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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING 9
MARCH 29, 2014
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
-Todd Harris opens up the broadcast and runs down the fights that are coming up on tonight's card before throwing right to the first fight of the night.
FIGHT ONE: OZZY DUGULUBGOV VS. JOHNNY NUNEZ (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Nunez came out swinging. Dugulubgov threw a hard kick to the body, but Nunez caught it and shot in. After a brief delay, he completed the takedown. He passed to half guard. Dugulubgov worked to his feet but Nunez pressured back to the cage. Dugulubgov tried a trip but Nunez popped back up off a counter. Dugulubgov had double underhooks and landed a hard knee at the cage. Nunez fired off a couple of his own. Nunez tried to power out but was kept on the cage. Dugulubgov tried and failed to complete a trip, but he dropped for a double leg and finished it at the cage. Nunez tried to set up for a guillotine, but was in a bad position for it. Dugulubgov tried to pull him off the cage, then dropped for a leg lock. Nunez easily got out and got to his feet, but Dugulubgov was right back on him with double underhooks in the clinch. Dugulubgov scored a second takedown just before the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-10. Very little actually happened that round. Nunez started well with his early takedown and a bit of damage on the ground, then Dugulubgov controlled the clinch and scored two more takedowns to even things up.
ROUND TWO: Nunez shot in early, and as Dugulubgov tried to sprawl, Nunez latched on a D'Arce choke. Dugulubgov defended well and Nunez lost the hold after a bit. Dugulubgov drove forward and took Nunez down at the cage. Nunez looked to his corner, then tried to lock on a guillotine, but Dugulubgov easily got free and transitioned to his back. He got both hooks in and flattened Nunez out. He went for a choke but didn't get it. Nunez managed to escape as Dugulubgov got high on his back. He came forward with a short combination but it was right back into the clinch. They traded knees to the body. Dugulubgov dropped down and eventually completed a takedown before the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Dugulubgov. Another close round, as Nunez had the close D'Arce choke attempt, but then spent much of the round with Dugulubgov on his back. Could be another 10-10 because of that; neither has pulled away, but Nunez being in disadvantageous positions won't help him.
ROUND THREE: Dugulubgov landed an uppercut and then a high kick, but Nunez blocked it. Nunez then shot in, picked Dugulubgov up and slammed him down. He worked in some ground and pound from half guard. Nunez tried to work in some eblows, but nothing he was throwing had much behind it. Nunez tried to pass out of the half guard, but Dugulubgov had his leg caught. Dugulubgov tried to get up but Nunez powered him right back to the mat. Nunez got in an elbow as he continued trying to stay busy from the top. He landed a few more. Dugulubgov tried to grab for a leg lock but Nunez stepped out. Dugulubgov got to his knees and shot in. Nunez grabbed for a head lock but Dugulubgov stayed on the takedown attempt. He eventually dragged Nunez to the ground with less than a minute left. He took Nunez's back, but he couldn't do much from there. Nunez threw some strikes behind him. He tried to turn and roll Dugulubgov over and they slammed to the ground. Dugulubgov held position to the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Nunez. Evened things up for me. I have this a draw, though 29-28 either way is feasible depending on how the first round was scored.
WINNER: Nunez via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*+) Not a good fight, though a little surprised by the scores there. 30-27 means Nunez got that second round, which I suppose I can see on the closeness of the D'Arce attempt, but he was also on the defensive for most of that round. It was just a bad fight regardless.
FIGHT TWO: JOSH BURKMAN VS. TYLER STINSON (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Stinson took the center to start. Burkman jumped in with a big right and Stinson returned fire. Burkman tossed out a side kick but Stinson side-stepped it. Todd Harris continued saying Burkman was a former Champion hoping to get his title back. Obviously missed where his fight with Carl was for the Inaugural Welterweight Title in the WSOF. Burkman landed a body strike and Stinson countered. Stinson landed a couple of strikes as Burkman tried to move on. He used his reach well again for another combo. Burkman landed a right. Stinson tossed out a couple of kicks. Burkman landed a brutal left hook and Stinson went down. He landed another punch on the ground but Stinson was out and the ref stepped in. Nice finish from Burkman to get back in the win column.
WINNER: Burkman via KO at 2:15 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Really nice knockout from Burkman, but man, Todd Harris' commentary is so bad it's distracting. Had he called Burkman a former Champion once, or if he had corrected himself after the mistake it'd be one thing, but continuously driving home the idea that Burkman lost a title to Carl when that was the Inaugural title fight at 170 lbs. for WSOF is ridiculous. That he actually called that fight makes the mistake inexcusable, especially repeated. It's also far from his first errors in this position, and it should be getting embarrassing to listen to at this stage for NBCSN and the WSOF.
