The World Series Of Fighting will be returning to action this Friday Night with their biggest card ever for their first ever three-hour show. The event will be headlined by two title fights as Justin Gaethje defends the lightweight title against Ozzy Dugulubgov and David Branch defends the light heavyweight title against Vinny Magalhaes. Also, Shawn Jordan faces Ashley Gooch for a future heavyweight title fight and UFC veteran John Howard is in action.
Main Card (NBC Sports Network, 11pm EST.)
WSOF Lightweight Title Fight
Justin Gaethje (16-0-0) (Champion) vs. Ozzy Dugulubgov (8-2-0)
Gaethje will be making the sixth defense of his championship, last defending it against Brian Foster at the WSOF 29. Dugulubgov will enter the fight riding a three fight winning streak, which includes a win over UFC Ultimate Fighter alumni Keon Caldwell. Gaethje is the first and so far, only lightweight champion in WSOF history, none of his title defenses went past the third round. Dugulubgov will be competing for his first championship as a pro, but he did win one as an amateur fighter, that title was the New Jersey KAPMMA Amateur Lightweight Title.
Prediction: Gaethje usually just charges forward and throws strikes with reckless aggression and Dugulubgov is far better as setting up his combinations, Gaethje gets reckless and Dugulubgov catches him in the second to pull the upset, plus win the championship.
WSOF Light Heavyweight Title Fight
David Branch (18-3-0) (Champion) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (15-7-0)
Branch will be making the second defense of his championship, he last defended it against Clifford Starks at the WSOF 30. Magalhaes is currently undefeated in WSOF competition, defeating Matt Hamill and Jake Heun respectively. Branch is also the current WSOF Middleweight Champion, he last defended that belt by defeating Yushin Okami at the WSOF 15 in 2014. Magalhaes is also the current Titan Fighting Championships Light Heavyweight Champion, defeating fellow UFC veteran Jason Brilz to win that title.
Prediction: Branch is best when he can mix up the strikes, while taking the fight into the later rounds, but Magalhaes is arguably one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in MMA right now. Magalhaes’s problem is that he gasses rather quickly if he cannot get a quick finish, Branch gets the fight into the later rounds and finishes Magalhaes with strikes to keep the belt.
WSOF Lightweight Division Fight
Jason High (20-5-0) vs. Joao Zeferino (18-7-0)
High is currently undefeated thus far under the UFC banner, defeating a pair of fellow UFC veterans in Estevan Payan and Mike Ricci. Zeferino will be competing for the first time since losing a welterweight title fight to Jon Fitch at the WSOF 30. High did fight four times under the UFC banner, but was released by the promotion after an altercation with a referee following a loss at UFC Fight Night 42. Zeferino did compete in the WSOF Lightweight Tournament in 2015, losing to Brian Foster in the finals of the tournament.
Prediction: Zeferino will want to get the fight to the ground and keep in on the ground, but High can wrestle defensively while using his striking game to set up the knockout, High gets a close decision win here.
WSOF Lightweight Division Fight
Luiz Firmino (19-6-0) vs. Brian Foster (26-9-0)
Firmino is currently undefeated in WSOF competition, with a pair of wins coming over UFC veterans Jacob Volkmann and Tyson Griffin. Foster will be competing for the first time since losing a lightweight title fight to Justin Gaethje at the WSOF 29. Firmino is also the former Championship Fighting Alliance Lightweight Champion, he defeated fellow WSOF veteran Luis Palomino to win that title. Foster did win the WSOF Lightweight Tournament in 2015, defeating Joao Zeferino in the finals of the tournament.
Prediction: Foster will use his striking game to set up the takedowns, but the ground is exactly where Firmino wants the fight, Firmino gets a decision win here.
WSOF Welterweight Division Fight
John Howard (24-12-0) vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (9-1-0)
Howard is a UFC veteran who has already competed once in the WSOF, defeating Mike Arrant by decision at the WSOF 31. Nurmagomedov is currently undefeated in the WSF as well and he has not suffered a defeat in over two years’ time. Howard is coming off of a second run in the UFC, where he won three of seven fights the second time around. Nurmagomedov is the brother of UFC veteran Khabib Nurmagomedov, the lone loss of his career came in the first round of the 2014 Sochi Star Cup Tournament.
Prediction: Howard and Nurmagomedov will both want to use their wrestling to get the fight to the ground, but Nurmagomedov has the stronger wrestling game and he gets the decision win here.
WSOF Heavyweight Division Fight
Ashley Gooch (10-4-0) vs. Shawn Jordan (18-7-0)
Gooch will be making his WSOF debut in this fight and he is the former CES MMA Heavyweight Champion, he vacated the belt when he signed with the WSOF. Jordan will be competing for the first time since his UFC contract expired, his last bout with the promotion was a loss to Ruslan Magomedov at UFC 192. Gooch will be fighting a UFC veteran for the second time, as he fought UFC veteran Joe Yager back at the WMMA USA 2012 Tournament event in a non-tournament fight. Jordan will be fighting outside of the UFC for the first time in nearly fives, the last promotion he fought in before coming to the UFC was Strikeforce.
Prediction: Jordan and Gooch both have a lot of power for heavyweights, but the difference here will be Jordan’s wrestling game, which he uses to get a second round TKO win and a future heavyweight title shot.
Preliminary Card (WSOF.com, 8pm EST.) Quick Picks
Timur Valiev over Chris Gutierrez
Bekbulat Magomedov over Jesse Brock
Abu Azaitar over Michael Arrant
Magomed Magomedkerimov over Bobby Cooper
Bryce Mitchell over Brandon Phillips