World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 30: "Branch vs. Starks" airs live on NBC Sports Network TONIGHT (Sat., April 2, 2016) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Two stellar fights have been lined up for the top of this card. Dual-weight class champion David Branch puts his Middleweight title on the line against the winner of five straight "Big Cat" Clifford Starks, while Jon Fitch and Joao Zeferino battle for the vacant Welterweight title.
In addition, WSOF veterans clash at Light Heavyweight as Vinny Magalhaes (13-7) takes on "The Honey Bear" Jake Heun (9-4), while veteran fighter Danny Davis Jr. (11-10-1) faces newcomer Abu Azaitar (11-1-1) at Welterweight.
All of the action-packed WSOF 30 televised bouts air this evening on NBC Sports Network, starting at 11:30 p.m. ET! MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE results and real-time play-by-play coverage of WSOF 30: "Branch vs. Starks" below, including "Prelims" undercard action that starts online at 8 p.m. ET.
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 30) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
WSOF 30 QUICK RESULTS:
Middleweight Champion David Branch vs. Clifford Starks -- Branch def. Starks by unanimous decision (49-44 x3)
Vacant Welterweight championship: Jon Fitch vs. Joao Zeferino -- Fitch def. Zeferino by unanimous decision (50-45 x3)
Light Heavyweight: Vinny Magalhaes vs. Jake Heun -- Magalhaes def. Heun by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Welterweight: Abu Azaitar vs. Danny Davis Jr. -- Azaitar def. Davis by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Welterweight: Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Matt Frincu -- Nurmagomedov def. Frincu by TKO (punches) at 3:05 of Round Two
Middleweight: Rex Harris vs. Clinton Williams -- Harris def. Williams by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Catchweight (160 pounds): Steve Kozola vs. Matt Church -- Kozola def. Church by TKO (punches) at 1:57 of Round One
Flyweight: Carlos Garcia vs. Jason Pacheco-- CANCELLED
Bantamweight: Adam Acquaviva vs. Andres Ponce -- Acquaviva def. Ponce by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:10 of Round One
Welterweight: Jeff Roman vs. Zach Bunnell -- Bunnell def. Roman by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
WSOF 30 PLAY-BY-PLAY UPDATES:
David Branch (c) vs. Clifford Starks
Round 1: Branch steps into the clinch early on, taking Starks to the fence. They separate. He clinches once again soon after. One minute in. Once more, they separate. Starks catches a body kick, can't use it. He takes Branch to the fence. Branch reverses. Two minutes in. Once more, they separate. Starks lands an uppercut as Branch ducks in. Branch moving forward as Starks looks for punches. Two minutes to go.
Branch hits a nice foot sweep into full guard. Branch goes to work with short punches. Half guard now, solid elbow. One minute to go. Starks looks for deep half guard before the bell. 10-9 Branch.
Round 2: Starks catches, drops a low kick. Good knee by Branch and Starks clinches, only for Branch to reverse position on the cage. Branch looking to change levels. One minute in. Starks clips him with a left as they separate, then a straight right in the center. Branch catches a leg and takes Starks back to the fence. Two minutes in. They separate and trade jabs. Left hook by Starks. Branch shoots, Starks reverses on the fence. Body shots as they break. Two minutes to go.
They separate after a brief clinch. Straight right by Starks, Branch shoots in and takes him down into guard. Starks scoots to the fence and works to turtle position. Starks eats an illegal knee, prompting a pause in the action and a point taken from Branch. One minute to go. Low kick from Branch, left hook from Starks. Left hook from Starks. Branch hits a reactive takedown directly into a guillotine. He's out of danger and makes it to the bell. 10-8 Starks with the point deduction.
Round 3: Solid right cross by Starks. Starks looks for body shots. Branch ties up and goes to the fence. One minute in. Branch changes levels, looking for a single-leg as Starks threatens a guillotine. Body shot from Branch, right hand form Starks on the break. Branch again clinches up, Starks takes him to the fence this time. Two minutes in. Knees from both before they split. Starks to the body. 1-2 from Branch. Hard right hands by Branch, clinch. Right hand from Starks as they break, clinch again. Two minutes to go.
Starks looks for some knees and they separate. Left hook clips Starks and Branch ties up. Starks presses him against the cage. One minute to go. Branch slips out and lands a body kick. Left hook by Starks. Good knee by Branch on the break. Starks looks for the body before the bell. 10-9 Branch.
Round 4: Solid exchanges in the center to begin the round. Branch looking sharp with his hands and hits a takedown into guard. One minute in. Starks scoots his way to the fence and gets to his feet, then gets taken right back down. Starks on his rear against the fence. Two minutes in. Branch breaking Starks' base, landing short shots. Two minutes to go.
