World Series of Fighting 10: Complete Guide to Main Card Fights

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

World Series of Fighting 10: Complete Guide to Main Card Fights

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    World Series of Fighting is back with WSOF 10, and is putting forward a solid card featuring three of its champions. 

    The promotion will crown its first middleweight champion as David Branch faces off with Jesse Taylor, wrapping up the painfully long middleweight tournament that has been aching for completion since last September. Behind that, featherweight champ Georgi Karakhanyan faces off with Roufusport's Rick Glenn and WSOF's pound-for-pound best fighter, Jessica Aguilar, takes on Japanese veteran Emi Fujino.

    So who are all those fighters? Who else is fighting? What should you keep an eye out for?

    Find out right here on Bleacher Report's complete guide to WSOF10's main card fights.

Lance Palmer vs. Nick LoBosco

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    Weight Class:

    Featherweight

    Who Are These Guys?:

    Nick LoBosco and Lance Palmer represent two of the hotter prospects in WSOF. LoBosco has ripped up the competition thus far, and currently owns a 7-0 record. He debuted at WSOF 6 by knocking out Fabio Mello with a big head kick followed by punches on the ground.

    Palmer, meanwhile, is a four-time All-American wrestler out of Ohio State University that trains with Team Alpha Male. He is the RFA featherweight champion, entered WSOF with a 7-0 record, but came up short against Georgi Karakhanyan at WSOF 7.

    Will It Be Good?:

    Not clear. Palmer is a powerful wrestler, while Nick LoBosco is a gun-slinging finisher. The sample size is too small to accurately peg whether this fight will suit fans' tastes.

    How Will It Go?:

    When you look at fights between prospects where one comes from a strong wrestling foundation and the other doesn't, nine times out of ten, the former will beat the latter. Palmer doesn't just have a strong wrestling foundation, either. He has one of the best on-paper wrestling resumes in MMA today. In all likelihood, Palmer will bully LoBosco with little trouble, taking an easy decision win or possibly scoring a finish as the fight goes on.

Luiz Firmino vs. Tyson Griffin

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    Weight Class:

    Lightweight

    Who Are These Guys?:

    Tyson Griffin likely needs no introduction. He had a fairly successful UFC career, and owns wins over enduring names like Rafael dos Anjos, Gleison Tibau, Clay Guida and Manny Gamburyan. However, he was knocked out by Gesias Cavalcante in his WSOF debut and is currently on an ugly 2-5 stretch dating back to 2010.

    Luiz Firmino's name might ring a bell for Pride loyalists. He compiled a 3-2 record in Pride Bushido, and joined Dream after the promotion fizzled out. He recently upset UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann at WSOF 6 but isn't really a hot up-and-comer, given the fact that he has been a middling lightweight for the past decade.

    Will It Be Good?:

    From 2006 through 2009, Tyson Griffin was possibly the single most exciting fighter in MMA. In his first eight UFC fights, he won six post-fight bonuses including five Fight of the Night awards. That said, he hasn't looked the same since getting knocked out by Takanori Gomi, and his physical tools and overall skills seem to have been on a steady decline ever since. That makes it hard to believe that he will be able to muster up a classic, entertaining effort.

    How Will It Go?:

    Luiz Firmino isn't a top fighter by any stretch, but he is a smart, veteran grappler. If he can tangle up Griffin in the clinch and on the ground, he will likely be able to take a straightforward decision win.

Jessica Aguilar vs. Emi Fujino

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    Weight Class:

    Women's Strawweight (for WSOF Championship)

    Who Are These Gals?:

    Jessica Aguilar is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters, and for good reason. She was one of the top ladies in Bellator's now-defunct women's division, and took wins over Megumi Fujii and reigning Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza. She is a grappler who stands above most 115-pound ladies with ground-and-pound and clinch work.

    Emi Fujino...well, she isn't any of those things. She is a veteran of the Japanese women's MMA scene, owning a 13-7 record that dates back to 2004. Historically, she has struggled against any and all above-average competition.

