World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 18: "Moraes vs. Hill" takes place TONIGHT (Thurs., Feb. 12, 2015) at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main event is a fight that has been in the making for months. Josh Hill pulled out of a title shot against Marlon Moraes last September due to a back injury, and now that he's healthy and injury free, he's once again ready to challenge Moraes for his crown.
The champion won't go down easy though, as Moraes is fighting for his pride AND his newborn son. He feels that he's among the best bantamweights in the world today and his string of eight straight victories since 2011 certainly makes a good argument for his case.
An impressive title defense will solidify his claim.
The card underneath has a lot of names that will be familiar to hardcore MMA fans. Fighters like Cody "AK Kid" McKenzie, Spencer "The Jedi" Jebb, and Shane "Shaolin" Campbell, just to name a few, are all a part of tonight's exciting line up.
All of the action-packed TV bouts air this evening on NBC Sports starting at 9 p.m. ET! MMAmania.com will bring you LIVE results for the WSOF.com "Prelims" and real-time play-by-play coverage of the televised fights below.
Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 18) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
WSOF 18 QUICK RESULTS:
Main Card (NBC Sports):
Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Hill: Moraes retains his title via UD 49-46 X3.
Derek Boyle vs. Shane Campbell: Campbell wins via TKO at 0:31 of R3.
Andrew McInnes vs. Cody McKenzie: McInnes wins via DQ at 4:57 of R1.
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Tristan Johnson: Dawodu wins via TKO at 2:28 of R3.
Preliminary and Postliminary Card (WSOF.com):
Mark Drummond vs. Spencer Jebb: Drummond wins via KO at 2:43 of R3.
Dan Lariviere vs. Garret Nybakken: Lariviere subs Nybakken via RNC at 4:40 of R1.
Matt Baker vs. Ali Mokdad: Due to an accidental headbutt this fight is a no contest.
Marcus Hicks vs. Graham Park: Hicks wins via RNC at 2:28 of R1.
WSOF 18 NBC SPORTS PLAY-BY-PLAY UPDATES:
Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Hill
Josh Hill is in the red trunks with black trim. The champion Moraes is in the white. Our referee in charge of the main event is Vern Gorman. Here we go!
Round 1: Hill quickly backs up and takes the outside looking to circle. Moraes is more than happy to pursue and throw hands at him. Head kick checked at 45 seconds. Hill tries to shift back and forth on his feet and come forward but Moraes backs him up again with a left. Hill keeps reaching his right hand out to gauge the distance. Hard body kick by Moraes. Hill tries to come forward again at 2:05 and backs off when he can't land anything. Moraes is momentarily stunned by an uppercut from a flurry at 2:30. The champ recovers quickly but there's a trickle of blood coming out of his nose. Moraes misses wide with a head kick. Jump knee from Hill. Moraes keeps wiping his nose. Spinning backfist attempt by Hill. Moraes closes the round with Hill backing away to the fence.
Round 2: No major tactical advantage is gained by either man in the first 90 seconds here. Hill is content to let Moraes work from the center. Hill calls a timeout at 2:17 as Josh Hill takes a hard kick to the cup. Hill recovers and is able to continue but has not been able to find the effective striking he used in the first round. Moraes is very light on his feet as he circles around Hill looking for openings. Another body kick by Moraes at 4:15. Moraes tries a spinning strike and Hill just misses with a counter left. Moraes slips to the ground but Hill doesn't pounce. A 10-9 round for Moraes as he had Hill backpedaling and not landing much of anything.
Round 3: Moraes is working leg kicks for the first minute of R3. Head kick is checked by Hill. Flying knee by Hill is checked. Hill may need a tactical adjustment here - if he keeps backing up to counter punch for the rest of this round or the next two (if needed) he's giving them away by making Moraes the aggressor in the fight. Spinning body kick by Moraes at 3:25 - Hill just shrugs it off. Bas Rutten makes an "abs of steel" joke on commentary. A fairly dull round to be honest - Moraes won it but nobody did anything that put his opponent in danger.
Round 4: Hill starts the round like he's going to stay in the center and trade with Moraes, but quickly falls back into his pattern of backing up and circling on the outside. Every now and then he tries a flurry that Moraes avoids and answers with hooks. Moraes checks a head kick at 2:02. Head kick by Moraes - and another. If he could catch Hill with his hands down he could end his night. Moraes continues to press forward with two minutes left. Hill gains no advantage moving left to right against the fence, taking kicks to the legs. Moraes tries a jump knee. Moraes shoots and Hill blocks it. Moraes just misses with a spinning back heel to the head as Hill ducks. Moraes is up 3 rounds to 1.