FIGHT THREE: YUSHIN OKAMI VS. SVETLOZAR SAVOV (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Okami is a hulking beast compared to Savov. Looks like a middleweight against a welterweight at best here. Savov lunged in with a right hand. They wound up clinching in the center, and Okami scored an early takedown into side control. Savov grabbed a leg to get it to half guard, but Okami quickly passed to mount. Okami went to set up an arm triangle choke but Savov escaped the hold and the mount back to half guard. Okami passed back to full mount. Okami sat up to land strikes. Savov desperately tried to get into a better position. Okami got some space to drop a few strikes. Okami got high in the guard and landed a series of big strikes. Savov briefly got it to half guard again in a scramble, but Okami moved back and landed strikes to the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. I don't know if there was enough offense to warrant a 10-8, but it was close.
ROUND TWO: Savov threw a kick that didn't hit a target. Okami sidestepped a strike and essentially body checked Savov to the cage. He stalked, closed the distance, grabbed a clinch, scored another trip takedown, and quickly passed around to north-south. It shifted to side control and right back to mount for Okami. This is such a ridiculous matchup. Savov tried to buck Okami off but failed. He shifted between holding on for dear life and trying to buck out, while Okami continued to work from the top. Okami landed a big right, then a few strikes in combination. He tried to sit up to land more strikes. Savov continued trying to buck him off to no avail. Okami landed a hard right hand. He shoved his face down and landed a few strikes. He got in with several elbows as well. Okami tried to grab a side choke, but Savov got loose. Okami got too high with the mount and Savov escaped, but Okami immediately dropped back down to mount. Okami went to the arm triangle choke again. This time he locked it on and secured it, forcing the tap.
WINNER: Okami via submission (arm triangle choke) at 4:46 of the second round
STAR RATING: (n/a) Is there anything to take away from a fight like that? Okami is still a top ten middleweight in the world, and he did as expected against a name few had heard prior to tonight. It's sad that this is the level of fighter he'll be facing at this stage, but all that performance did was solidify that Okami's just infinitely better than the random opponent he was booked against.
FIGHT FOUR: MARLON MORAES VS. JOSH RETTINGHOUSE (BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Moraes opened up with a brutal leg kick. Then he knocked Rettinghouse down with a left hook. Rettinghouse covered up well. Moraes attacked with a few more strikes, but Rettinghouse regained his composure in a sprawl. He grabbed for a single leg and got to his feet. Moraes missed a right but hurt Rettinghouse with a left. Rettinghouse covered up again as Moraes threw out some more strikes. Back to a bit of a sprawl from Moraes as Rettinghouse grabbed his leg. Moraes tried to set up a rear naked choke in a very awkward position but couldn't. Rettinghouse got him turned around and scored a takedown of his own. Rettinghouse landed a couple of strikes. He landed a hard forearm. Moraes went for a leg lock but Rettinghouse broke free and got to his feet. Moraes landed a hard uppercut. Rettinghouse shot in under a strike but got stuffed. Rettinghouse landed a leg kick and Moraes grazed him with a counter right. Moraes checked a leg kick. Moraes threw a spinning kick to the body. Rettinghouse slipped on a kick but popped up. They traded blows at the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. Strong opening round. Rettinghouse is tough, though. He took some big shots and regained his composure well.
ROUND TWO: Rettinghouse briefly caught a kick to the body. Rettinghouse landed a hard body kick. Moraes kicked out his back leg with a hard strike. Rettinghouse popped back up, though. The action slowed down as things took a tentative turn. Moraes got in with a leg kick. Rettinghouse got in a knee to the body. They traded a few kicks, but things were slowed significantly down from the first round. Moraes landed hard kick to the lead leg. Rettinghouse threw out a push kick. Rettinghouse popped in with a couple of strikes. Rettinghouse threw a side kick to the body. Rettinghouse shot in with a single, but Moraes got in a kick and helf off the attempt. Moraes landed another leg kick. Moraes landed a hard left hook. Rettinghouse threw up his arms like it did nothing, but his initial reaction betrayed that idea. The round came to a close.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. Did the more significant damage, but not much at all happened that round.
