Last night, at the WSOF 9 event out of Las Vegas, things could not have played out worse for the still relatively new MMA league. Discarded UFC fighter Rousimar Palhares took all of 69 seconds to take the welterweight title away from Champion Steve Carl. Carl had previously been 4-0 under the WSOF and earned the title with a solid win over Josh Burkman, but he got taken down immediately and he could not defend what is Palhares known specialty. Up next for Palhares will be Jon Fitch, at the WSOF 11 event scheduled for early July. Let’s take a look at both matches.
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The WSOF could have used Carl to come through big, instead he went out with a whimper and a grimace. Now the holder of the UFC belt is a mid tier UFC fighter who was cast off for bad sportsmanship. And Carl, despite more than 20 fights, showed no clue as to what to do. He charged Pahares, falling victim immediately to a takedown by the powerful Brazilian.
His next challenge is another discarded UFC fighter, Jon Fitch. To earn his title shot, he has gone 2-3 in his last five outings, including 1-1 with the WSOF. He has been left sleeping twice in those 5 fights, once by KO and once by submission. This fight would struggle to make a UFC main card, but it will serve as probably the highest level match the young promotion has.
In his last outing, Fitch managed a Split Decision over Marcelo Alfaya, a guy who is tough but at 35 years old has already peaked and not been anywhere near a world level competitor. Nicely put, the WSOF needed Fitch to get a win and he squeaked one out. That is not a good sign.
Fitch though, has a terrific wrestling pedigree, and he is one of the few wrestlers who did more than just perfunctory work in learning Jiu Jitsu. He is going to be a lot harder to heel hook than Steve Carl was, so if he can avoid that danger, this is anybody’s fight.