If at first you don't succeed, just wait a few hours. You might get a rematch and win on the second try.
Such was the case for Brian Foster, winner of World Series of Fighting 25 (WSOF) 8-Man Lightweight Tournament last night (Fri., Nov 20, 2015), who converted early disappointment into late euphoria thanks to injuries that forced other competitors from the brackets.
The showcase event of WSOF 25 from Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, and live broadcast on NBC Sports, was a much-heralded tournament featuring eight lightweight hopefuls, each with their eyes on a title shot against champion Justin Gaethje.
Several of the men in the tournament have had a crack at Gaethje before, including Luis Palomino who lost twice in succession to the heavy hitter. His opening round opponent, Richard Patishnock, also had a go, getting knocked out in just over a minute.
We've also seen Brian Cobb fight Gaethje, succumbing to the rarest of TKO losses: leg kicked to death.
Each of these men came into the night hoping to get their shot at dethroning the 15-0 champion at some later date, and each would have their fair shot to get that chance. So, who will it be?
The answer is ex-UFC fighter, Brian Foster. And what an amazing story it was.
Brian Foster vs. João Zeferino II
Believe it or not, this was the second fight of the night for these two, with Zeferino getting the better of their first exchange with a heel hook submission just 1:46 into their quarter-final fight to kick off the evening. That should have been it for the 31-year-old American, but an injury sustained by Mike Ricci after winning his first fight put Foster back in the mix of things. He defeated Luis Palomino via TKO in the second round, forcing the rematch with Zeferino.
The slick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wiz once again took charge of the fight in their second encounter, working on a heel hook and a kimura but finding it more difficult to get the finish here in his third fight of the evening. Foster came out with a renewed vengeance in the second round, pressuring Zeferino and forcing the Brazilian to shoot for a takedown on an errant spinning kick.
Zeferino managed to hurt Foster, but the wily veteran continued to hang tough as time ticked away, sweeping the Brazilian and getting back to his feet. After hovering over Zeferino for a moment, Foster chose a decisive moment to land the killing blow. He will face Gaetje for the undisputed lightweight championship of WSOF.
Jason High vs Estevan Payan
The lightweight tournament wasn't the only action at WSOF 25, as another pair of ex-UFCers in Jason High and Estevan Payan faced off in a non-tournament lightweight bout. High was the one to shine in this one, showcasing his powerful kicks and quick speed. It was a left high kick to the head that put Payan down for good.
Jorge Patino vs. Joao Zeferino
He may not have won the night but Zeferino took home the distinction of becoming the first man in 13 years to submit high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jorge Patino with a quick heel hook to finish him in semi-final action.This was another odd matchup as Patino had already lost to Islam Mamedov in the quarter finals, but despite having Ramil Mustapayev on standby organizers chose to go with Patino.
Video recaps courtesy the incomparable ZombieProphet.
WSOF 25 Results
Jason High vs. Estevan Payan -- High def. Payan by KO (head kick and punches) at 0:47 of Round Two
Joseph Barajas vs. Erik Villalobos -- Barajas def. Villalobos by TKO (punches) at 4:06 of Round Three
Jimmy Scully vs. Roberto Yong -- Yong def. Scully by TKO (punches) at 1:11 of Round One
8-Man Lightweight Tournament
Finals: Brian Foster def. Joao Zeferino by KO (punches) at 4:51 of Round Two
Semifinals: Brian Foster* def Luis Palomino by TKO (punches) at 4:19 of Round Two
Semifinals: Joao Zeferino def Jorge Patino* by submission (heel hook) at 1:24 of Round One
Quarterfinals: Luis Palomino def. Rich Patishnock by KO (punches) at 4:55 of Round One
Quarterfinals: Joao Zeferino def. Brian Foster by submission (heel hook) at 1:46 of Round One
Quarterfinals: Mike Ricci def. Joe Condon by KO (head kick) at 2:41 of Round One
Quarterfinals: Islam Mamedov def. Jorge Patino by unanimous decision
Reserve bout: LaRue Burley vs. Ramil Mustapayev -- Mustapayev def. Burley by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Check out our live streaming WSOF 25 results RIGHT HERE to see who else made a name for themselves inside the cage last night in Phoenix, Arizona.