The latest event for the World Series Of Fighting (WSOF) took place Friday night (June 5, 2015) at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - airing live on NBC Sports Network with two world title matches featured.
Featherweight Lance Palmer was feeling confident going into the cage for his first defense of his WSOF title, looking for the tenth win of his pro career. Challenger Chris Horodecki promised to "Hammer" his foe inside the Decagon. It was a chance for Horodecki to show off new skills acquired at the Tristar Gym, while the Team Alpha Male veteran was out to prove himself a worthy champion after winning the belt in his second try.
Palmer became the first WSOF featherweight champion to successfully defend his title, using his wrestling technique to put Horodecki in trouble multiple times in the first round. The final attempt did the most damage as Palmer took full back mount, unloaded with hard rights to the head, then slipped the arm under the chin and cinched the rear-naked choke up tight. Horodecki was forced to tap at 4:28.
Zombie Prophet has the visual:
Renzo Gracie spoke to the champ after the fight.
"I thought it went well. I thought I threw my hands pretty well, my kicks pretty well. I told him after the fight that I've been watching him before I even thought about fighting. It was an honor to get in there with him. I had to go for the Severn choke because I wasn't able to get under the neck."
Second from the top was the first title defense for Heavyweight Smealinho Rama, facing former Bellator tournament heavyweight semi-finalist Blagoi Ivanov. Rama smashed his way to becoming WSOF's inaugural champion in only 51 seconds, but given the only man Ivanov had lost to before last night was Alexander Volkov, he would not be an easy out for the champ.
Then again Ivanov had trouble just getting into Canada.
Ivanov looked extremely cautious in the first round, content to circle on the outside and paw with a jab as Rama brought the action to him. By the second round Ivanov had figured out the range and was starting to push back and trade with Rama. While Rama would fire off crisp and accurate combos, the bigger and bulkier Bulgarian would punish him with heavy rights, sending blood running straight down Rama's chest from under his eye. In the third round Ivanov finally overwhelmed Rama with a punch and caught him in a guillotine at 1:17 as he tried to get up.
Zombie Prophet has the finish:
Renzo Gracie interviewed Ivanov after the fight.
"I was good prepared for this fight, I did like four months camp, just to prepare for this fight. I think I get back more stronger than before, I feel stronger mentally now, and I want to thank God and my family and everybody who support me."
Featherweight Hakeem Dawodu brought an undefeated record into last night's card, but so did his opponent Chuka Willis, both holding an unblemished record of 4-0. It might not normally be considered a #1 contender's match to pair two fighters with relatively little pro experience, but in WSOF challengers are always in demand and an impressive win had the potential to move one of these men to the front of the line.
The first round was fairly even, with Willis rushing ahead and getting a quick takedown, but no opening for a submission became available. Willis kept wrestling Dawodu, but by the second half of the round he was able to stuff the takedown attempts and force Willis to circle on the outside while he was headhunting. In the second round Dawodu's superior striking took over as he repeatedly clinched and rocked Willis with hard knees, forcing Kyle Cardinal to step in and save Willis at 2:55 of R2.
Check out the highlight, courtesy of Zombie Prophet:
In a swing bout with time available, Welterweight Michael Hill went toe to toe with Mark Drummond. They had virtually identical records going in -- Hill was 7-3, Drummond was 7-2 -- but Hill was coming off a loss to Bristol Marunde while Drummond was on a two fight win streak.
Could he extend it to three?
The fight was incredibly close from start to finish. Hill had several chances for a guillotine choke when Drummond would rush in for a takedown but could never quite cinch it up. Drummond was able to bloody Hill's nose but could never quite do enough damage to rock him. Hill landed frequent overhand rights, Drummond landed loads of body and leg kicks, and the judges has to sort it. They ultimately ruled 29-28 times two in Hill's favor for a split decision.
The televised bouts were paired with exciting preliminary action that aired exclusively on WSOF.com.