World Series of Fighting (WSOF) held their 20th fight card on Friday evening (April 10, 2015) at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The lineup had several changes, most notably in the main event, where promotional newcomer Jesse McElligott stepped in for Ronny Markes to take on WSOF middleweight champion, David Branch in a light heavyweight tournament semi final.
This was a mismatch of epic proportions.
Branch took the fight to the mat in the first and landed a decent amount of ground and pound while controlling McElligott for the duration of the round. In the second, Branch found an opening with a step-through knee to the body and began to tee off on the over matched challenger. The New Yorker locked McElligott into the plumb and delivered a few nasty knees and connected on some solid punches.
It looked like this would continue on and lead to a technical knockout finish, but Branch chose to secure a takedown instead. On the way down, McElligott tried for guillotine choke, but Branch landed in side control and as the challenger held on, the champion locked in a Von Flue choke. He then moved into mount and put McElligott to sleep before referee Dan Miragliotta could step in to wave the fight off at the 1:28 mark of the second round.
Branch will now face Teddy Holder for the inaugural WSOF light heavyweight title. Holder knocked out Thiago Silva in the first round at WSOF 19 in the opposing bracket of the WSOF light heavyweight tournament.
Nick Newell returned to action in his first appearance since getting finished by WSOF lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje at WSOF 11 last July. The one-armed fighter defeated Joe Condon by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a closely contested fight. Newell took the back of Condon at the end of the first round, but time ran out before he could secure a choke. Late in the third round, Newell threatened again, this time with a deep guillotine, but he could not force the tap. With the win, the Connecticut based-fighter improves to 12-1.
It was a disappointing debut for Phoenix Jones. The Seattle crime fighter struggled with the wrestling and top pressure of Emmanuel Walo in their catchweight contest at 176 pounds and ended up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Jones fought valiantly and came roaring back at one point in the final frame, putting Walo in some trouble after connecting with some big strikes. But while winging punches, Walo was able to secure another takedown, avoid further trouble and ride out the remainder of the round.
In a battle of heavyweights, Olympian Steve Mocco beat up Juliano Coutino good enough for NBC Sports to replay the entire fight. Mocco picked a single late in the first round, landed a big left hand, passed to half guard and started delivering heavy blows, which forced Coutino to turn over and turtle up. From there Mocco hammered away until referee Dan Miragliota stepped in at the 4:02 mark. Mocco picked up the (technical) knockout victory.
The televised bouts were paired with exciting preliminary action that aired exclusively on WSOF.com.