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WSOF 22: Palharas vs. Shields Preview

Iain MacMillan



The World Series of Fighting is putting on their 6th event of 2015 this Saturday and it may be one of the most intriguing cards in the promotions short history. Two title fights will be displayed as the co-main event features featherweight champion Marlon Moraes as he attempts to defend his WSOF strap vs. Sheymon da Silva Moraes. The cards main event has surprisingly flown under the radar as MMA grappling legends Jake Shields and Rousimar Palhares fight for the promotions Welterweight belt. This card has everything you want in an MMA event; young and talented prospects as well as seasoned and proven veterans.

Main Event: Rousimar Palharas (17-6) vs. Jake Shields (31-7-1)
This is a fight that could have happened in the UFC but it never came to fruition. Palharas was cut from the promotion due to a history of bad sportsmanship, and Shields was released for what many believed were unfair reasons like being a gatekeeper that would never reach the top. Now, after both establishing success in the WSOF, they meet in a clash for the title as Rousimar Palharas attempts to defend the belt he won vs. Steve Carl at WSOF 9 back in late 2013. Both fighters have had two fights with the promotion, and both of them won their fights via 1st round Submission. If thats not enough to convince you that this will be a spectacle for the ages on the mat, than how about the fact that both fights have a combined total of 26 submission finishes on their professional record. If you’re a grappling/Jiu Jitsu fan, than this fight is a must see. Look out for the leg locks of the Brazilian Palharas, and the chokes of the American Jake Shields.

Co-Main Event: Marlon Moraes (14-4-1) vs. Sheymon da Silva Moraes (7-0)
#7 on our list of top fighters outside the UFC, Marlon Moraes looks extend his win streak to double-digits as he takes on the young and undefeated Brazilian Sheymon Da Silva Moraes. Moraes last defended his belt in February of this year when he defeated Canadian Josh Hill via Unanimous Decision at WSOF 18 in Edmonton. Moraes will pass WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje for the record of most fights fought under the WSOF banner as this will be his 8th. The challenger Sheymon da Silva Moraes is coming off a split decision victory over Gabriel Solorio in his WSOF debut on December 14th of 2014. He comes into this fight with 4 (T)KO victories under his belt.

Mike Kyle (21-12-1) vs. Clifford Starks (11-2):
Mike Kyle has finally settled on his 3rd scheduled opponent for this weekends card. He was originally set to take on Tyrone Spong, only for him to get hurt and replaced by UFC vet Thiago Silva who was then in turn also pulled due to licensing issues from the commission. The third time’s the charm as just recently it was announced that Clifford Starks would step in on short notice to take the fight. Starks, who’s only two losses on his record came from the hands of Ed Herman and Yoel Romero inside the UFC, is back in his winning ways as he’s won his last three fights. Starks’ most recent win came at WSOF 19 in March of this year as he arm-triangled Jake Heurn in the 2nd round. Mike Kyle is making his return to the WSOF after his first two fights where he was the victim of unlucky match making as he lost to two fighters who are now near the very top of the UFC in Andrei Arlovski and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The longtime veteran and MMA journeyman is coming off of a KO victory of Baga Agaev at ADW 2.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov (9-1) vs. Jorge Moreno (4-0)
The brother of UFC top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, Abubakar, is set to make his WSOF debut vs. Jorge Moren. The Dagestani fighter has never left a fight to the judges scorecards as all 9 of his wins have come via finish (6 KO/TKO, 3 SUB), with his only loss coming via doctor stoppage. Moreno is also making his debut with the promotion as he has won all 4 of his professional fights so far, with 3 of them coming inside the distance (2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB). It will be interesting to see if Abubakar will be able to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Khabib, who has found fantastic success so far in the sport.

Islam Mamedov (11-1) vs. Jimmy Spicuzza (6-2):
Another Dagestani fighter is looking to win as Islam Mamedov takes on Jimmy Spicuzza in the opening fight of the main card. Mamedov is on a 10 fight winning streak since losing his 2nd fight as a professional. He has displayed his submission expertise as 6 of his 10 wins in that span came via tap-out. He is a tall order for Jimmy Spicuzza who will be ooking for his 2nd straight win after defeating Benny Madrid via Split Decision at WSOF 19 in March of this year. Spicuzza won’t be shy to grapple Mamedov as all 3 of his finishes have come from submission.

The Prelims:
Jake Heun (7-4) vs. David Clark (5-2-2)
Donavon Frelow (4-0) vs. Carlos Garcia (0-0)
Jimmy Jones (4-3) vs. Marco Lopez Simmons (0-0)
Cory Hendricks (1-0) vs. Julio Hinojosa (3-1)
Gil Guardado (3-1) vs. Pete Martin (5-3)

The event takes place at Planet Hollywod Resort & Casino and will be televised on NBCSN in the U.S. as well as Fight Network in Canada.

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Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223



UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.


Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet



Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April



MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by, came Sunday night before confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.


The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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