World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 31: "Ivanov vs. Copeland" airs live on NBC Sports Network TONIGHT (June 17, 2016) from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
The NBC Sports Network-televised show is headlined by a Heavyweight title defense for Blagoi Ivanov vs. Josh Copeland. Ivanov (13-1, 1 NC) is undefeated since beating Smealinho Rama at WSOF 21, but "Cuddly Bear" Copeland (12-3) is a serious challenge to his reign, winning three out of four since leaving Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In addition, WSOF has stacked fights with ranking implications across the televised card ranging from Mike Ricci vs. Jason High at Lightweight to Luis Palomino vs. Sheymon Moraes at Featherweight. Jon Jones' teammate Phil Hawes will also make his promotional debut, too.
All of the action-packed WSOF 31 televised bouts air this evening on NBC Sports Network, starting at 9 p.m. ET! MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE results and real-time play-by-play coverage of WSOF 31: "Ivanov vs. Copeland" below, including quick results of the "Prelims" undercard action that starts online at 6 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 31) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
WSOF 31 QUICK RESULTS:
Heavyweight: Blagoy Ivanov (c) vs. Josh Copeland -- Ivanov def. Copeland by unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)
Lightweight: Jason High vs. Mike Ricci -- High def. Ricci by TKO (punches) at 4:08 of Round Two
Welterweight: John Howard vs. Mike Arrant -- Howard def. Arrant by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Featherweight: Luis Palomino vs. Sheymon Moraes -- Moraes def. Palomino by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Middleweight: Phil Hawes vs. Joshua Key -- Hawes def. Key by TKO (punches) at 2:52 of Round One
Lightweight: Tom Marcellino vs. Devin Powell -- Powell def. Marcellino via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Juliano Coutinho vs. Justin Willis -- Willis def. Coutinho via technical knockout (Round 2, 2:30)
Heavyweight: Tyler King vs. Lorenzo Hood -- King def. Hood via guillotine submission (Round 2, 4:20)
Welterweight: Robert Fonseca vs. Sean Lally
Lightweight: Bruce Boyington vs. Saul Almeida -- Boyington def. Almeida via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight: Marcus Surin vs. Christian Torres -- Surin def. Torres via technical knockout (Round 2, 2:51)
WSOF 31 PLAY-BY-PLAY UPDATES:
Blagoi Ivanov vs. Josh Copeland
Round one: Tentative start to the fight, the heavyweights circling in the center. One minnute in. They swing in the center. Two minutes in. Ivanov's bleeding over the right eye. Counter right from Ivanov. Solid counters from the champion as "Huggy Bear" advances. Two minutes to go.
Ivanov's bleeding badly, though not directly over his eye, but he's landing very well and punishing Copeland's rushes. Hard right hand from the champion. One minute to go. Ivanov tries a high kick and flurries before the bell. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round two: Some hand-fighting in the center, a byproduct of the mirror stances. Left hand from Copeland. Ivanov rushes, can't land clean. One minute in. Hard punches connect for Ivanov, forcing Copeland near the fence. Straight left from ivanov and some inside blows. The ref pauses the fight to look at Ivanov's worsening cut. The doctor allows him to continue and he immediately charges after Copeland, drilling him with heavy blows against the fence. Copeland weathers it and the pace slows back down. Two minutes to go.
Left hand lands for Copeland, then a hook. Right hook this time. 3-2. Ivanov steps into the clinch and they trade inside. One minute to go. Head kick attempt from the champion. Counter left lands for him. Copeland lands a straight left before the bell. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round three: The bleeding's stopped for the moment. Straight left from the champ and another one forces Copeland to retreat. The challenger comes back with punches. One minute in. Tentative exchanges. Two minutes in. 1-2 by Ivanov. Counter left by Copeland soon after. Ivanov's still winning the exchanges. Two minutes to go.
