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WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill Preview and Picks

Griffin Tobey



On February 12th, the World Series of Fighting comes to Canada in a Canadian dominated card. The event will be held at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is highlighted by a Bantamweight title fight between Marlon Moraes and undefeated TUF veteran Josh Hill. It will be a very interesting card, shown on NBCSN. This is the WSOF 18 preview and picks. 

Preliminary Card
Andrew McInnes (5-1, Edmonton, Alberta) vs. Cody McKenzie (15-6, Spokane, WA)
The night begins with a welterweight matchup. Mcinnes is on a 5 fight win streak since he lost his professional debut in 2011. He has never gone to a decision and has only gone to the second round once. He holds the rank of a black belt in BJJ and all 5 of his wins have come by submission. McKenzie fought on The Ultimate Fighter season 12 and began his career with 12 straight wins. He advanced to the quarterfinals in the TUF house and had a 7 fight UFC career afterwards. He retired from fighting on December 18th of 2014 and is back now. This should be a grapplers dream fight.
Pick: McInnes via Submission

Spencer Jebb (9-3, Grande Prairie, Alberta) vs. Mark Drummond (6-2, Edmonton, Alberta)
The second fight on the card is between two people who are on very hot streaks. Jebb is on a 7 fight win streak since going 2-3 in his first 5 fights. Drummond lost his professional debut and since has went 6-1. Jebb is a very good standup fighter and if given the chance can absolutely dominate his opponent and dictate the pace of the fight. Drummond is a very good standup fighter and has wins by Knockout, TKO, Submission, and Decision throughout his career.
Pick: Jebb via TKO

Dan Lariviere (3-2, Gatineau, Quebec) vs. Garrett Nybaken (6-6, Edmonton, Alberta)
The next bout of the night is a lightweight tussle between two men who have had very up and down careers. Lariviere is coming off a loss and is looking to get back in the win column. He is a very good ground fighter, two of his three wins have come from submission and he has never been submitted. He is facing a man who has submitted an opponent 4 times, as well as being submitted 4 times. Nybaken has had a very up and down career, he won his last fight and has only won back to back bouts once.

Pick: Nybaken via Decision

Ali Mokdad (6-3, Windsor, Ontario) vs. Matt Baker (11-7, Kamloops, BC)
This is a fight with two very exciting middleweights. Mokdad started his career with a 5 fight winning streak, but is 1-3 in his last 4 fights. He has, however, never been finished before and is a solid ground fighter, holding 4 submission victories. He is facing one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. Matt Baker holds 6, 23, 24, 62, and 81 second finishes under his belt. He is a very well rounded fighter and although he is exciting, has had an up and down career. If Baker is able to keep the fight standing he is en route to another quick finish but if it goes to the ground Mokdad should be able to submit him, it will be a very interesting fight.
Pick: Baker via TKO

Marcus Hicks (19-24, Edmonton, Alberta) vs. Graham Park (3-1, Edmonton, Alberta)
Journeyman Marcus Hicks has competed in 23 different organizations throughout his 43 fight career. However in 43 fights he has only gone to a decision once. He was looking to break out onto the big stage of MMA when he had a 4 fight win streak last year, but was submitted in his last bout. The incredibly experienced Hicks will be facing off against the newcomer Graham Park. Park has 39 less fights than Hicks. He has never gone to a decision and is on a three fight win streak since losing to Drummond in his professional debut. Experience should win over athleticism here, as Hicks will take Park down and win this fight by submission.
Pick: Hicks via Submission

Hakeem Dawodu (3-0, Calgary, Alberta) vs. Tristan Johnson (9-5, Jordantown, Nova Scotia)
The main card kicks off with a bout between two very exciting featherweights. This will be the first fight on the televised card and should be a very exciting insight into the very fun featherweight division. Hakeem Dawodu has not spent a lot of time in the cage. In fact, he has spent only 10 minutes and 38 seconds total in the cage, finishing all 3 of his opponents. He is a very talented kickboxer and has two knockouts on his record. He is facing Tristan Johnson, who, after winning his first 6 professional fights, has gone 3-5 including going 1-2 in his last three fights. He did win his last fight, however, and will be looking to begin another winning streak.
Pick: Dawodu via TKO

Mukai Maromo (8-4, Harare, Zimbabwe) vs. Jose Rodriguez (7-3, Saskatoon, Saskathchewan)
“The Afrikan Assassin” Mukai Maromo returns to the cage for the first time in a year and a half against Jose Rodriguez. Maromo is coming off of two losses and is looking to get back in the win column. The first time he lost two in a row in his career he followed it with 5 straight wins and is hoping to get some of the same magic back. He is fighting Jose Rodriguez, who is fighting in his home country. Rodriguez, a very solid all around fighter, is coming off of a loss and has never lost two straight before. It should be a very good fight.
Pick: Maromo by Decision

Shane Campbell (10-2, Kelowna, BC) vs. Derek Boyle (13-6, Lethbridge, Alberta)
The co-main event of the evening features two very exciting welterweights looking to shake up the division. Campbell is one of the most popular warriors in the division. He is a very talented and well rounded martial artist and is looking to extend his winning streak to three fights against Boyle. Boyle is a very good stand up fighter who knows how to win fights. He is on a three fight win streak and is looking to make a statement against Campbell. This will surely be a very exciting co-main event.
Pick: Campbell via Decision

Marlon Moraes (13-4, Palm Beach Gardens, FL) vs. Josh Hill (10-0, Hamilton, Ontario)
And now for your main event of the evening is a Bantamweight title fight. The challenger Josh “The Gentleman” Hill facing off against the Champion Marlon Moraes. Moraes, the Brazilian, has not lost in nearly 3 years and holds the fastest knockout in WSOF history when he beat Carson Beebe at WSOF 6. This guy has been a part of the World Series of Fighting since WSOF 1 and is one of the best bantamweights in the world. He is facing off against Josh Hill, who participated in TUF 18. Hill has never lost a professional fight and is looking to continue that streak against Moraes. This should make for an incredibly interesting Main Event to cap off an incredibly interesting card.
Pick: Moraes via Decision

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UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event



Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.

GDANSK, POLAND – OCTOBER 21: (R-L) Darren Till of England punches Donald Cerrone in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Ergo Arena on October 21, 2017 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.

He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.

In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.

UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.

The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.

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Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans



The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Twin River Casino, Lincoln, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of

Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.

For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.

Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.

Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.

CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash. 

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Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July



With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event. 

It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.

The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.

Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.

The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.

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