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World Series Of Fighting 6 Recap
Steve Carl pushed himself to the limits, and he walked away as World Series of Fighting’s first-ever champion.
Battling through injuries that hampered his final weeks of preparation, an exhausted Carl choked out resilient challenger Josh Burkman to claim the promotion’s inaugural welterweight belt.
The two squared off in the main event of Saturday’s “World Series of Fighting 6: Burkman vs. Carl,” which took place at BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. and aired live on NBCSN.
Carl and Burkman wasted little time in getting to work, as each looked to attack from the opening bell. It was Burkman who took the upper-hand with an early takedown, but Carl worked hard to defend underneath.
As the fight wore on, both men enjoyed moments of success on the floor. Each had submission attempts that seemed destined to end the fight, but neither opponent would go away quite so easily. But as the bout entered the championship rounds, Carl emerged as the better fighter.
As the two grappled yet again, Carl went willingly to his back, where he locked in a tight triangle choke. Burkman tried hard to escape but was ultimately choked out at the 1:02 mark of the fourth frame. With the win, Carl claimed the first championship belt ever awarded by World Series of Fighting, but admitted he was capable of more.
“I felt like I could have performed a lot better, but there’s something not a lot of people know,” Carl said after the win. “Two weeks ago I was in the emergency room with torn muscles and a bulging disc in my back, unable to walk. My last two weeks have been nothing but rest and rehab to get here. I was bound and determined to take this fight, and I’m not really happy with my performance.
“I was so tired I wanted to quit there a couple times. Josh is a really game opponent, and he kept bringing it. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it for a while. My cornermen just kept pushing me through it, and here we are. We did it.”
Carl (21-3) now boasts an impressive seven-fight win streak. Burkman (26-10) sees a five-fight win streak snapped, but will no doubt remain a top contender for the promotion.
In the night’s co-feature, Marlon Moraes earned his fourth World Series of Fighting victory with an impressive first-round finish of Carson Beebe.
With Beebe rushing forward for the takedown, Moraes defended the efforts while rattling off powerful punches. A few early uppercuts left Beebe rattled, and a massive left hook sent him toppling to the floor. Moraes pounced with a few short punches to finish the deal, and the bout was stopped after just 32 seconds.
Afterward, Moraes said Beebe’s wrestling skills also made him a vulnerable target.
“He’s a wrestler,” Moraes said. “He came hard to take me down, but I was ready. He was too close to try to take me down. I could hit him with some punches.”
Moraes (12-4-1) is now a perfect 4-0 for World Series of Fighting and would appear to be in line to challenge for the company’s first bantamweight belt. Beebe (14-3) falls to 1-2 in his past three appearances.
Welterweight contender Jon Fitch is no stranger to adversity, but he once again proved his heart in a gritty, three-round war with Marcelo Alfaya.
While Fitch (25-6-1) was heavily favored heading into the matchup, underdog Alfaya (15-7) pushed forward from the opening bell, bringing the fight to the floor and outgrappling Fitch, a vaunted wrestling ace. Alfaya tried to repeat the performance in the second before Fitch escaped to the feet and turned to his striking to shift the momentum. It was a wise decision.
After a tightly contested second frame, Fitch took over in the third, outworking Alfaya by defending takedowns and snapping his head back with several stiff strikes. It was clear Fitch took the final round, but the result of the fight remained in doubt until the judges’ scores were read.
Two of three judges sided with Fitch, and he was awarded a split-decision win. Afterward, he said he was confident he’d done enough to take home the win.
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