Looking for a break from mixed martial arts (MMA) this weekend?
Well, too bad.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) returns with WSOF 10: "Branch vs. Taylor," stacked with three title fights on the televised main card.
The event takes place this Saturday night (June 21, 2014) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in the main event, the inaugural middleweight championship will be on the line as former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) vets collide.
David Branch meets Jesse Taylor to determine the organization's first-ever champion at 185 pounds. "JT" is currently on a seven-fight winning streak, while Branch is undefeated in the promotion with three victories.
Georgi Karakhanyan defends his featherweight strap against Rick Glenn in the co-main event, after winning the belt in his last outing at WSOF 7.
Rounding out the championship bouts, Jessica Aguilar looks for her first WSOF strawweight title defense against well-traveled Japanese veteran Emi Fujino.
Also on the main card, Luiz Firmino takes on Tyson Griffin at lightweight, and Nick LoBosco battles Lance Palmer in a featherweight scrap.
Check out our complete WSOF 10: "Branch vs. Taylor" preview and predictions below:
WSOF 10 MAIN CARD PICKS:
Middleweight championship: David Branch (13-3) vs. Jesse Taylor (27-8)
Taylor's game plan should come as no surprise if you've witnessed his fights before. He's into smothering his opponents, breaking their will, and damaging his foes from dominant positions after landing takedowns without taking much damage himself.
Currently on a three-fight winning streak, Branch opts to work on the mat, too, getting the better of Paulo Filho at WSOF 2 and then tiring out Danillo Villefort with his grappling at WSOF 5.
That said, Branch isn't afraid to bring anyone down to the floor, yet it seems unfavorable if he plans on getting the better of "JT" in a wrestling match. Taylor not only has a decorated collegiate wrestling background, but he's also a Team Quest product -- which should speak for itself.
Taylor hasn't lost since 2012, mustering up seven victories, which includes four submission wins. If Branch can somehow keep Taylor interested in striking, it would be his best bet.
All in all, this should be a pretty ugly fight. We've got two guys who love to stick to their adversaries like glue, and nobody is out to make a statement since they're fighting for the inaugural middleweight title. It's simply about securing the strap, and I'm leaning towards Taylor to asphyxiate Branch on the ground.
Winner: Taylor by unanimous decision
Featherweight championship: Georgi Karakhanyan (23-3-1) vs. Rick Glenn (14-2-1)
You could argue Georgi Karakhanyan is the best featherweight in the world outside of UFC, despite being in the same pool as guys like Pat Curran and Daniel Straus. He's currently riding a nine-fight winning streak, which includes victories over the likes of Din Thomas, Hiroyuki Takaya, Micah Miller, and most recently, Lance Palmer.
Glenn is a Roufusport product who is a young, up-and-coming prospect and hasn't tasted defeat in his past 12 fights.
Besides wishing he could slap Conor McGregor in his face, "Insane" is doing some serious business in WSOF, submitting two opponents by rear-naked choke, and earning his second featherweight title in the sport.
It's hard to predict a win for "The Gladiator," since his opponent is a little more experienced when it comes to the big stage. Glenn has decent kickboxing and impressive ground work for his age, but it's definitely not going to trouble the current champion.
Karakhanyan has the speed, power in his hands, and a dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree that can trouble any fighter in the world.
This should be a rout, with Karakhanyan winning in impressive fashion yet again.
Winner: Karakhanyan by submission
Women's Strawweight championship: Jessica Aguilar (17-4) vs. Emi Fujino (13-7)
Before UFC implemented a weight class for women, fighters like Jessica Aguilar were already putting in work, competing for a number of different promotions while compiling 16 wins in her career.
Fujino is no stranger to tough fights, competing at a high level for the last 10 years. She's lost to Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki and Mizuki Inoue, hinting at her difficulty in overcoming favored and well-rounded opponents.
The Mexican-born American doesn't garnish enough credit for her prowess inside the cage, but competing under the WSOF banner has helped her case. The 32-year old Aguilar hasn't lost since a controversial split decision awarded to Zoila Frausto-Gurgel, and she's since overcome the likes of Fujii (twice), Carla Esparza, and Alida Gray at WSOF 8.
Aguilar may be content to box instead of grind, but she'll need to be wary of Fujino's go-for-broke style, since the Japanese banger has an established pattern of violently trading when she's on her feet.
Nevertheless, the incredibly tough Aguilar may be too much to handle for "The Kamikaze Angel," and we could witness "Jag" use her takedown skills and lock in a submission for the win.
Winner: Aguilar by submission
Lightweight: Luiz Firmino (17-6) vs. Tyson Griffin (16-7)
This lightweight scrap is quite interesting, because in all honesty, the result is a little unpredictable to determine.
Former five-time UFC "Fight of The Night" winner, Tyson Griffin, definitely has his back against the wall in this fight, only winning twice in the past four years. He's lost five out of seven bouts since then, and it's expected that WSOF is a tad more lenient when it comes to releasing fighters.
Still, winning is the most important aspect of the fight game, and the Sacramento native needs a victory since his career depends on it.
Luiz Firmino is a scrappy Brazilian veteran of the sport who is more or less confident to take the fight anywhere, seeing how he dominated both Jacob Volkmann and Luis Palomino on the mat in his most recent victories.
"Buscape" will look to test Griffin's chin, which has been put into question after suffering two knockout losses in his past four bouts. Griffin's takedown defense needs to be intact, and chances are he'll want to keep things standing since he's developed a love for trading.
If Firmino fails to land takedowns early, we're probably looking at a striking battle. It's hard to determine who has the edge there, but I'll lean towards Firmino to skim past the American in a narrow split-decision victory.
Winner: Firmino by split decision
Featherweight: Nick LoBosco (7-0) vs. Lance Palmer (7-1)
LoBosco is a promising youngster who is undefeated in seven fights, and he's going to have his hands full with a former WSOF title challenger across from him.
The former contender should have the edge on the bookies' cards, but LoBosco is nothing to take lightly. His knockout of Fabio Mello at WSOF 6 was as brutal as they come, and he's shown he can submit his foes on the independent scene, too.
It may come down to conditioning, and it's not like both combatants have faced a crop of tough fighters or seasoned veterans on their records. It could very well be Palmer who outmuscles LoBosco in grappling exchanges, but the latter is very erratic when it comes to striking.
He's willing to get hit while hitting, and Palmer isn't one to back down either.
But on the other hand, Palmer isn't going to sacrifice his own well being for entertainment purposes, since he's got way better wrestling than his opponent. I'll go with Palmer to return to winning ways, in a fight which may not excite onlookers once it unfolds in front of their eyes, despite the decent matchmaking.
Winner: Palmer by unanimous decision
WSOF 10 "Prelims" QUICK PICKS:
Heavyweight: Dave Huckaba (21-5) vs. Derrick Mehmen (17-5): Mehmen
Bantamweight: Timur Valiev (6-1) vs. Rudy Morales (3-0): Valiev
Light Heavyweight: Angel DeAnda (11-3) vs. Krasimir Mladenov (10-0): DeAnda
Women's Bantamweight: Marciea Allen (3-1) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith (2-0): Evans-Smith
Bantamweight: Brandon Hempleman (9-2) vs. Andrew Yates (7-1): Hempleman
Lightweight: Jimmy Spicuzza (3-0) vs. Justin Jaynes (3-1): Spicuzza
Lightweight: AJ Williams (0-0) vs. Tanner Cowan (0-0): Williams
That's a wrap.
Please share your predictions in the comments section below, and be sure to check back in with us on fight night for complete WSOF 10 results and live play-by-play for "Branch vs. Taylor."