    Will It Be Good?:

    That depends on your definition of good...

    How Will It Go?:

    Remember Cris "Cyborg" Santos (now Justino) in Strikeforce? How, after beating Marloes Coenen, the promotion went full-blown lion vs. Christians after that? Well, Jessica Aguilar is the new "Cyborg" and Fujino is the new Hiroko Yamanaka.

    This is a squash match for Aguillar. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the only thing WSOF can do at this point, with the UFC and Invicta sharing the vast majority of the world's top 115-pound ladies.

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Rick Glenn

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    Weight Class:

    Featherweight (for WSOF Championship)

    Who Are These Guys?:

    WSOF's featherweight champion, Georgi Karakhanyan, is most certainly one of the best featherweights fighting outside the UFC. He actually fought in Bellator, washing out of the season 2 and season 4 tournaments with losses to Joe Warren and Patricio Freire, but is riding a nine-fight winning streak since then with wins over numerous Zuffa castaways.

    Karakhanyan is stylistically similar to Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas. In spite of his average height, he has Barbie-like legs, giving him a distinct edge over stout opponents. He can attack with submissions others simply can't imitate while on the ground and do damage with punches, kicks and knees from a safe distance.

    Rick Glenn isn't nearly as well-established, but has shown some definite skills. Another rangy threat, Glenn trains alongside Ben Askren and Anthony Pettis at Roufusport. He is a clear dual threat, with both knockout and submission capabilities, but has been partial to standing and trading with opponents of late.

    Will It Be Good?:

    Probably. Almost certainly. Styles make fights and this is like peanut butter vs. chocolate. Both fighters have all-over-the-cage skills and are finishers standing and on the ground. Pencil this one down as the fight-of-the-night favorite.

    How Will It Go?:

    Karakhanyan is the favorite here, but this will probably be a much closer fight than people are expecting. Karakhanyan is a submission artist, but his actual wrestling isn't elite-level. As Glenn discussed when he was featured on Bleacher Report last year, he has been boxing since he was 14 and there's no downplaying how much training with Ben Askren does for your wrestling game.

    If he can keep it standing, this could be a straightforward affair for Glenn. If Karkhanyan can get him on the ground, however, we could easily see a crafty submission from the Russian.

David Branch vs. Jesse Taylor

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    Photo by WSOF/Lucas Noonan

    Weight Class:

    Middleweight (For WSOF Championship)

    Who Are These Guys?:

    Fans who have watched The Ultimate Fighter will likely remember Jesse Taylor. Taylor was a participant on season 7, and actually earned his way to the tournament finals by beating Dante Rivera, Tim Credeur and Mike Dolce (yes, that Mike Dolce).

    He was ejected from the UFC, however, after going on a drunken rampage through a hotel, and would be replaced in the finals by CB Dollaway (who, in turn, would lose to Amir Sadollah). He was brought back for one fight at UFC Fight Night 8, losing to Dollaway by first-round submission, and has been a fairly successful journeyman ever since.

    David Branch, too, is a fighter some fans may remember for his time with the UFC. A hard-nosed grinder, he was released with a 2-2 record, dropping fights to future WSOF comrades Rousimar Palhares and Gerald Harris while sandwiching in wins over Rich Attonito and Tomaz Drwal. 

    He has been a staple fighter for WSOF, fighting three times and taking wins over Dustin Jacoby, Paulo Filho and Danillo Villefort.

    Will It Be Good?:

    Eh...you never know. In most ways, this is a grinder vs. grinder fight, and those can go a few different ways. One of the two might end up wildly getting the better of the other, a la Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia. It's also possible they will put their grinding aside for the fight and come out swinging, a la Dong-Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway. Of course, the most likely result will be a battle of dueling clinches.

    The fact that this will be a five-round title fight with Branch having no experience in fighting past the 15-minute mark could make this an ugly affair.

    How Will It Go?:

    It's a tough call that ultimately boils down to asking who is more likely to score takedowns. In that way, you have to take Jesse Taylor winning by decision and becoming WSOF's first middleweight champion.