ROUND THREE: They traded jabs. Moraes landed a hard leg kick. He tossed out another kick to the body. Rettinghouse shot in but got stuffed. Rettinghouse landed a right. Moraes connected to the nose and Rettinghouse was bleeding out of his nose. Moraes started going back to the lead leg with kicks and Rettinghouse was hurting. He landed another to that lead leg. Brutal accumulation of strikes to that leg. Yet another and Rettinghouse grimaced and grabbed at the leg. Moraes continued the assault as Rettinghouse changed stances to protect that leg. Moraes landed a combo and hurt Moraes with a left. He had to switch back and took another kick to that left leg. Moraes landed a jab. Moraes scored with a hard right hook to the body. He's just picking Rettinghouse apart this round. He landed another nasty leg kick. Moraes stalked and landed another. He missed a spinning wheel kick. He landed a hard leg kick and caught him with a brutal knee to the face as Rettinghouse shot in. Rettinghouse covered up and Moraes landed some brutal knees to thebody. Moraes grabbed for a choke late but Rettinghouse survived to the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Moraes. Just a dissection, and I'm shocked Rettinghouse is still walking right now.
ROUND FOUR: Moraes damaged the leg again and Rettinghouse dropped to his back. He scooted forward and tried to goad Moraes in. He finally got to his feet and came forward with a head kick. Extremely gutsy from Rettinghouse, who refuses to go away. He shot in, but Moraes worked out. Moraes dropped him with a straight left counter. He dropped to his back and butt scooted, but Moraes backed up. Rettinghouse finally stood again. He landed a right. Rettinghouse threw a right kick and his left knee buckled. Moraes landed a hard kick as Rettinghouse scooted again. He hopped back up. He's going to have serious leg damage after this. Moraes landed a short combo, countering a left thrown. Moraes landed a jab. Moraes landed a kick and stuffed a shot. Moraes wasn't doing a ton at this stage, just picking spots to attack and not leaving any openings. Moraes countered a couple of strikes and landed a few hard rights and lefts of his own. He landed a kick to the right leg as Rettinghouse switched stances again. Moraes landed a hard right hand. Rettinghouse slipped on a spinning kick at the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. This is just dragging out now. Moraes is in clear control and isn't doing any more than he needs to. Most fighters would be done by now, but give Rettinghouse credit for his guts here. This is brutal damage to his legs.
ROUND FIVE: Moraes stuffed a shot and landed a hard strikes. Rettinghouse missed a high kick. Moraes landed a kick to the right leg again. Rettinghouse threw out a couple punches and kicks. Moraes nearly buckled him again with another kick. Moraes landed a punch to the body. Moraes popped in with a couple of strikes. Moraes landed another leg kick. Rettinghouse shot in and was forcefully shoved back. Back to that left leg with a couple more kicks and Rettinghouse dropped, but again got to his feet. Rettinghouse tossed out a kick to the body. He threw a high kick but it looked like his leg went out on him. Still, he got back up to his feet with a minute left. Moraes landed a hard body punch. He landed another body punch. He threw a really nice jumping spin kick to the head, but Rettinghouse blocked it. Moraes finally shot in and scored a takedown and landed some strikes on the ground to end the fight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Moraes. He played it safe, which is fine, even if it wasn't that enjoyable down the stretch. That third round was a thing of violent beauty, but he just held back a bit from then on. As for Rettinghouse, he really should have just let things be after that third round. Proving your toughness is fine to a point, but he risked serious damage that could keep him out a significant amount of time by continuing.
WINNER: Moraes via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44)
STAR RATING: (**) Moraes really did look like he was trying not to permanently injure Rettinghouse down the stretch, because he probably could have. He knew he was well ahead, and didn't get overly aggressive, while still firing out enough strikes to take each round. Still, the last ten minutes ranged from kind of dull to uncomfortable, and Rettinghouse's corner, the ref, the doctors, etc., should have probably just saved him from himself.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: STEVE CARL VS. ROUSIMAR PALHARES (WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Carl walked out and threw an overhand right, but Palhares just shot in and scored a takedown. Carl grabbed the arms and tried to hold him in tight in his guard. Carl went for the triangle, but Palhares got out and grabbed for the leg lock. They rolled a couple of times, but he locked on the heel hook and Carl tapped quickly. Thankfully Palhares let it go as the ref got in. He held on maybe an extra second, but nothing like the Pierce fight last year. Still, it's touchy enough he should almost face sanctions again. It's just ridiculous because it happens far too often.
WINNER: Palhares via submission (inverted heel hook) at 1:09 of the first round
STAR RATING: (*) It is what it is. Palhares once again didn't release a hold on a vehement tap, and it took a somewhat aggressive stop by the ref for him to release. On replay it looked worse than it did live, and though it's not near as egregious as the Pierce hold last October, the fact that it continues happening is just unacceptable. He's lost any benefit of the doubt on these holds, and that another fighter came up limping and possibly injured as Carl appeared is condemnation enough.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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