Round 5: Hill lands a rolling kick to the temple but Moraes eats it with no concern. Neither man seems to be gassed in any respect. Hill sweeps the leg at 2:45 but doesn't take advantage of it. Moraes blocks the next attempt at 3:03 and gets a takedown 20 seconds later. He's trying to pull Hill away from the fence while he's down, but Hill starts to wall walk his way back up. He can't quite shake Moraes loose no matter how hard he tries. He finally stands back up at 4:45 and practically begs Moraes to trade with him but he circles for a bit. Hill lands a spinning back knee to close it out.
Final result: The judges score this contest 49-46, 49-46, 49-46 unanimously for Marlon Moraes.
Derek Boyle vs. Shane Campbell
Round 1: Both men are in black trunks tonight. Boyle has the blue tape on his gloves and a short ponytail. Campbell has the red tape and a crest tattooed to his chest. Our referee is John Braak. Boyle quickly closes the distance trying to land bombs but the fighters wind up in clinch against the fence. Boyle defends the takedown as the two spin around, Campbell tries a jumping knee, Boyle gets him down momentarily but he's back up at 1:14. Boyle backs off and resets at 1:28. Campell gets a trip takedown at 1:42 and lets Boyle back up looking for a guillotine - it's not there. Campbell is bleeding from the nose as both men reset. They're on the fence at 3:30 but don't stay there long. Boyle fends off a takedown for a bit, gets pushed down to his knees, then sits there with his back to the fence while Campbell throws knees at his thigh. He gets back up at 4:46 and avoids a head kick just before the horn.
Round 2: Boyle puts Campbell against the fence in the first 30 seconds of R2. He gets one leg high in the air but Campbell hops around and gets free at 1:12. Now it's Campbell's turn to shoot. He tries a spin kick as they break at two minutes then throws a spinning back kick. Boyle takes a knee to the chin as he puts Campbell on the fence. Braak is calling for more work. Campbell lands some knees and a little dirty boxing, then takes the back of Boyle at 4:10 as he gets him to the ground. He's quickly on top in guard. Boyle tries unsuccessfully to grab an arm for a submission off his back. Campbell grinds an elbow into his face to end the round.
Round 3: Campbell ROCKS Boyle early in R3 and he drops to one knee, he tries to recover, Campbell stands over the top of him HAMMERING away with rights and Braak lets it go on WAY too long until it's finally stopped about a half minute into the third round.
Final result: Shane "Shaolin" Campbell finishes Derek Boyle via TKO at 0:31 of R3.
Andrew McInnes vs. Cody McKenzie
Round 1: McKenzie is in the red trunks tonight - McInnes is in the black. Our referee in charge is Kyle Cardinal. McInnes is getting the better of the striking early in the first 90 seconds but McKenzie responds by pulling guard and going for a guillotine choke. McInnes uses his legs to push his way free at 2:21 and winds up on top in the closed guard. McInnes gets some distance at 3:35 and drops bombs but McKenzie sweeps and goes for the guillotine again. He gets reversed again and McInnes is on top and moves up to a full mount at 4:29. McKenzie flips him again when he goes for a choke. Cardinal calls for time with two seconds left due to a headbutt by McKenzie that left McInnes unable to see out of one eye. McInnes says he can't continue, Cardinal waves it off, and McKenzie starts to celebrate. It doesn't appear he has anything to celebrate though.
Final result: Due to a headbutt by McKenzie this fight ends at 4:57 of R1 via disqualification - McInnes is the winner.
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Tristan Johnson
Round 1: Dawodu is in the black and gold trunks, Johnson the purple. Our referee is Vern Gorman. Dawodu sweeps the leg and knocks Johnson to the ground early. Dawodu is taking very small and deliberate steps. Dawodu tags him with the hands as we pass 90 seconds but Johnson gives him a cut under the right eye with a counter shot. Dawodu just waits for openings and throws a big left hook. Neither man is trying to pressure the other across the cage - they stand in the center and take little steps toward each other. Dawodu rocks Johnson with a left at 3:18 as blood is streaming down his face. Dawodu creams him with a right at 3:52 but Johnson responds with a takedown to recover. If you looked only at their faces you'd think Johnson was winning but he's the one getting blasted over and over. Dawodu finishes the final 30 seconds of R1 with leg kicks and knees from clinch.