Right hand from Copeland inside. Ivanov connects with left hands and briefly takes Copeland to the fence. Ivanov's bleeding once again. Low kick from Ivanov sends Copeland to the mat, but the challenger scrambles up immediately. One minute to go. Ivanov looks almost spent. The two sling punches at point blank. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round four: Left hands from Ivanov. The champion continues to win the exchanges despite the fire coming back. One minute in. Counter right from Copeland. Copeland to the body. Ivanov tries to go high, eats a hard right hook. He comes back with left hands. 1-2 from Copeland. Two minutes in. Ivanov left hands. Two minutes to go.
Both men too tired to put together consistent offense. Ivanov lands inside. Hard series of shots from Ivanov and he takes Copeland to the fence. Nice knee on the exit. 2-3 lands for Ivanov, who's starting to regain momentum. One minute to go. Straight left from the champion. Copeland digs in a right downstairs before the bell. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round five: Copeland lands a straight to start the round. Ivanov blasts him with a counter right hook, then dings him with a flurry near the fence. One minute in. The two engage inside. Two minutes in. Both land tired punches in the center. Counter left from Copeland. Left by Ivanov. Again they engage at close range, then separate to recover. Two minutes to go.
Ivanov stumbles on the fence as Copeland attacks and the challenger ties up, only to get hip tossed into side control. Copeland regains half guard as Ivanov thumps him with elbows. One minute to go. Ivanov moves to the front headlock, then turtle position and punches away. He allows Copeland to stand with twenty-five seconds to go. Copeland marches forward with his hands at his waist. 10-9 Ivanov.
Final result: Ivanov def. Copeland by unanimous decision
Jason High vs. Mike Ricci
Round 1: High shoots in right away and hits a wild takedown. Ricci works his way back to the feet against the cage. One minute in. High staying glued to him. High brings him down once again, then transitions to a front headlock. Ricci pops out, still in the clinch. High reverses position after another front headlock. Two minutes in. Ricci goes for a takedown, putting himself in danger of a belly-down armbar. Ricci slips out and grabs the rear waistlock, then clocks him with an elbow. Two minutes to go.
High takes him back to the fence. He works his way to the rear waistlock and hits another takedown, then looks for the back. High gets his second hook in and looks for the choke. One minute to go. Ricci fights it off until the bell. 10-9 High.
Round 2: Ricci tosses out a high kick to start. Combination from High. Ricci grabs over-unders and takes High to the fence. One minute in. Knee to the nards from Ricci. High shoots soon after the restart, gets stuffed and popped with a 1-2. Ricci hits a takedown into full guard in the center of the cage. Two minutes in. High scrambles up, eats a few shots on the way. Right hook by Ricci. 1-2 from Ricci hits home. High looks winded. Desperate shot form High, who pulls guard. Ricci follows him down and bashes away from full guard. Two minutes in.
Solid ground-and-pound by Ricci, who lands a left hand as High scrambles up. Ricci on the attack, but a sudden 3-2 from High turns his legs to mush. Ricci stumbles to the mat and High thumps him with hammerfists until the referee steps in.
Final result: High def. Ricci by TKO (punches)
John Howard vs. Mike Arrant
Round 1: They two immediately take the center and trade punches. Howard wading forward. They trade kicks. A right hook and 1-2 sting Howard. Howard shoots, denied. One minute in. Arrant catches a kick and heaves Howard to the mat before letting him up. Howard again stomps in and gets tagged on the inside. Low kick exchange. Two minutes in. Lazy wheel kick from Arrant. Arrant circling on the outside. Low kick from Howard. Left hook from Howard, right hook from Arrant in return. Two minutes to go.
They trade low kicks. Arrant low kick. Howard goes low-high with a combination and then shoots in. Arrant fights off the single-leg. One minute to go. Low kick exchange. Arrant shoots, denied. 10-9 Arrant.
Round 2: Howard continues his slow advance, lands a glancing left hook. Arrant throws out some kicks. Howard catches one to the body and shoots in. Arrant looking for a guillotine as he defends. Arrant blatantly grabs the fence to stay up, earning a warning after he stands. 2-3 from Arrant. Two minutes to go. Flurry from Howard. Arrant low kick. Howard stuffs a shot, eats a right hand on the exit. Howard right hand. Two minutes to go.
