By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING 1
NOVEMBER 3, 2012
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====Preliminary Card Quick Results=====
-Dave Branch def. Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante def. T.J. O'Brien via submission (heel hook) at 1:03 of the first round
-Josh Burkman def. Gerald Harris via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
-Steve Carl def. Ramico Blackmon via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:11 of the first round
-Brian Cobb def. Ronys Torres via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
-Tyson Steele def. Gregor Gracie via TKO at 4:52 of the first round
=====Main Televised Card=====
-Just before the bottom of the hour, NBC Sports Network airs the "next on" promo for the show, highlighting Gregor Gracie, whose fight was not saved for the live broadcast. It was reportedly filmed, however, so it could make the broadcast if there's time.
-Todd Harris opens the broadcast and welcomes fans in to the show. Having a familiar voice for this network (Harris was the longtime play by play voice for the WEC on Versus) is definitely a good way to bring the show an air of legitimacy among casual fans. He brings in WSOF President Ray Sefo to discuss the event, and they run down the night's fight card. Bas Rutten is then in on color commentary for tonight's event.
FIGHT ONE: TYRONE SPONG VS. TRAVIS BARTLETT (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
-Spong has Rashad Evans in his corner for his MMA debut. Very excited for this one.
ROUND ONE: Spong stood in the center and judged distance with his jab. He landed a hard straight kick. He landed a solid body kick. He went up high with a big kick. He landed another hard head kick and Bartlett dropped. He wasn't out, and Spong let him back up. Spong again went to the head kick. It only grazed Bartlett that time. He cut Bartlett off and kept the pressure on. He landed a hard knee to the body, then landed a leg kick. He landed a hard body punch. He got in another knee after a big punch. Bartlett was cut above the left ear. Spong landed a right and another leg kick. Spong landed the body punch again. Spong landed a vicious hook to the body and kept Bartlett's back on the cage. He landed a left hook to the body. He got in again. He landed a huge straight right that sent Bartlett down and walked off. That was a slaughter.
WINNER: Spong via KO at 3:15 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Exactly what was expected out of Spong. Bartlett was simply a body to put in his way in his MMA debut, and it was a complete mismatch. We'll get a feel for his game when he has to face someone with some grappling skills, but his striking game is going to be among the best in the sport right off the bat with his background. At the very least he'll be a lot of fun to watch on the feet.
-Spong admitted he was waiting for an eight count after the knockdown, joking that he needs to get used to finishing guys after knockdowns.
-We get a little pre-interview with Miguel Torres, giving some background info and some training scenes ahead of his bout.
FIGHT TWO: MIGUEL TORRES VS. MARLON MORAES (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Moraes landed a couple of early leg kicks. He went high with one but Torres blocked it. Torres threw a leg kick that was blocked and Moraes landed a big punch that hurt Torres. He landed a couple more big strikes against the cage that wobbled Torres, then he threw him to the ground. Torres tried to grab for a leg lock, but Moraes got free and to his feet. Moraes landed a spinning side kick to the body. He threw an overhand right that was partially blocked, but he kept Torres on the cage. He landed a hard right and Torres landed a left counter. Torres caught a kick and grabbed a clinch, but Moraes broke free. Moraes missed a windmill kick up high. Moraes landed a couple hard kicks to the leg. Moraes landed another hard right. Moraes countered again and landed another right. Torres began bleeding from the top of the head after rolling through. Torres landed a jab. He landed a leg kick. Torres landed another jab. Moraes went high with a kick but it didn't connect. He got in with a leg kick. Torres seemed to make a couple adjustments as he held Moraes at distance for the remainder of the round. Moraes landed a jab near the end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. He was a knockdown away from a 10-8, as Torres had very little effective offense. Surprising first round, but I'm impressed with Moraes thus far.
ROUND TWO: Moraes tried to walk Torres down early. Torres landed a strike and they stood in the center and exchanged a couple strikes. Torres circled around the outside. He popped in with a jab. Moraes landed a hard leg kick. They traded kicks. Moraes got in with a nice left hook. Moraes landed another combination after ducking under a punch from Torres. Moraes landed another hard leg kick. Torres tried to shoot in for a single leg, but Moraes easily got away. Torres tried to engage and landed a jab, but he ate a counter strike. Moraes landed another hard leg kick. They each missed a couple of big strikes. The crowd booed as the action got a bit tentative. Quick to boo tonight. Moraes landed a hard spinning side kick to the body. Torres landed a couple kicks to the body. Torres got in a short combo, but then got knocked off balance by the counter from Moraes. They traded jabs. Moraes went high with a kick that grazed Torres. Torres landed a couple more jabs. Torres landed a hard right. Torres got in a jab at the end of the frame.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. Closer round. Very close round, actually, but I think Moraes was still more effective with his strikes, and did more damage.