Round 2: Both men clinch up for the first 20 seconds until settling back into their pattern of small steps and big shots. Johnson's nose is turning bright red. Dawodu pushes Johnson toward the fence then lets him go at 1:48. Dawodu is momentarily content now to circle on the outside then come forward with a combo and a leg kick. He is staying just outside the middle then coming forward for any opening. Dawodu stuffs a takedown and throws a knee. If controlling the cage meant more than effective strikes you'd give it to Johnson, but Dawodu has cannons in his arms - you can see a little of Johnson slipping away each time a head shot lands. Dawodu punishes him with lefts for the final 15 seconds for another 10-9.
Round 3: It's amazing that Johnson is even standing as we start R3, but he's not standing for long, as his legs crumble under the onslaught 39 seconds in. He gets back to his feet at 1:02 but there's not much there and he wobbles when he gets up from a stuffed takedown attempt at 1:20. Gorman might want to stop this for the fighter's safety. Johnson clinches in a blatant attempt to try and recover. Dawodu breaks free and knocks him down again - this fight is over two minutes into R3.
Final result: Dawodu wins via technical knockout at 2:28 of the third round.
Matt Baker vs. Ali Mokdad
Round 1: Mokdad is in the black and grey trunks tonight. Baker is in the black trunks with a slew of sponsorship logos. Our referee for this bout is Kyle Cardinal. And this fight is over ten seconds in! Mokdad's legs buckled on an accidental headbutt when both men slipped a little as they were throwing down. Bas Rutten is calling for someone to watch the instant replay and restart the fight. For the fighter's safety it needed to be stopped though as Mokdad went down face first and was not defending himself.
Final result: Due to an unintentional headbutt the fight is ruled a no contest.
Marcus Hicks vs. Graham Park
Round 1: Hicks is in the red trunks tonight. Park is in the grey. Our referee for the opening prelim is John Braak. Park shoots for a takedown in the first 30 seconds and the fighters are warned not to grab the cage. Park keeps grinding and hits a couple of knees and an off balance kick before hitting the takedown just past the one minute mark. Park takes the back to pound away and is warned to watch the back of the head. Hicks gets backup and gets a takedown of his own as we pass the two minute mark, taking the back and getting his hooks in. Park taps out and the fight's over!
Final result: Marcus "The Loudmouth Assassin" Hicks wins via rear naked choke at 2:28 of R1.
Round 1: Jebb is in the long brown trunks, Drummond the short black trunks. Our referee in charge is Vern Gorman. Drummond shoots for a takedown at 1:38. Jebb fends it off well and they reset to the center. Drummond goes for it again and Jebb cranks on his face to keep him away. The referee breaks them up and calls time to give a warning for fingers to the eye. Drummond throws a couple of uppercuts in clinch. Drummond appears to be significantly taller than Jebb - he's almost has to lean down to strike. It's not "Skyscraper" Struve heights though. Jebb sends him reeling backward with a left. Jebb pours it on for a few seconds then lets off the gas and lets the last 10 seconds of the round go by without another blow.
Round 2: The fighters wind up in clinch on the fence right away and are warned not to grab the cage. Jebb continues to grind away on Drummond as Drummond complains he got poked in the eye. Jebb starts to tee off at 1:40 and Drummond is just trying to cover up and survive. Inexplicably Jebb drops levels looking for a takedown. Drummond gets all the time he needs to recover as a result. Drummond tries to create distance by throwing knees and finally gets free at 3:16 - until Jebb shoots right back in again. At this point it appears Jebb just wants to salt away the round, although he does land a nice combo with 45 seconds to go, but either way he seems confident he's up 2-0.
Round 3: We get a stoppage at 1:12 of the round as Jebb takes a kick to the cup. Drummond is remarkably fresh given the major blows he took in the first two rounds. Jebb shoots in on him and grinds against the fence. All of a sudden DRUMMOND PUTS HIS LIGHTS OUT WITH A KNEE right to the chin for the come from behind win.
Final result: Mark Drummond wins via knockout at 2:43 of R3.
Dan Lariviere vs. Garret Nybakken
Round 1: Lariviere enters the cage first in black trunks for the night's final postlim bout. Nybakken comes out in yellow trunks. Our referee in charge is Kyle Cardinal. Both men are quick to engage when the fight starts. Lariviere is happy to throw kicks in bunches, while Nybakken is swinging for the fences. Lariviere gets Nybakken down but Nybakken gets one of his own and is on top in side control at 1:30. Nybakken uses his feet to push away and get a better position, but Lariviere is trying to do the same. Nybakken loses his position at 2:45 as Lariviere gets out the back door. A low blow drops Lariviere to a knee and Cardinal calls time. Lariviere gets his back after the restart with 75 seconds left. Nybakken tries hard to defend with time remaining but ultimately Nybakken taps with short time left.
Final result: Dan Lariviere submits Garret Nybakken at 4:40 of R1 via rear naked choke.