World Series of Fighting 2 preview for Atlantic City

March 21, 2013


World Series of Fighting 2 preview for Atlantic City

John Boldrick – On Saturday the World Series of Fighting returns for its sophomore foray into the world of Mixed Martial Arts with World Series of Fighting 2.  Much like the first event, the card is filled with big fight veterans and even some lesser known names looking to make an impact. The main event will also seem familiar to fans. This event is crucial for WSOF, as they recently signed a number of UFC veterans. None of the signed will compete here, but this card must be a success in order for them to be able to hold a card in June. Enough looking far ahead though, let’s focus on Saturday night in Atlantic City.

The main event for the card was built entirely at the last event. Andrei Arlovski versus Anthony Rumble Johnson is a matchup of two winners from November. Back then, Arlovski was able to KO Devin Cole, while Rumble downed an over matched D.J. Linderman almost as quickly. It may not be the most logical fight rankings wise, but the fight is a battle between the two top, most well known stars the organization has to offer.

It looked like Arlovski’s time was over. After leaving the UFC, he beat Roy Nelson before going on a four fight losing streak. The losses came to top ten fighters, but it appeared that Arlovski’s chin had faded and his time in the sport was coming to an end. Not so. Since his last fight in Strikeforce, The Pitbull has gone 4-0 (1). His kickboxing has looked as slick as ever, while proving his cardio is top notch in the division. This fight sees Arlovski return to the continental United States, a place he has only fought three times in the last three years.

His opponent will be making his heavyweight debut. A former welterweight Johnson was faced his share of weigh in woes in the past year. His previous problems have led to fans claiming his fights are contested at “Rumble weight”. Joking and weight class problems aside, Johnson has been very successful since leaving the UFC. He’s 4-0 and hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to cut 70 pounds to fight. His kickboxing is all power, and can end the fight at any moment. Johnson also has some seriously underrated wrestling, although it has yet to be tested against someone as big as Arlovski.

The Co-Main event is a battle of two fighters who recently scored some big upsets. Like it or not, Marlon Moraes was brought into WSOF to lose. He was matched up with Miguel Torres at the first event to get ran over by the former WEC champ. The thing is, no one gave Moraes the message. Using his speed and surprising power, Moraes was able to outpoint the former champion, winning a split decision. Moraes does have a tendency to get finish though, as he has been stopped in all four of his losses.

Much like his opponent, Tyson Nam wouldn’t accept being the underdog. So, when he stepped in to face Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas in Brazil, he made it clear he didn’t want to be an underdog any longer. Nam knocked Dantas out in just over a minute and a half to put the world on notice. Here, Nam makes his WSOF debut on the strength of a four fight win streak. He’s also finished three of his last four fights, which could play a big part in this one.

In middleweight action, a fallen star returns to action. Paulo Filho just hasn’t been the same since a 2008 bout with Chael Sonnen. Rumors continue to swirl about what contributed to the down fall, but one is for sure, he hasn’t been the same. While Filho has fought 12 times since, with a 7-3-2 record, he just hasn’t been the same. He’s fought once in the past year and a half, although it was a win over Ninja Rua. If the “old Filho” shows up, expect to see some amazing submissions and top control. If not, well it may be a long night.

His opponent for the night is former UFC fighter Dave Branch. Branch has been successful since leaving the promotion, going 3-1. In November he scored a decision victory over Dustin Jacoby. The Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter is well versed in submissions, but also has a solid, well rounded game. Four of Branch’s last five wins have come via decision, which could be a due to his step up in competition, as he previously got the finish in all of his wins. Branch has been tapped once before, by Rousimar Palhares, so if Filho locks in a submission, it could get interesting.

A welterweight collision between two former UFC main stays is the second fight on the main card. Josh Burkman hasn’t fought in the octagon since 2008, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been successful. Since his release, he’s gone 6-1 including a win over Gerald Harris at the inaugural WSOF event. His only loss during that time was to current UFC welterweight Jordan Mein. The People’s Warrior’s may be working heavily on his submissions for this fight, as he faces a tough wrestler in this bout.

Saturday marks the return of Aaron Simpson, and if you thought he was still in the UFC, you aren’t alone. Simpson’s contract after his last UFC fight, a loss to Mike Pierce, and it simply wasn’t renewed. Simpson signed with WSOF and makes his debut here. It will be his second fight at welterweight. He dropped his first one to Pierce after dominating the first round of their fight. Simpson is a very streaky fighter, owning win streaks of eight and three fights in his career. He’s 1-2 in his last three, alternating wins and losses. Simpson will likely use his polished wrestling technique, although he does have exceptional hands.

Kicking off the main card is an intriguing battle of youth versus experience. Gesias Cavalcante was once one of the biggest stars in Japan. The former Dream and Hero’s star started out his career going 14-1-1, with eight of those fights in the land of the rising sun. It it’s the same JZ of old though, as the years have seemly caught up with him a bit. He’s gone 3-5 since and has struggled on American Soil. Last time out, JZ submitted T.J. O’Brien in a little over a minute. The fight before that, he was KO’ed for the first time in his career. While it may not be the JZ of old, he’s still a dangerous foe for anyone.

Across the cage from Cavalcante will be 24 year-old Justin Gaethje. He may not have as many fights as his opponent, but Gaethje is undefeated in his career. His biggest win came in October of 2012 when he stopped Drew Fickett by TKO just 12 seconds into the fight. It wasn’t that surprising though, as Gaethje has three wins in the first round. The youngster possesses some strong standup, as five of his seven wins have come by way of (T) KO. He’s also got a slam KO on his hands, which is interesting. The youngster should look to push the pace in this one and take the fight to JZ.


Main Card

–          Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Rumble Johnson

–          Marlon Moraes vs. Tyson Nam

–          Paulo Filho vs. David Branch

–          Josh Burkman vs. Aaron Simpson

–          JZ Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje


–          Waylon Lowe vs. Cameron Dollar

–          Rick Glenn vs. Alexandre Pimentel

–          Kris McCray vs. Danillo Villefort

–          Igor Gracie vs. Richard Patishnock

–          Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Chris Wade



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