ROUND THREE: Moraes landed a leg kick early. Moraes landed another really hard leg kick shortly thereafter. He landed a nice right as he ducked under Torres' punch. Moraes scored with the leg kick again. Torres threw a few kicks of his own. Moraes shrugged off a takedown attempt. He went high with a kick that was blocked. The boo birds were out already. It's that kind of crowd. The leg kick again landed from Moraes. He blocked a high kick from Torres. Torres landed a solid jab. Moraes again scored with the leg kick. Torres landed a kick, Moraes countered with a kick. Moraes threw a spinning, jumping kick that almost connected. They threw furiously in the center, but neither really connected. Torres got in a solid left in an exchange. Torres landed some more jabs as Moraes tried to walk him down. Moraes then shot in and scored a takedown. Torres tried to attack from his back, but Moraes landed a couple strikes in his guard. Torres threw strikes from his back and Moraes landed a couple from the top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. Another very close round. Could go either way, but again Moraes seemed to have more power behind his strikes and seemed to be more effective throughout.
WINNER: Moraes via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) Despite the boos from an impatient crowd, this was a good fight. Moraes, especially in the first round, let everyone know he was here to fight, and he put forth an entertaining and mostly impressive performance against a longtime veteran. This is a big, big win for him, and he should get some notice from the MMA world with this one. The judges almost screwed him out of it, but he got the nod.
-Moraes will face off against Tyson Nam in January, who knocked out Bellator Champ Eduardo Dantas in Brazil earlier this year. That fight will be awesome.
FIGHT THREE: ANTHONY "RUMBLE" JOHNSON VS. D.J. LINDERMAN (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Johnson threw an early high kick but it was blocked. Linderman tried to rush in and Johnson got in a knee. Johnson threw a kick that went to the groin and Linderman doubled over in pain. Johnson landed a left, then went for the head kick again but didn't land flush. Linderman landed a left. Johnson got in a good short left. He went high again and missed. He landed a couple inside leg kicks. He landed a solid body kick. Johnson landed a hard leg kick that tripped Linderman up. He continued the attack after Linderman got up. Johnson landed a couple hard leg kicks. He shot in for a takedown and scored it. Johnson landed some body punches and tried to get some separation. Linderman rolled to the turtled position, and Johnson took his back. He landed some strikes. Linderman turned around and tried to grab a headlock. Johnson landed a couple of hard knees to the body. Linderman stood and ate a knee to the body. Johnson got poked in the eye, but Herb Dean didn't see it and told him to keep fighting. Linderman tried to attack and Johnson on instinct threw a HUGE right hand and Linderman crashed out cold. Wow, what a sequence there.
WINNER: Johnson via KO at 3:58 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) That finishing sequence was insane. Johnson was bothered by the eye poke, as he should be given his history with eye pokes (see: Burns, Kevin), but he delivered the kill shot nonetheless. It was a brutal punch and collapse, and a huge stoppage considering Linderman's never been finished before. Johnson's now won four straight fights in 2012 since his loss to Vitor Belfort and UFC release. He could be back in the Octagon soon enough.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FOUR: ANDREI ARLOVSKI VS. DEVIN COLE (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cole looked to press in early and Arlovski stayed patient on the outside. Cole landed some jabs early, Arlovski fired back. Cole shot in for a single leg. Arlovski held it off and they battled in the clinch. Arlovski finally broke free. He dropped Cole with a shot, then landed a couple strikes as Cole covered up on the ground and it was all over. That was quick. And not surprising.
WINNER: Arlovski via TKO at 2:37 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**-) There wasn't much to it. It essentially came down to one big punch landing after nothing much happened before that. Still, Arlovski picked up another win; where he goes from here is anyone's guess, but he could have a home with the WSOF for the time being.
-Thanks for joining us here tonight for a good debut from the World Series of Fighting. The production was solid, the commentary not entirely terrible, and the fights were enjoyable. Outside of the upset of Miguel Torres, the guys they had set up to win did, and they'll hopefully be able to get more events on NBC Sports Network because of this. More solid, enjoyable MMA action on a wide platform is a good thing for fans who want to see it.