The World Series of Fighting will broadcast its 28th show on NBC Sports Network on February 20th, 2016. A bantamweight title fight will headline the World Series of Fighting’s second event of 2016. The Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove, California will host the show and its four fight main card is filled with bantamweight and welterweight prospects and southern California natives looking to make a name for themselves. World Series of Fighting 28 is a co-promotion effort of said company and BAMMA USA, the lack of names on the card illustrates that, but it’s also a peek into some of the new avenues WSOF is taking to up its shows and how it may be willing to co-promote with others.
OZZIE ALVAREZ (6-3) VS. ANDREW RAMM (4-3)
Welterweights Ozzie Alvarez and Andrew Ramm will open up the main card Saturday night. This is as vintage as most modern MMA matches can get the striker versus the grappler. Although neither Alvarez nor Ramm are elite specialists in their respective strengths, their strong suits are very potent.
Alvarez is wild, he has no problem making a fight ugly and welcomes a brawl. He has respectable power on the feet but his ground and pound is the thing to be most cautious of. Alvarez’ ground strikes are heavy and merciless, and he can end an opponent’s night with a few strong pounding blows or a barrage of bludgeoning hammerfists.
Ramm isn’t the crispest of strikers, he might not want to oblige Alvarez in a stand-up battle, but his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is quite solid and can be relentless with his submission attempts. If Ramm can manage to take Alvarez down, especially in top position, it could be his fight to lose. Ramm is a fluid grappler and his submissions are swift and technical, unfortunately his poor striking habits and defensive liabilities may come back to haunt him against Alvarez. Alvarez is very aggressive, especially early on, his ground game may not be up to par with Ramm’s but his ground and pound could be enough to disincentivize him from staying patient and finding his timing to lock up a submission.
Ozzie Alvarez by first round TKO.
JAMIE YAGER (6-4) VS. TOM GLOUDEMAN (8-5)
Former Ultimate Fighter alum Jamie Yager will make his return to action this weekend for his first bout in over three years against Tom Gloudeman. Gloudeman steps in and steps up to welterweight as a replacement for the injured Greg Parker who was Yager’s original opponent. Parker is a crafty, and persistent grappler, luckily for Yager the opponent switch doesn’t offer much differentiation as Parker had a similar skill set. Gloudeman’s nickname is “The Grinder” and that is precisely the approach he will take against Yager. Yager hasn’t had the best of luck recently, aside from his 37 month layoff, he’s also on the receiving end of two back-to-back finishes. Yager is 32 years old, right in the middle of his prime but given his turbulent career as of late and his injuries, It’s tough to know where he stands athletically, physically, or mentally.
If Yager has trained to the best of his abilities and his focus is on point, he can dispatch of Gloudeman relatively quickly. Yager’s striking, power and athleticism is far beyond Gloudeman’s reach and four of five of Gloudeman’s career losses are by knockout however, time might not be on Yager’s side. Yager has consistently struggled with strong, smothering grapplers, which describes Gloudeman to a tee. Yager’s layoff makes it difficult to gauge his determination but also his skill set,l. His strengths aren’t going to vanish overnight, but they could be severely decimated by his layoff. Preparation and weight issues aside, Gloudeman has definite potential to beat Yager with his grit and grappling. Gloudeman’s similarities with Parker could still aid Yager but Gloudeman is much more willing to close the distance, negate Yager’s offense and throw some heavy, pressing strikes while moving forward.
Gloudeman by first round submission.
CO-MAIN EVENT: TIMUR VALIEV (10-1) VS. CHRIS GUTIERREZ (8-1-1)
Bantamweight newcomer Chris Gutierrez will be welcomed to the World Series of Fighting decagon by top contender Timur Valiev. Valiev is one of the hardest hitters in the World Series of Fighting’s bantamweight division, and this co-main event between him and clever striker Gutierrez could prove to be very exciting. Gutierrez is a promotional newcomer and will undoubtedly be facing the stiffest test of his young career, but he seems to possess a calm confidence about him not present in many fighters his age. Only 24 years of age, but composed and a skill set that can actually give Valiev fits. Gutierrez is a good out-fighter, he measures and minds his distance nicely and is excellent with kicks.
Valiev is a ferocious striker and a World Series of Fighting veteran. Saturday’s fight will mark his fifth appearance with the organization. Though, Gutierrez seems like he might be unfazed by the moment, it is almost a certainty Valiev will be unfazed and comfortable in the cage. Valiev is no walkover to any bantamweight under WSOF contract, and Gutierrez will definitely have his work cut out for him. Expect a primarily, possibly exclusive three round stand-up bout with some swings in momentum and close rounds. Gutierrez’ output and precision can keep Valiev in second gear for the first six minutes, but Valiev should be able to match Gutierrez’ pace, land harder shots and possibly back Gutierrez to the fence.
Timur Valiev by split decision.
MARLON MORAES (15-4-1) VS. JOSEPH BARAJAS (12-1)
World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes will defend his belt for the fourth time against Joseph Barajas in the main event of World Series of Fighting 28. This will be Barajas’ second appearance in the promotion and his debut couldn’t have gone much smoother. Barajas was paired against Erik Villalobos for his introduction into the decagon and he passed the test with flying colors. Barajas couldn’t have spent more than 30 seconds standing in the entire bout as he would take Villalobos down almost instantaneously when the round would commence. For a near full 15 minutes, Barajas had his way with Villalobos, constantly progressing with his ground positioning and landing solid ground and pound the instant the opportunity presented itself. The fight seemed destined to go to the distance during the third round but a late flurry of unanswered ground and pound forced the referee to halt the contest in the final minute of the fight.
Moraes has been on a tear and has constantly been improving since his debut with WSOF back in 2012. Now a champion of two years, the only one the WSOF has seen in it’s four years of promotion, Moraes will look to put on a statement on Saturday. Moraes looks as good as he ever has and it was on full display in his last title defense six months ago against dangerous Muay Thai specialist Sheymon Moraes. Although Marlon’s wrestling has been steadily improving over the years he stood toe-to-toe with Sheymon for the entirety of the fight until he clipped Sheymon in the third and proceeded to choke him out for the finish. A quick glance at his record will show that Marlon has numerable manners of victory, with a three way split in decisions, knockouts and submissions at five a piece, but it would seem likely that his most likely route to victory against Barajas would be the utilization of his striking.
Moraes is as seasoned and well-rounded a striker as they come in mixed martial arts, there’s no position or situation where he seems to be lost or uncomfortable on the feet. From his counters, to footwork, to adaptability and cognizance of his location in the cage, Moraes is an adept striker and will be the best one Barajas has fought thus far. Moraes’ tutelage under former UFC champion Frankie Edgar has also been evident in some of his recent performances with a seeming renewed emphasis on combinations and volume.
Barajas will look to get the fight on the mat no secrets there, and if he can do so, it might be a long ugly night for the champion but it will be easier said than done. Barajas loves scrambles, he’s well-conditioned and isn’t adverse to many risks but it will behoove him to mind his defense and approach with the Brazilian. Carson Beebe was the last man to run at Moraes and look to make it a brawl and Marlon dispatched of him in less than a minute. Barajas could take Moraes down a few times in the bout, possibly even hold him down for a few minutes but it’s tough to take Moraes down and especially keep him down for a long stretch of time. Barajas is durable and won’t go down without a fight, his tenacity, wrestling and cardio could be enough to last the full 25 minutes as his relentless style could make it difficult for Moraes to implement his full game. It will not be too shocking if there’s a round or two given to Barajas but expect the judges to give Moraes the nod and the keeping of his title.
Marlon Moraes by unanimous decision.