Branch on top in full guard, now half guard away from the cage. Nice elbows. One minute to go. Branch looks to attack the far arm in the final thirty seconds. He can't break Starks' grip before the bell. 10-9 Branch.
Round 5: Starks comes out aggressively, clinches up. Branch with a left hook on the break. Flurry from Starks. Starks shoots, stuffed and Branch takes him to the cage. One minute in. Big John separates them. Starks denies a clinch attempt and fires punches. Branch hits a blast double into half guard. Two minutes in. Branch looking for the back, takes mount near the fence. Short left hands from Branch. Starks manages to regain half guard, but Branch has him away from the fence and worms his foot free. Two minutes to go.
Branch working to maintain mount. Solid strikes from the champion. One minute to go. Nice punches. The fight ends with Branch still in mount. 10-9 Branch.
Final result: Branch def. Starks by unanimous decision
Jon Fitch vs. Joao Zeferino
Round 1: Tentative exchanges in center cage to start. Both men connect with punches, Fitch moving forward. Fitch takes him to the fence, goes to work with knees and dirty boxing. One minute in. Zeferino separates, ref warns Fitch for holding onto his gloves. Counter right and stiff jab from Zeferino prompt Fitch to clinch once again, firing knees. Zeferino reverses position two minutes in. Fitch reverses in turn and they separate. Fitch jabbing near the center. Zeferino jabbing as well. Two minutes to go.
Fitch shoots behind a right hand, can't finish it but takes Zeferino to the cage. Zeferino reverses and tries to change levels himself. Low kick from Fitch after they separate. One minute to go. Fitch lands a right hand, can't get the takedown. Zeferino with a stiff jab and right hands. Double-leg from Fitch, transitions to a single-leg, finishes as a double. Fitch works towards the back until the bell. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 2: Zeferino sticking out his jab. Both land two-piece combos. Low kick from Fitch. One minute in. Fitch shoots for a single. Zeferino reverses position. He lands a knee and separates. Jabs and a hook from Zeferino as Fitch moves forward. Fitch grabs double-unders and takes Zeferino to the fence once again. Zeferino pummels under and separates. Two minutes in. Fitch fires a right hand and shoots once again, Solid left hand as he wrangles Zeferino on the fence. Two minutes to go.
Zeferino again pummels under and stands. Right hand from Zeferino, Fitch ducks it and takes him down. One minute to go. Zeferino tries to turn for a leg, Fitch snuffs it out. Elbows from Fitch until the bell. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 3: Fitch's forward march continues as an increasingly tired-looking Zeferino counterpunches. Zeferino shoots, stuffed. They jockey for position on the fence and Zeferino pulls guard, looking for a leg. Fitch takes guard and Zeferino latches onto a Kimura. Fitch slips out. Two minutes in. Fitch dropping shots as Zeferino looks for deep half guard. Zeferino makes it up, eats a knee before separating. Right hand exchange. Two minutes to go.
Zeferino shoots, denied. Low kick from Fitch and he shoots as well. Spinning elbow lands for Fitch on the break. Fitch hits a double-leg into full guard. One minute to go. Fitch grinding away, as he is wont to do. He keeps up the work until the bell. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 4: Zeferino is visibly gassed. Fitch ties up and they jockey for position on the fence. Knees from Zeferino. One minute in. They separate. They trade right hands. Solid right hand by Zeferino and he ties up, only to get reversed. Two minutes in. Fitch tries to change levels, cannot do so and they split. Fitch shoots, stuffed. He shoots again, completes this one on the fence. Full guard for Fitch. Two minutes to go.
Zeferino goes to his side, looking to make something happen, goes for a telegraphed kneebar. Fitch cracks him with punches until he lets go. One minute to go. Fitch continues to Fitch in the final minute, grinding the whole time. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 5: Body kick from Zeferino. Spinning back kick whiffs. Uppercut by Fitch inside, followed by a 1-2 and shot. Zeferino pulls deep half guard and goes for a leg. One minute in. Fitch defending well, gets his knee free and shoots in. They stand, Zeferino pressing him against the cage. Two minutes in. They separate and Fitch scores another takedown into guard. Elbows from Fitch as Zeferino looks for half guard. Two minutes to go.
Zeferino tries to invert, nothing there as Fitch continues to pound away. Nothing fight-changing, but it's a steady clip. One minute to go. Fitch snuffs out another attempt at a leg. Zeferino twists around, trying to make something happen but he can't dislodge Fitch, who should take a wide UD. 10-9 Fitch.
