clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WSOF 28 predictions, preview for 'Moraes vs Barajas' NBC Sports-televised main card

World Series of Fighting

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) returns to NBC Sports Network this weekend (Sat., Feb. 20, 2016) with its latest mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which will take place inside Next Level Sports Center in Garden Grove, California.

The WSOF 28 main event is a Bantamweight battle between division champion Marlon Moraes going for a third successful title defense at the expense of Joseph Barajas. Underneath them is a Bantamweight contenders match between "Lucky" Timur Valiev and Chris Gutierrez, as well as two Welterweight fights that will round out the televised main card.

Let's break down all of the WSOF 28 main card matches below:

135 lbs.: Marlon Moraes (15-4-1) vs. Joseph Barajas (12-1)

Moraes has said in recent interviews that he'd like to "leave behind a WSOF legacy." He's already on his way with an unbeaten promotional record that stretches back to WSOF 1. And with a win in the main event, he'll join Justin Gaethje as the only WSOF champions with three successful title defenses. The only problem Moraes seems to have is finding competition worthy to face him, which is a good problem to have.

Barajas is as worthy as any contender they've put in front of him. He'd be undefeated save for a late third round submission to Sirwan Kakai, a fight where by his own admission he gassed out by not making a good weight cut. He brings a pedigree of high school and college wrestling into the Decagon, and is a self-described "wrestler-boxer" who uses his grappling skills to set up strikes, leading to 33 percent (4 out of 12) wins coming by technical knockout, including his WSOF debut.

The previous contenders have been unable to overcome three natural advantages Moraes has developed over time -- speed, counter striking and cardio. Moraes has been the distance in two title fights and seemed to fade very little in the later rounds. In his last fight with Sheymon Moraes, he let his opponent chase him down as he peppered him with shots on the outside until a submission opened up. Moraes is young and healthy at 27 and as good as Barajas is as a wrestler he's got to grab him for a takedown first.

Moraes will make him pay with his hands before he gets that chance.

Final prediction: Marlon Moraes wins via second round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Timur Valiev (10-1) vs. Chris Gutierrez (8-1-1)

If any fighter is "next" for Moraes after a successful title defense, it's likely to be "Lucky" Timur Valiev. Luck has little to do with the fact he's unbeaten dating back to 2011. The Dagestani fighter is 4-0 in WSOF fights with 40 percent of his wins coming by technical knockout and 50 perceng coming by decision.

The debuting Gutierrez is more of a power striker, winning 63 percent of his fights (five out of eight) via technical knockout, going the distance in the other three matches. He could certainly pull off the upset, but Valiev possesses the ability to make opponents fight his fight and not vice versa, which makes it likely Valiev can grind out this fight in a way that will frustrate Gutierrez.

Final prediction: Timur Valiev wins via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Jamie Yager (6-4) vs. Daniel McWilliams (13-32)

Yager is the better known quantity in this fight equation because of his experience on reality shows like "Iron Ring" and "The Ultimate Fighter." That hasn't garnered him as much success as he'd like, though, as his middling record indicates; in fact, he makes his Decagon debut here following two losses. However, with a three-year layoff since his last fight that may not matter -- "The Chosyn 1" may have completely rebuilt himself into a new man.

Yager was originally set to face Greg Parker, but the World Series of Fighting made a last minute substitution with an opponent who has (quite frankly) a horrifying win/loss record. That tips the scales to the otherwise inactive Yager's favor in this contest.

Final prediction: Jamie Yager via knockout

170 lbs.: Andrew Ramm (4-3) vs. Ozzie Alvarez (6-3)

Andrew "The" Ramm, who lost his only fight in the big time so far at Bellator 133, comes in off a loss to Andre Ricardo Chaves Santos, and has only one thing he can tout besides his clever nickname -- 100 percent of his wins are by submission. Alvarez also comes in off a loss to Justin Patterson, but he had a five-fight win streak prior to that, and he's never gone to a decision in victory with four wins by strikes and two submissions. Again, Alvarez seems to have the greater upside.

Final prediction: Ozzie Alvarez via first round knockout

That's a wrap!

Remember: will deliver live coverage of WSOF 28: "Moraes vs. Barajas" on Saturday night (Feb. 20, 2016), with the first televised fight taking place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

See you then!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania