The Fight Report: WSOF 2

| March 18, 2013 | 10:26 am | Reply

WSOF 2With World Series of Fighting throwing some money around and bringing in names, they’re making a statement in terms of buying power, but raising a question of staying power.  Regardless of future events, Saturday’s WSOF 2 is worthy of some attention.  Strikeforce, WEC and UFC cast-offs make up the majority of this card, but a few home-grown future stars litter the landscape as well.

So, let’s dig into the fights and see how some of these pan out.

Andrei Arlovkski vs. Anthony Johnson: 

A fight that no one on Earth would have considered is a bizarre reality for the WSOF main event.  Everyone is well aware of the career arc of both fighters, with Arlovski deteriorating over time and Johnson’s renal problems forcing a dramatic divisional change.  The big question is, how does a former welterweight fare against a former heavyweight champion?

Arlovski gets very little credit, mostly because of two glaring flaws: A weak chin and a lack of desire.  These red flags have been at the forefront of every Arlovski discussion for the last five years, but yet bring several positives to the fight as well. Arlovski has a wealth of boxing skills, fantastic range control, a good deal of speed for a heavyweight, and a forgotten sambo skill set that makes him deadly on the mat.  Johnson has a good deal of skills as well with his karate-styled striking game and wrestling experience, but is climbing to some ridiculous heights by touching the heavyweight division.

This is a close fight, but the thing that gets me here is Arlovski’s clear desire to do something else with his life.  While he hasn’t looked bad, he barely looks like he’s trying anymore, and the soft Arlovski of the last few years will find a driven opponent looking to do the impossible. Johnson simply wants to succeed more than Arlovski and has the speed to land consistent shots, taking a tough decision win over the former UFC champion.

Quick Reports:

Tyson Nam vs. Marlon Moraes:  A showcase of two fantastic MMA strikers, Nam comes into this bout off a stunning upset of Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas, while Moraes himself comes in from an upset of former WEC champ Miguel Torres. Both guys throw sizzling strikes in their own style, and the big question is how these styles will mesh.  While I was on Moraes to upset Torres last time out, I’m on Nam to pull a finish on Moraes due to a few faults in Moraes’ defense.  While Moraes is a crisp inside striker, he has issues with fast, straight punches due to his squared stance.  Nam is a crippling counter puncher and loves to use a lunging left straight before throwing a right hook counter to his opponents own punch.  This is exactly the kind of combination that will stun an in-fighter like Moraes and I see Nam doing major harm in this fight, getting the late TKO or decision win.

Aaron Simpson vs. Josh Burkman: Recently released UFC fighter Aaron Simpson will face veteran grappler Josh Burkman in an interesting affair.  Burkman surprised everyone with a rather lopsided victory over Gerald Harris last time out, but faces a similar and stiffer opponent in Simpson.  Simpson has the advantage in this bout, coming in having spent the last several years facing A-list opponents, all of whom are better than Josh Burkman.  While Burkman faces a major step up in competition, Simpson gets a break so to speak, and shouldn’t have much issue landing punches and hustling Burkman on the mat for a decision win.

David Branch vs. Paulo Filho: The idea someone would attempt to pay Paulo Filho to fight in America is beyond ridiculous, yet WSOF has seen fit to take the chance, placing him in the cage with David Branch.  While Filho of old was an unstoppable monster on the mat, years of drug abuse and inactivity have robbed him of almost all of his functionality at this point.  While vintage Filho would run Branch over easily, I can’t see a scenario where Branch doesn’t beat the brakes off of Filho standing or on the mat, taking a second round TKO.

Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje: One of the hottest prospects out of Colorado right now, Justin Gaethje will take a major step up in competition, facing JMMA legend Gesias Cavalcante.  Gaethje brings D-1 wrestling credentials and some great striking skills into the cage, but I feel this is too much, too soon for the young fighter.  Cavalcante isn’t elite level at this point in his career, but Gaethje brings nothing to the table he can’t counter.  I suspect Gaethje makes a spirited effort here, but most of his energy will be spent avoiding Cavalcante’s murderous top game, tapping to a submission late in the fight.

Danillo Villefort vs. Kris McCray: WSOF welcomes Villefort to the fold, whom returns after a shoulder surgery and extended rehab of two years, facing Kris McCray.  McCray had kept busy since being shown the door from the UFC, but his quality of opposition and performances have been lacking just the same.  This is a fight Villefort should win, though he’s a fighter whose style will suffer greatly from ring rust, and McCray has a great deal of physical strength to deplete his opponent’s gas tank.  Look for a sharp showing by Villefort as he works McCray over at all angles, but throttles down late to take a decision win.

WSOF 2 takes places this Saturday from the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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Category: Featured, MMA, World Series of Fighting

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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