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World Series of Fighting 9 Recap
LAS VEGAS – Brazilian submission master Rousimar Palhares (17-6) needed just 69 seconds to take the World Series of Fighting welterweight title away from former champ Steve Carl (21-4).
And it was his signature move – the heel hook – that led “Toquinho” to victory.
The championship fight headlined Saturday’s “World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares” event at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and aired on NBCSN.
Making his World Series of Fighting debut, Palhares wasted little time in shooting the fight to the floor. From there, he rolled for Carl’s leg, and the end was near. Looking first for a kneebar, Palhares then turned to his patented finishing hold, wrenching the inverted heel hook until Carl was forced to tap and hand over the belt.
In the night’s co-feature, Marlon Moraes claimed (13-4-1) claimed World Series of Fighting’s inaugural bantamweight title with a dominating decision win over a gutsy Josh Rettinghouse (10-3).
Rettinghouse looked to push the pace early, but Moraes’ excellent defensive wrestling skills kept him on the feet, and his crisp muay Thai provided all the offense he would need. A sharp counter punch floored Rettinghouse in the first, but he crawled back to his feet and soldiered on. Moraes came forward with thunderous leg kicks that wobbled Rettinghouse early and often and left him nearly immobile for the final few rounds.
A game Rettinghouse pushed forward until the final bell, but in the end, Moraes was simply too much and cruised to a decision win, earning a championship belt in the process.
Fighting for the first time under the World Series of Fighting banner, Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami (30-8) proved he’s still one of the world’s best fighters, as he dominated Bulgarian opponent Svetlozar Savov (12-5).
Savov simply had no match for Okami’s powerful wrestling attack and found himself on his back early and often. Pushing easily to mount in both the first and second rounds, Okami dominated the fight on the floor and eventually set up an arm-triangle choke and cranking the hold until he earned the tap with 14 seconds left in the frame.
Afterward, Okami admitted he had hoped to show off his striking skills but realized the importance of a win.
“My gameplan was to use my striking game, but once we got going, I saw that he had good distance, so I was forced to change my gameplan,” Okami said.
In a key welterweight fight, Josh Burkman (27-10) picked up another highlight-reel win with a stunning knockout of Tyler Stinson (27-10).
While Stinson was the vaunted knockout artist, it was Burkman who landed a crushing lead right from a southpaw stance, sending his opponent crashing to the floor. Burkman made sure he had no time to recover, landing a huge follow-up right hand that ended the fight at the 2:15 mark of the first.
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