Howard to the body. They trade heavy leather on the fence and Arrant waves him on. Howard low kick, Arrant answers in kind. One minute to go. Low kick again from Doomsday as Arrant picks at him. Haward catches a kick and shoots at the bell. 10-9 Howard.
Round 3: Low kicks to start off the round. Howard hits a blast double off an Arrant low kick. Arrant scrambles up, still has Howard attached to his waist. One minute in. they separate. Anotehr hard low kick from Howard. Two minutes in. Really not much happening besides low kicks and slow arm punches from Arrant. Howard to the body, stuffs a shot. Two minutes to go.
Howard goes downstairs once more. Howard stuffs a shot and lands a knee to the body. Arrant kicks him in the dong. Howard storms after him on the restart and drops him with a right hand. Arrant pops up and gets suplexed for his trouble. Side control for Howard. One minute to go. Howard looking to mount, settles for short elbows. Arrant rolls to turtle position, so Howard slips in a hook and takes the back. Arrant gives up mount before the bell. 10-9 Howard.
Final result: Howard def. Arrant by unanimous decision
Luis Palomino vs. Sheymon Moraes
Round 1: Tentative start, Palomino moving while Moraes stalks forward. Long left hook lands for Palomino. One minute in. More feinting, jab from Moraes. Palomino looks to counter a kick, then lands a hook on the exit. Palomino looking comfortable, slinging combinations. He lets Moraes off the fence, blocks a head kick. Two minutes in. Once again. Palomno lands inside as he avoids the Thai plum. Moraes now moving forward and connects with a low kick. Two minutes to go.
They exchange inside, both men landing hard. Nasty elbow inside by Moraes, Palomino shrugs it off. Moraes continues to advance and boots Palomino's thigh. Left hook as the Brazilian weaves. One minute to go. Palomino shoots, stuffed. Palomino dings him with a left hook as they trade, then gets staggered in turn by the same punch. They trade until the bell. 10-9 Palomino.
Round 2: Moraes still on the advance. Body kick from him hits forearm, same with the head kick soon after. Low kick by the Brazilian. Palomino blocks a head kick. Again. One minute in. Low kick from Moraes and a left hook behind it. Still looking for the head kick. Two minutes in. They trade and Palomino lands a left hook. Moraes continuing to sling that high kick. Body kick lands, Palomino catches a finger in the eye. Two minutes to go.
Palomino not offering much as he circles. Body kick from Moraes. One minute to go. Left hand by Palomino, overhand right by the Brazilian in return. Now Palomino moving forward. He throws heat and chases Moraes until the bell. 10-9 Moraes.
Round 3: Moraes back on the advance. Palomino blocks a head kick. Low kick by Palomino, who blocks a head kick behind it. One minute in. Moraes staying busy with his kicks. Two minutes in. Sharp jab from the Brazilian. Body kick lands for him. 1-2 from Palomino. Two minutes to go.
Palomino shoots in and briefly puts Moraes on his back. The latter pops up, pressed against the fence. Palomino still driving in, lands a left hand after eating an elbow and separates. One minute to go. Moraes slings out another head kick. 1-2 from Palomino, who's now on the attack. Left hook from the Peruvian. Moraes shoots, stuffed and they trade until the bell. 10-9 Moraes.
Final result: Moraes def. Palomino by unanimous decision
Phil Hawes vs. Joshua Key
Round 1: Hawes marching forward. Low kicks from Key on the back foot. Hawes clips him with a shin and Key shoots. Hawes slaps on a guillotine and rolls Key over, quickly moving to mount and going to work with elbows. One minute in. Hawes staying patient with his assault. Key uses the cage to slip out the back door and avoids an armbar, but gets taken down in the ensuing scramble. Hawes working his way back to mount against the fence and he's got it. Hawes postures up and goes to work slamming punches and elbows into Key's forearms. Key gives up his back, gets flattened out, and eats punches until the referee steps in.
Final result: Hawes def. Key by TKO (punches)