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WSOF 16 predictions, preview for 'Palhares vs Fitch' main card on NBC Sports

It's not UFC, but World Series of Fighting (WSOF) will certainly do, too.

Rousimar Palhares defends his WSOF title Saturday night in Sacramento.
Rousimar Palhares defends his WSOF title Saturday night in Sacramento.
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 16: "Palhares vs. Fitch" takes place this Saturday night (Dec. 13, 2014) at McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, California. It's the final event of the year for WSOF and its ending 2014 with a bang -- a five-fight main card on NBC Sports that features two title defenses.

WSOF needs to bring all guns to bear anyway since its going head-to-head with UFC on FOX 13: "Dos Santos vs. Miocic" the same night. The main event benefits from having two former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight standouts -- dangerous submission artist Rousimar Palhares and perennial top contender Jon Fitch -- with "Toquinho" putting his strap on the line.

The WSOF 16 co-main event is an intriguing story in its own right, as Featherweight champion Rick Glenn will make his first title defense since taking the strap from Georgi Karakhanyan, while his challenger Lance Palmer is the man Karakhanyan beat to become the inaugural WSOF champ. Palmer's quest for redemption comes full circle Saturday night.

Check out our full preview of the WSOF 16: "Palhares vs. Fitch" main card below:

170 lbs.: Rousimar Palhares (16-6) vs. Jon Fitch (26-6-1) (1)

There's a simple formula for fighting Palhares -- hit him before he can hook you. His chin was tested many times in UFC, and in three high-profile fights (Nate Marquardt, Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard) it was found in the first round. The reason UFC let Palhares go was not these high profile losses, but his unsportsmanlike and irrational conduct. So far in WSOF, he's been on his best behavior, and he'll need that discipline against Fitch, a fighter best known for his long winning streak in UFC leading up to a title shot against Georges St-Pierre.

Things did not initially go well for Fitch following his UFC release, as his high profile WSOF debut ended at the hands of Josh Burkman; however, two straight wins since then have put him in the title hunt. Fitch's biggest asset is his patience and discipline, as almost two-thirds of his wins (17) have come by decision. He doesn't want to wait out Palhares, though, but rather test that shaky chin. The longer the fight goes the more opportunities it opens up for Palhares to grab a leg. Takedowns will do Fitch no favors if Palhares immediately counters into a heel hook.

With more than 80 percent of his wins coming via submission, Palhares confidence has to be high, even facing a top fighter like Fitch.

Final prediction: Palhares retains his welterweight title via tapout

145 lbs.: Rick Glenn (15-2-1) vs. Lance Palmer (8-1)

It's a hard knock life for Glenn, the Featherweight champion of a nationally-televised promotion, yet he's allegedly not notable enough for a Wikipedia page. This says far more about Wikipedia than it does about Glenn, who proved his ascendance to notability when he retired Karakhanyan on his stool back in June. Perhaps he'll be considered notable if he successfully defends his title against Palmer, whose only career loss is to the man Glenn beat.

Palmer, meanwhile, is living in the shadow of more vaunted Team Alpha Male fighters like Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw and Joseph Benavidez. Like his teammates, though, he's got a deadly arsenal of chokes, and a first round submission of Nick LoBosco on the same night Glenn won the title put the two on a collision course. Palmer has won exactly half of his fights via tapout, so much like the main event, Glenn may want to test his chin before he gets that chance, since he's won little more than half of his victories via (technical knockout). Palmer has never been knocked out, but there's always a first time for everyone.

Final prediction: Glenn retains his Featherweight title via decision

135 lbs.: Sheymon Moraes (6-0) vs. Gabriel Solorio (11-7)

Confidence for Moraes is clearly high given that WSOF wants to showcase this match on television. He and his career are both young (he's only 24) but 66 percent of his fights end via knockout. Solorio is a journeyman fighter who has been a lot of places and had a lot of fights, but lacks an impressive win over a top name anywhere. Solorio was successful in his WSOF debut in a non-televised prelim more than one year ago, then lost his next fight outside the promotion via first round technical knockout. Do the math.

Final prediction: Sheymon Moraes via highlight reel KO finish.

145 lbs.: Brenson Hansen (6-2) vs. Josh Berkovic (5-0)

Berkovic is coming off a stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 as an assistant coach for Gilbert Melendez. Given the lack of success of Team Melendez fighters on the show (save Rose Namajunas) that may not be something Berkovic wants to hang his hat on. He's undefeated as a professional though, with only one fight going past the second round (to a decision). Hansen has won three out of four WSOF fights so he's as much a "veteran" as anybody in the young promotion can be, and both of them would like to be considered a contender for the Glenn vs. Palmer winner. An impressive finish on television would help, too.

Final prediction: Berkovic finishes via submission

170 lbs.: Lewis Gonzalez (9-1) vs. Justin Buchholz (15-8)

Don't let his current record or his memorable series of UFC losses fool you -- Justin Buchholz has won six of his last eight bouts and would be even better than that if he hadn't given Clay Collard a rematch. Collard used the momentum from that win to propel himself onto the UFC 181 card. Therefore, if Buchholz has proven anything it's that he's the fighter you have to get past to get to the next level in your career. He's definitely standing in Gonzalez's way, but so was Luis Palomino, and that ended via spectacular first round head kick. Gonzalez looks to rebound from that first career loss in "Lethal" style.

Final prediction: Gonzales via unanimous decision

That's a wrap! will deliver live coverage of WSOF 16 "Palhares vs. Fitch" Saturday night, with the first televised fight taking place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.

See you then!

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