World Series of Fighting 25: Who, What, When, Why and How

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What: The World Series of Fighting will host an eight-man lightweight tournament. The winner will get a future shot at Justin Gaethje’s lightweight championship.

When: Quarterfinal fights begin on the preliminary card Friday, November 20th at 8 p.m. on WSOF.com. The semifinals and championship round will air on the main card, which will take place at 11 p.m. on NBCSN.

Where: Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Who: Here are the eight fighters who will participate in the tournament.

Rich Patishnock: The tournament is another chance to claim the lightweight title that he was ever so close to winning back in January 2014. Patishnock had a chance to win the lightweight championship, but lost to Gaethje in the main event of the WSOF 8 event. This will be the first time we’ve seen Patishnock in the decagon since his loss to Gaethje.

Brian Cobb: The 35-year old high school math and physics teacher will make his return to the WSOF for the first time since the WSOF 2 event in June of 2013. Cobb lost by TKO to Gaethje.

Luis Palomino: Pushed Gaethje in his last two title defenses, including a dramatic main event at the WSOF 19 event.

Brian Foster: In Foster’s 30 career fights, just one has gone to a decision. The 35-year old rebounded from a loss to Jake Shields at WSOF 17 with a knockout victory over Larue Burley in September.

Joao Zeferino: A former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion who has 13 career submission victories…in the first round.

Mike Ricci: “The Ultimate Fighter 16” finalist will make his WSOF debut against Cobb in the quarterfinals.

Islam Mamedov: Is on an 11 fight winning streak entering the tournament. Mamedov has dominated in his two WSOF fights (WSOF 20 vs. Leon Davis, WSOF 23 vs. Jimmy Spicuzza). The 25-year old won both fights in the first round by TKO.

Jorge Patino: The elder statesman of the tournament. The 42-year old Brazilian has been fighting professionally since 1995. The last time Patino was in the decagon, he lost a hard fought contest to Palomino.

How: The tournament will consist of four quarterfinal fights that will last two rounds. The winners from those fights will face off in the semifinals, which will again last for two rounds each. The two winners will then advance to the main event of WSOF 25, which will be a three round bout.

Here are quarterfinal fights that will take place during the prelims:

Islam Mamedov vs. Jorge Patino, Brian Cobb vs. Mike Ricci

Brian Foster vs. Joao Zeferino, Luis Palomino vs. Rich Patishnock

There will also be two reserve fights to determine who may enter the tournament as an alternate in case someone has to leave due to exhaustion or injury. The two reserve bouts will take place on the prelims and will feature these four fighters:

Benny Madrid vs. Ramil Mustapayev

LaRue Burley vs. Joe Condon

Why: Since becoming the first lightweight champion in WSOF history, Gaethje has successfully defended his title four times, including two exciting fights with Luis Palomino. The eight man tournament will give everyone involved an opportunity to become the first man to defeat Gaethje inside the decagon.

 

Kevin Lee Slight Favorite Over Michael Chiesa on UFC Fight Night 112 Odds

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Odds are inching toward parity in the matchup between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa that ranks as one of the most anticipated non-title fights of the year in the UFC.

Lee is the -140 betting favorite against the +110 underdog Chiesa at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in their lightweight division matchup that will headline UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City. The showdown between burgeoning lightweight division contenders will cap off the card at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday.

Lee, who is 15-2 in the UFC promotion, rates the edge as a striker and also has a strong grappling base that originates from his days as a collegiate wrestler. The 24-year-old has won eight of his last nine bouts, including his four most recent, only one of which went to a decision.

Chiesa has a comparable 14-2 record, which includes a three-win streak with the past two by rear-naked chokes. The older of the two at age 29, he is a crafty scrambler, which probably is an underlying reason for why his price has come down slightly from +115. His work in the clinch could keep Lee from being able to fight on his own terms, which can often cause a younger fighter’s focus to fray.