Final result: Fitch def. Zeferino by unanimous decision
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Jake Heun
Round 1: Low kicks from Vinny to start. Heun catches a leg, eats some swatting blows. One minute in. Heun tries to go high. Again, Vinny answers with a low kick. They swing and Magalhaes ties up on the fence. Two minutes in. Short knees from the Brazilian. He keeps up the knees, tries a trip, and then separates. Two minutes to go.
Heun still looking for the high kick, starting to put together some quick combinations. Vinny looks to go upstairs as well. One minute to go. More low kicks from Magalhaes; they're piling up at this point. Vinny lands a swatting left hook at the bell. 10-9 Magalhaes.
Round 2: Heun with a low kick. Short left connects for him. Very nice head kick from Heun, Magalhaes shrugs it off. One minute in. Low kick from Vinny glances off. Hard uppercut lands for him inside, Heun comes back with a straight left and spinning attempt. Two minutes in. Another hard low kick lands, Davis checks the next one. Body kick. Heun tries a back elbow. Two minutes to go.
Quick punching exchange near the fence. Vinny changes levels and hits an outside trip near the fence, taking half guard. Heun regains full guard when Vinny goes for a leg. One minute to go. Solid shots from Vinny. Heun lands an upkick and shoves Vinny away, only for the Brazilian to take him down once again. 10-9 Magalhaes.
Round 3: Some early feints in the center. Heun briefly flurries into the clinch. Body kick by Magalhaes. One minute in. Vinny goes for a low single, can't get it. Heun opens up on the fence, Vinny clinches. Check hook land for Magalhaes. He looks quite tired. Two minutes to go. Heun on the advance, lands a teep to the body. Counter hook by Vinny. 1-2-3 lands. Heun with a body kick, almost leans into a head kick. Vinny shoots, brings him down into guard. Two minutes to go.
Magalhaes passes to half guard, chipping away with short shots. Vinny looks for a Kimura on the far arm, gives up top position to do so but puts himself in position to latch on a triangle. Heun gets his head out and passes to half guard, breaking Vinny's grip. One minute to go. Heun postures up and drops vicious shots to Vinny's body, drilling his ribs with savage elbows until the bell. 10-9 Heun.
Final result: Magalhaes def. Heun by unanimous decision
Abu Azaitar vs. Danny Davis, Jr.
Round 1: Azaitar charges out of the gate, prompting Davis to clinch on the fence. Azaitar defending the takedown as Davis looks for foot stomps. One minute in. Nice inside trip by Davis, only for Azaitar to sweep his way back to top position. Azaitar wading after him, slinging heat, and gets knocked off-balance by a jab. Left hook from Azaitar connects. Two minutes in. Azaitar continues to just stalk forward and sling haymakers, prompting Davis to clinch once again. Azaitar cracks him on the break and pursues with more bombs. Two minutes to go.
Davis sticks out his tongue, but continues to eat shots. Azaitar sneaks in a body kick. One minute to go. DAvis hits a takedown against the fence, moves to half guard and drops forearms. Round ends there. 10-9 Azaitar.
Round 2: Body kick from Davis to start. Counter right by Azaitar when Davis tries to jump. Davis wearing some damage to his left eye. Davis tries a Superman punch, takes a glancing right hand. Counter hook lands for Azaitar, then a knee tap. Davis scrambles up and scores another takedown on the fence. Half guard. Davis staying heavy as Azaitar tries to use the fence to stand. Azaitar tries to turn away and winds up giving up his back. He manages to regain half guard soon after. Two minutes to go.
More grinding and short blows by Davis. He tries to take the back again, only for Azaitar to slip out the back door and take the back himself. Davis scrambles back to his feet and shoots in. One minute to go. Davis pressing him against the fence. They separate with ten seconds to go and Azaitar chases him with punches. 10-9 Davis.
Round 3: Davis' eye looks pretty bad. Azaitar opens with low kicks. More low kicks. One minute in. Not much at all from Davis thus far. Two-piece combo from Azaitar connects, then a body shot. Hard left hook lands flush. Two minutes in. Body kick. Counter right. Davis circling and not much else. Counter 3-2. Another combination. Two minutes to go.
Another low kick lands for Azaitar, then a body kick. Davis tries to rush. Another heavy low kick by Azaitar. One minute to go. Davis shoots, stuffed, takes him to the fence. He gets Azaitar down with thirty seconds to go and takes his back. He gets both hooks in, but can't get the choke before the bell. 10-9 Azaitar.
Final result: Azaitar def. Davis by unanimous decision