The inaugural World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 1 card was a successful debut show lead by former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and plenty of other former UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator fighters showcasing their skills.
It should be noted however, that the debut show did get off to a rocky start when the preliminary card went “dark” halfway through and confusion engulfed the MMA community. It was eventually established that this was a planned maneuver on the part of WSOF, but definitely lead to confusion during the preliminary card.
The main card on the NBC Sports Network featured the MMA debut of K1 kick-boxer Tyrone Spong facing off against MMA journeyman Travis Bartlett. From the beginning of the first round it was clear what both fighters wanted to do and that was strike. Barlett did a decent job of staying outside of Spong’s range very early on, but it didn’t last long as Spong quickly started putting on a K1 kick-boxing clinic. Every high-kick and round-house kick landed flush and Bartlett was clearly over-matched.
Finally, as the action slowed, Bartlett stepped in with his hands down and took a straight right that dropped him against the cage that ended the fight at the 3:15 mark. As the referee was calling the fight Bartlett looked confused and later admitted he was waiting for a standing eight-count (boxing rule.) Spong clearly showed he is ready for anyone at 205 and he even went as far as calling out WBC Heavyweight Boxing Champ Vitali Klitschko on Twitter later in the evening.
The next fight on the main card featured UFC veteran Miguel Torres against Marlon Moraes. Torres looked to dictate the pace early on and establish his jab, but Moraes did not agree and started a fire-fight very early on. Moraes connected with several shots and was clearly the more aggressive striker early on. As the round wore on it was much the same as Moraes continued to show he was the more aggressive fighter. The round finished with Moraes landing a tough right hook that Torres quickly brushed off in his corner.
The second round was much the same as the first. Moraes continued to be the faster and more aggressive fighter. Midway through the round Torres tried mixing things up by going for a take-down. Moraes quickly brushed this attempt off and landed a 1-2 combo that dropped Torres to the ground. Moraes was unable to finish Torres and they moved onto the the third round.
The final round started with Moraes once again pushing the pace and Torres failing to score another take-down. The key difference in this round was Torres clearly tried to be more aggressive with barrages of strike combo’s but Moraes chose to showboat instead of engaging with him. As the final round wore on, Moraes stole a take-down late in the round and the fight via split-decision. Moraes now boasts a three-fight win streak and and leaves Las Vegas very impressive showing on NBC Sports.
Next up on the card was the co-main event featuring UFC veteran Anthony “Rumble” Johnson facing off against D.J. Linderman. The first round started off with Linderman going for an early take-down which was unsuccessful. Rumble also landed a glancing blow to Linderman’s groin that slowed the action. As the round progressed though, Rumble continued to show that he was the more gifted fighter by utilizing his superior striking and movement.
Near the midway point of the round Rumble seemed to have had his eye poked as he was complaining. Linderman noticed this and started stepping in since the referee was not reacting and got caught looking as Rumble landed one of the most vicious jabs I have ever seen. Linderman immediately face-planted to the canvas with Rumble scoring the highlight-reel KO at the 3:58 mark. With that impressive victory Rumble improved to 4-0 outside the UFC and is looking for a step-up in competition for sure.
The main event of the evening featured the return of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrew Arlovski against former Strikeforce fighter Devin Cole. The fight opened with both fighters exchanging some quick jabs, which Cole then tried to work into a take-down. Arlovski saw this and did a great job of countering and forcing the clinch. Once the two were forced to separate Arlovski landed a crushing right hand that dropped Cole immediately. Arlovski pounced and landed several unanswered hammer-fists until the referee finally called a stop to the fight at the 2:37 mark via TKO. Arlovski improved to 3-0-1 in his last four with that dominate victory over the former Strikeforce veteran.
In other action, Tyson Steele shocked the world as he slipped out of a slick arm-bar attempt by Gregor Gracie and finished the Gracie fighter off with a TKO late in the first round of their contest. Former UFC fighter Josh Burkman also kept his win-streak in-tact with a hard fought victory over Gerald Harris. Blackzillian standout “JZ” Cavalcante scored a slick heel-hook submission victory over T.J. O’Brien in other action. Full fight card results are below:
Andrei Arlovski def. Devin Cole via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:37
Anthony Johnson def. D.J. Linderman via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:58
Marlon Moraes def. Miguel Torres via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)