New York (Sunday January 1, 2017)– World Series of Fighting brought the second ever MMA event to New York City, and to Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve. Four champions defended their belts. Dave Branch looked stellar in his fifth-round submission win over Louis Taylor. Marlon Moraes dismantled Josenaldo Silva, a man riding a seventeen fight win streak. Jon Fitch and Jake Shields put on a beautiful chess match of a performance, with Fitch clearly edging Shields on the cards, to retain his belt. The main event delivered, big time. In maybe the toughest test of Gaethje’s career we got to see his chin tested, and his championship will overcome an incredibly tough and durable Luiz Firmino, to retain his belt.
Walking in to the arena, the night felt important. It was New York City; It was MSG, on NBC. Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture were in attendance. However, audience was treated to an another, unexpected, historic moment when Jon Fitch hinted that this may have been the last time we see him fight in MMA. FightBookMMA would like to congratulate Jon on a superb career, and offer our heartfelt thanks for entertaining us all these years. Thank you, Jon.
The story of the main event was Firmino’s jab, and combinations versus Gaethje’s counters. Both men tried proving their toughness by standing in the pocket and exchanging hard shots. Firmino’s output won him many of these exchanges, but Gaethje’s hard counters were accumulating as the fight wore on. Both men were noticeably slower by the end of round three.
Though Firmino’s toughness would not let him show the effects of Gaethje’s power, his face was much more transparent. Firmino’s right eye was swollen badly, and the doctor had to call the fight before the start of the fourth round. Gaethje ran up against a strong and dangerous opponent who, at times, seemed poised to overwhelm the champion. The Champion, however, found a way to win a very exciting fight and defend his title.
Marlon Moraes showcased skilled footwork and striking prowess in his title defense. His opponent, Josenaldo Silva enjoyed a ten-inch reach advantage. Moraes made finding his chin look easy. Even though the fight ended via a knee injury to Silva, Moraes came out of the fight looking like the elite lever fighter he is.
It’s a shame that NBC’s network audience did not get a chance to see David Branch dispatch Louis Taylor via Rear Naked Choke, in the fifth round. It was one of the highlights of the night.
You can see all the fight results and highlights of the event in our photo report below.
- Yushin Okami defeats Paul Bradley via decision
- Champion Justin Gaethje defeats Luiz Firmino via TKO
- Champion Jon Fitch defeats Jake Shields via decision
- Champion Marlon Moraes defeats Josenaldo Silva via TKO
- Caio Alencar defeats Jared Rosholt via KO
- Champion David Branch defeats Louis Taylor via rear naked choke
- Smealinho Rama defeats Jake Huen via TKO
- Shane Krutchen defeats Jeremy Mahon via decision
- Bruno Santos defeats Vagab Vagabov via split decision
- Andre Harrison defeats Bruce Boyington via rear naked choke
- Tommy Marcellino defeats Matt Denning via armbar
Article/Photographs By: Mozz Manzoor
Assistant: Ragheb Baig
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