RISING STAR AND IRAQ WAR VET EMMANUEL WALO
FACES UNDEFEATED “PHOENIX JONES”
AT WSOF 20: BRANCH VS. MARKES
STAR-STUDDED MMA EVENT
AT FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO IN CONNECTICUT
ON FRIDAY, APRIL 10
LIVE NBCSN TELEVISED CARD COMPLETE
WITH FOUR BOUTS
LAS VEGAS (March 19, 2015) – A war hero versus a real-life superhero – both fast-rising stars in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Who do you root for?
That is the question that fans will be faced with when Emmanuel Walo (7-2-1) squares off with undefeated Ben Fodor (5-0-1), also known as costumed crime fighter “Phoenix Jones,” in a welterweight (170 pounds) contest at the much-anticipated WSOF 20: Branch vs. Markes event at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. on Friday, April 10, live on NBCSN.
“This is a matchup between two of the most prolific prospects in our great sport, and a fabulous addition to our first-ever event in Conn. that is already stacked with a tremendous lineup of talent,” said WSOF President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.
Another new addition to the WSOF 20 fight card will see Steve Mocco (4-1) of Coconut Creek, Fla. battle Juliano Coutinho (6-1) of West Yarmouth, Mass. in a heavyweight tilt.
In the midst of his fourth year as a professional fighter, the 28-year-old Walo of Jersey City, N.J. is also a member of the National Guard who saw action in Iraq during the war there. It was while he was stationed in Iraq that Walo was introduced to MMA through a fellow U.S. military operative and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who offered to teach Walo
After returning home from combat, Walo followed what had become his passion, reeling off a 2-0 record in amateur MMA competition in 2011, before making the jump to the professional ranks.
Walo received a rude awakening in his professional debut on Dec. 10, 2011, losing a unanimous decision to Michael Wilcox, but rebounded and went unbeaten in his next eight starts.
The 26-year-old Fodor of Seattle, Wash. signed a multi-fight contract last week with WSOF after being covered in a compelling feature segment on ESPN SportsCenter that profiled his strenuous lifestyle as both a prize fighter and a costumed crime fighter dedicated to curbing street crimes and assisting people in distress in Seattle’s streets.
Fodor is coming off a third round (3:06) technical submission (rear-naked choke) victory over Jason Novelli on Feb. 21, 2015.
Tickets for the WSOF 20: Branch vs. Markes, priced from $39.99, are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.
In the main event, reigning WSOF World Middleweight (185 pounds) Champion David Branch (15-3) will move up to light heavyweight (205 pounds) and face off with fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Ronny Markes (15-3) in what represents the second bout of the multi-event WSOF tournament that will crown its winner the promotion’s inaugural world light heavyweight champion.
In the lightweight (155 pounds) co-main event, Melvin “The Young” Assassin Guillard (32-14-2, 2 NC) of New Orleans, La. will collide with fellow hard-hitting, KO artist Ozzy Dugulubgov (6-2) of Hackensack, N.J.
Leading off the live NBCSN telecast that will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, is another lightweight matchup between Nick Newell (11-1) of Springfield, Mass. and Joe Condon (12-7) of Victorville, Calif.
Doors at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino open at 5:00 p.m. ET, and the first preliminary bout begins at 6:00 p.m.
The preliminary bout lineup for WSOF 20: Branch vs. Markes will be announced soon.
Prior to the April 10 event, live WSOF MMA action returns to NBCSN on Saturday, March 28, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, with WSOF 19: Gaethje vs. Palomino, headlined by a world lightweight championship showdown between undefeated reigning kingpin Justin Gaethje (13-0) of Safford, Ariz. and hard-hitting contender Luis “Baboon” Palomino (23-9) of Miami, Fla.