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WSOF 32: Moraes vs. Hill 2 Preview

Iain MacMillan

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The World Series of Fighting is set to host their 37th event this Saturday, July 30th, at XFINITY Arena in Everett, Washington. If you’re a fan of MMA this fight card is a must-see as four of the top fighters on the planet outside of the UFC will be featured in two title fights in the main and co-main events. The title-fight doubleheader airs live on NBCSN at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT. It will also be available on the FITE TV app outside of the of the U.S. for $1.99.

The main event will feature current WSOF Bantamweight Champion Marlon Moraes. A winner of 11-straight, which includes 6 finishes, Moraes has cemented himself as one of the very best fighters in the world and a dominant champion for the World Series of Fighting. His technical approach and ability to mix up strikes, specifically his vicious leg kicks, are the strengths of the Brazilian champion. The main event will feature a rematch between him and Canadian fighter Josh Hill, whose only loss to date (14-1) was to Moraes back in February of 2015 when he fell short, losing a Unanimous Decision. The victory would mark the first title defense for Moraes, who has successfully defended it twice more since.

The co-main event also features a rematch, as Team Alpha Male fighter Lance Palmer (10-2) attempts to reclaim his Featherweight belt from Alexandre Almeida (18-5) who defeated him in an upset victory in December of last year at WSOF 26. During the 5-round contest, Almeida was able to use his footwork and takedown defense to null the strengths of Palmer which are his over-hand right and wrestling. Palmer will look to come into this fight with a more mixed approach and a solid game plan if he wants to get his hands on Almeida, but if he does than watch out. Almeida, a winner of 5-straight, will hope to have similar success avoiding the strengths of Palmer and keeping it at his distance. His long arms and frame give him an advantage on the outside, away from both the power and the wrestling of the All-American Palmer.

The main card also features a story line that may just be even more intriguing than the title fights, as fan-favorite Ben “Pheonix Jones” Fodor will fight his adopted brother Caros “The Future” Fodor in a 162 lbs catchweight bout. Ben Fodor, who became known as “Pheonix Jones” while attempting to fight crime using his martial arts skills in Seattle, told Yahoo that the fight between the siblings had been brewing for a while and was “inevitable”. Caros boasts the more experienced history with his 15 career fights (1 in the UFC) to his brothers 8, while Ben seems to have the size advantage as he’s the bigger fighter. The main card is rounded out with top prospect Phil Hawes (4-0) as he takes on 37-year old Louis Taylor (12-3).

The preliminary card will be also be available to watch, streamed free live on WSOF.com, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App beginning at 7:00 PM EST and 4:00 PM PST.

FULL CARD:

Main Card:
Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Hill (Bantamweight Title Fight)
Alexandre Almeida vs. Lance Palmer (Featherweight Title Fight)
Caros Fodor vs. Phoenix Jones
Phil Hawes vs. Louis Taylor

Preliminary Card:
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Marat Magomedov
Rex Harris vs. Nicolai Salchow
Andrews Nakahara vs. Travis Doerge
Matt Kovacs vs. Bill Widler
Patrick Benson vs. Brett Malone
Matt Coble vs. Colt Hausauer
Justin Hugo vs. Tycen Lynn
Jon Marc Cortez vs. Joe Elzea

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

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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 MMANYTT.com, 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 MMAJunkie.com 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

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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

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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 FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com 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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