Palhares got a hold of his leg and it was more or less over from there.
The Brazilian held onto the leg, captured the ankle, torqued it, and when referee Yves Lavigne touched him to stop the fight, he actually had to yank Palhares' hands away. It didn't look as bad as the other instances, but he's under the microscope due to past transgressions.
Palhares moves on to face Jon Fitch in July.
Marlon Moraes successfully secured his first major world title by beating Josh Rettinghouse for the inaugural WSOF bantamweight championship.
The Brazilian completely dominated Rettinghouse from start to finish, but he had to be wary in the first round, since "The Finisher" landed a takedown with punches on the inside when both fighters were on their feet.
Moraes did drop Rettinghouse in the first round, but instead of swarming him like he usually does to his opponents, he laid back and picked his shots. Moraes opted to attack Rettinghouse's legs -- a game plan that would ultimately win him the fight.
Time and time again, the new champ kicked mercilessly at Rettinghouse's legs, which left the latter crouching down in pain in the fourth round -- avoiding Moraes' ground and pound.
Oddly, the Florida-based bantamweight decided to play it safe, circling and throwing some lazy jabs, instead of going after the finish -- which looked to be there. Moraes then patiently waited for Rettinghouse to lunge forward and throw himself on the ground.
He did that quite often.
In the end, Moraes stayed away from any sort of damage, taking the fight on points and the belt, too.
It was a successful debut for former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami, who smothered Svetlozar Savov until he was able to secure the arm-triangle finish in the second round.
"Thunder" wasn't worried about Savov's wild striking, giving the Bulgarian some sense of hope. After Savov lunged forward, he made the mistake of clinching up against Okami, who took him down ferociously and began to suffocate Savov in mount.
It was much of the same story in the second round, with Okami getting the takedown early.
Savov was trying his hardest to survive, as he grabbed on to Okami and didn't event think about escaping or juggling out of position. Okami ditched the ground and pound, opting to slither into Savov's reach and locked in an arm-triangle choke. Savov tapped seconds later, proving he was no match for the resurgent middleweight who stuck to his bread and butter.
Josh Burkman was able to erase his title loss to Carl in his last outing by knocking out Tyler Stinson in devastating fashion.
"The People's Warrior" looked hesitant to engage at first, while Stinson was catching him every time he lunged forward and looked for a haymaker. "The Evolution" was doing well with his jab, while Burkman tried his luck at some flashy kicks.
It only took one mistake from Stinson, as he let go of his guard when Burkman landed a vicious right hand, which dropped the former Strikeforce and Bellator vet. While Stinson was clearly dazed on the mat, Burkman pressed forward and threw an uppercut -- leaving Stinson out cold on his back.
The first fight on the main card saw Johnny Nunez upset Ozzy Dugulubgov by split decision in a battle contested on the mat.
Nunez stormed out of the gate, landing a takedown after a few wild striking attempts. He dominated Dugulubgov on the mat for the majority of the first round, until the Russian was able to control his opponent in the clinching game against the fence.
Dugulubgov ended the first round strong by landing a takedown right before the horn.
He then spent the majority of the second round on Nunez's back after fighting off a D'Arce choke attempt from his foe in the opening seconds. Looking for the rear-naked choke, Dugulubgov wasn't letting go, but Nunez did a great job of defending and made his way back to his feet towards the end of the round.
In the third round, "Johnny Boy" brought his foe down early and hung out in side control while dishing out some weak punches and elbows. The New Jersey-based fighter caught him off guard when he scrambled out of an unfortunate position and took Nunez down -- securing his back quite easily. The Renzo Gracie-trained fighter couldn't lock it in properly though, and Nunez was awarded the split-decision win.
And lastly, if I can be as honest as possible, Todd Harris and Bas Rutten's commentary isn't the worst I've ever heard, but it's not good.
Not good at all.
Here are the entire WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" quick results:
Rousimar Palhares def. Steve Carl by submission (heel hook) at 1:09 of round one
Marlon Moraes def. Josh Rettinghouse by unanimous decision (50-44x3)
Yushin Okami def. Svetlozar Savov by submission (arm triangle) at 4:46 of round 2
Josh Burkman def. Tyler Stinson by knockout (strikes) at 2:15 of round one
Johnny Nunez def. Ozzy Dugulubgov via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Mike Corey def. Shane Kruchten via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:59 of round two
Bryson Hansen def. Sean Cantor via TKO (strikes) at 0:46 of round one
Chris Gruetzemacher def. John Gunderson via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27x2)
Brenson Hansen def. Boostayre Nefarios via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27x2)
Danny Davis Jr. def. Phil Dace via unanimous decision (30-27x3)
Jimmy Spicuzza def. Gil Guardado via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:14 of round one
For more on WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares," check out our live results and play-by-play coverage right here.