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

Leave a comment

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.

 

Nunes, Pennington carry conflicting betting trends into UFC 224

Leave a comment

All of Amanda Nunes’ wins in her homeland have ended early, but challenger Raquel Pennington has a history of going the distance.

Women’s bantamweight champion Nunes is a -900 favorite on the UFC 224 odds with Pennington coming back at +550, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  The card is set for Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday.

Nunes is 7-1 when she fights in Brazil, while Pennington is fighting in the country for the first time. Although Pennington has only been stopped once in 22 pro and amateur fights, Nunes’ home-soil advantage could be crucial. Nunes did require a decision during her most recent title defense against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 215 in September 2017.

Bettors looking for value in method-of-victory props will have to decide whether they believe Pennington can duplicate and improve on the techniques Shevchenko employed, or whether Nunes learned some lessons from that fight about being the aggressor with her powerful striking game. If the latter theory pans out, there’s a good chance of a Nunes knockout.

In the co-main event, Ronaldo (Jacaré) Souza (-135) has a three-inch reach advantage over Kevin Gastelum (+130) in a matchup of Top 5 middleweights, as well as home-soil advantage. Souza rates the edge in power and versatility, which might make him too much for Gastelum to handle, setting the table for a submission.

That said, Gastelum’s speed and accurate striking does make it tempting to back him for the win, knowing full well that it’s not the percentage play.

Up-and-coming Mackenzie Dern (-265) takes on Amanda Cooper (+225) in a grappler vs. striker matchup between two women’s strawweight competitors who are each somewhat experienced. Dern has had three of her six wins via submission, which is coincidentally how Cooper has sustained all three of her losses.

Those trends should carry over, presuming that Dern has continued to upgrade her technique in order to get the match to the ground.

John Lineker (-250) is favored against Brian Kelleher (+195) in a bantamweight bout between high-volume strikers. Six of Lineker’s last nine fights have gone to a decision and that trend could continue if he focuses on using his punching power to wear Kelleher down early and get a lead on the judges’ cards. For Kelleher, the matchup might be too big of a step up in caliber.

And Lyoto Machida (-260) is favored against Vitor Belfort (+200) in a middleweight bout between two aging Brazilian fighters, the latter of whom has said this will be his last fight. Stylistically, Machida likely has the edge due to his abilities as a counter-striker, which should enable him to weather the anticipated early onslaught from Belfort, who is 0-4 in his last four fights as the underdog. Machida’s most likely path to victory is through a decision.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Floyd Mayweather to start MMA training ‘soon’

AP Images
3 Comments

Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor in the boxing ring back in August. Now, Mayweather is eyeing a turn in the octagon.

The 41-year-old Mayweather, who retired from boxing following his win over McGregor, confirmed to TMZ Sports that he would “soon” begin training with UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.

Mayweather thinks it will take him less than a year to acclimate to MMA.

“Even if it takes six-to-eight months, whatever it takes, we want to make sure that everything is done correctly, is done the right way,” Mayweather said.

Mayweather doesn’t believe his skill-set will require extensive improvement. He graded his wrestling skills as “probably a seven” out of 10, but he could “take it up to a nine if possible.” His real weakness is kicking, which Mayweather graded as just a four. But his hand game? “On a scale of 1-10, it’s 100.”

Mayweather was hesitant to say who he would face in his MMA debut, though he was asked directly about a rematch with McGregor.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “We can’t say. That’s why I pause, you know?  I can’t really say, you know? I have to talk to my team, speak with my father and then see how it’s gonna play out.”

Like his boxing match with McGregor, Mayweather and his team want “the right numbers and we would make it happen.”