Whoever wins, it should be a good one, and both will stay high up in the lightweight hierarchy.

The co-main event is a middleweight matchup, with Johny Hendricks listed as a strong -225 favorite on the UFC Fight Night 112 odds against Tim Boetsch (+175). It’s the second fight at the heavier weight class for Hendricks, who seems rejuvenated now that he no longer has to be concerned about cutting weight – and draining his cardiovascular capacity – during the final weeks of pre-fight training.

However, Hendricks’ popularity as an ex-welterweight champion and the way he won his middleweight debut against inconsistent Hector Lombard have driven his price toward a low rate of return.

If Hendricks drops his defense, that might give Boetsch the opening to use his strength and land some massive combinations. While it’s true Boetsch has lost five of his last eight fights, there’s a reason he keeps getting bookings.

Justine Kish (-105) is a small underdog against Felice Herrig (-125) in a women’s strawweight bout that seems likely go the distance, as both have a strong base in kickboxing while neither has big-time punching power. In a toss-up such as this, it might be wise to take the more seasoned fighter, Herrig.

And Dennis Siver (-210) is favored against fellow featherweight veteran BJ Penn (+170), in what is a “last stand” bout for each nearly 40-year-old fighter. Penn has been in the Octagon more recently than Siver, who hasn’t fought since 2014, and also has an edge in punching power and landing significant strikes. Siver might also be the level of fighter that the 38-year-old Penn can beat at this twilight stage of his career.

 

 

Aldo favored at home against Holloway in UFC 212 co-main event

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The scenario at UFC 212 seems like a win-win for Jose Aldo, since he’ll be on home soil against Max Holloway in a fight that reckons to unfold mostly in the stand-up.

Aldo, who’s been known to be choosy about which fights he takes, is set as a -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Holloway for their featherweight unification title bout at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The fight will cap off the card at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Aldo has been stopped only twice in 28 career fights, while Holloway has only one loss by submission over 20 fights. While the 30-year-old Aldo might be past his peak in speed, he thrives at slowly revealing his striking arsenal over the course of a fight and will have a slew of time to do so, due to the reduced threat of a takedown.

Holloway, who comes in as the interim champion, has an edge in reach and will certainly go on the offensive. Holloway, who excels at backing up opponents and throwing combinations with his hands, will land some significant strikes. Whether that’s enough to earn a decision remains to be seen.

All 12 scheduled fights feature Brazilian fighters. Since the start of 2016, Brazilian fighters competing on home soil in the UFC are 14-6 against foreign opponents, but only four were plus-money underdogs.

In the co-main event, rising women’s strawweight star Claudia Gadelha (-350) is a favorite against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+265) on the UFC 212 betting lines. Gadelha has a well-developed takedown defense that might help her with taking the fight to the ground and negating Kowalkiewicz’s striking.

In keeping with the night’s Hawaiian vs. Brazilian theme, Yancy Medeiros (-143) is favored against Erick Silva (+123) in a welterweight bout. Silva picks his spots with his striking and is very accurate, whereas Medeiros is a volume striker to the extent that he lands an above-average number of strikes per minute, but connects less than 35 per cent of time. Playing a patient game could help Silva get the win.

Vitor Belfort (-160) is favored against fellow veteran middleweight Nate Marquardt (+140) even though Belfort has lost three of his last five fights by stoppage (and the other was a no-contest). It shapes up as a tilt where the fighter who lands the first big shot will probably win. Marquardt, 3-7 in his last 10 fights, still has some striking ability and a bit of durability.

Based on each man’s brief track record in the UFC, Paulo Henrique Costa (-280) and Oluwale Bamgbose (+240) could have a quick resolution. Costa is not only 9-0, but none of his fights have gone beyond the first round. All six of Bamgbose’s wins have been decided in Round 1. Bamgbose has shown more vulnerability to strikes, meaning Costa is likely to receive some openings.