This weekend in Las Vegas, the World Series of Fighting´s 9th event goes down at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino featuring a main event pitting Welterweight title holder Steve Carl against controversial Brazilian leglock especialist Rousimar Palhares. Carl is a solid veteran who earned the title with an impressive win over Josh Burkman at WSOF 6, and is making his first title defense. Carl however, heads into the encounter an underdog at the books, with the line at (+160). Rousimar is slightly better than a 2 to 1 favorite at (-210). Let´s take a look at the fight.
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Carl has been on an impressive streak of 7 wins in a row, capping 6 first round finishes with the 4th round classic against Burkman to capture the title. His quality wins are over Burkman, and Brett Rogers from back in his Bellator days, but his 21’3 record does not have many fighters of Palhares level on it.
But Palhares, for all his danger, is a puzzle that can be solved. And Carl needs to solve it for the good of the WSOF. Palhares for all his good points (agressive leglock finishes) and bad points (bad sportsmanship) he was only a mid tier UFC fighter whose game drops off once a fighter weathers his initial storm. Palhares is a 2 to 1 favorite over the champion coming into the organization with a questionable resume and walking into a title shot right away. That has to be motivating to Carl, and a bit insulting.
Carl is going to need to find his striking game, as that has also been a weakness of Palhares. He begins to fade when he starts to get punched in the face. Carl´s resume is submission heavy, so you can assume as a ground fighter that he will have some knowledge of leglocks and want Palhares will be trying to do.
Also, Carl showed in his last outing when he look out Burkman in the 4th that he could get to the later rounds and win the fight. Palhares gas has never been that impressive, especially after his first desperate attempts at a finish get defended.
Carl might be a good underdog in this one.