Photo credit: WSOF/Lucas Noonan
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Undefeated Justin Gaethje (11-0) claimed World Series of Fighting’s inaugural lightweight belt with an impressive first-round stoppage of a very tough Richard Patishnock (6-2).
The two tangled in the headlining contest of Saturday’s NBCSN-broadcast “World Series of Fighting 8: Gathje vs. Patishnock” event, which took place at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The 25-year-old Gaethje swarmed from the opening bell, rushing forward with a flying knee and bringing the fight to Patishnock right away. With non-stop offense flowing, Gaethje landed a crushing right hand that stunned his opponent. Patishnock refused to back down, instead standing against the cage and trying to return fire. But Gaethje would not be stopped, and he unloaded punches and elbows that battered Patishnock and forced referee Troy Waugh to step in and halt the fight in just 69 seconds.
In the night’s co-feature, light heavyweight slugger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (16-4) scored a brutal first-round knockout of fellow heavy hitter Mike “MAK” Kyle (20-11-1).
The engaged immediately at the opening bell, and after Kyle came up short on a takedown, they went toe-to-toe in the pocket. It was Johnson who landed first, scoring a right hand over the top and putting Kyle face-first on the canvas.
The end came at the 2:03 mark, and Johnson now owns a six-fight winning streak, including a perfect 3-0 mark under the World Series of Fighting banner.
American Top Team’s Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (17-4) is World Series of Fighting’s first-ever women’s strawweight champion after submitting Alida Gray (4-1) in under three minutes.
Aguilar was dominant from the start, working inside and taking the fight to the ground. From there, she moved effortlessly into position for an arm-triangle choke, cranking on the hold until she earned the tap at the 2:45 mark of the first round. The new champ now boasts an eight-fight winning streak.
In a key bantamweight fight with serious title implications, Cody Bollinger (15-2) edged out Tyson Nam (12-6) in a hotly contested decision.
Bollinger was the busier fighter throughout, attacking with punches to all levels and mixing in acrobatic spinning kicks. Meanwhile, Nam stayed more compact as he looked to counter, and while the attacks weren’t nearly as flashy, they were often effective. Bollinger hit the ground on more than one occasion, once through a clear knockdown and a few more times on slips.
The crowd grew a bit restless in the third round as both fighters struggled to find an effective rhythm. Still, both looked for opportunities until the final bell. However, it was Bollinger who was given the unanimous nod, 29-28 on all three cards.
The night’s NBCSN-broadcast kicked off with a thrilling lightweight matchup, as Luis “Baboon” Palomino (22-9) earned a second-round win over Jorge “Macaco” Patino (35-15-2).
Palomino was sharp early, firing off heavy leather on the feet and stunning Patino with a few crisp blows. The 40-year-old “Macaco,” a veteran of a few legendary MMA brawls, stood firm in the pocket and returned fire, but Palomino’s non-stop attack finally wore his opponent down in the second round. A right hand and knee to the gut sent Patino to the canvas, and Palomino swarmed until he earned the finish at the 4:20 mark of the frame.
The night’s featured prelim saw Tyler Stinson (27-9) earn an impressive come-from-behind win over Valdir Araujo (14-5).
It was Araujo who racked up points early, chopping the leg and drilling heavy kicks to the body. And while Stinson appeared a bit flat in the opening two rounds, he came alive in the third and turned the tide with a few brutal bodyshots. A stunned Araujo never really recovered, and Stinson pressed with punches until he earned the finish at the 2:23 mark of the final frame.
Heavyweight sluggers Derrick Mehmen (17-5) and Scott Barrett (14-4) brought the crowd to their feet with a standup brawl that surprisingly went all three rounds.
An aggressive Mehmen dropped Barrett twice in the opening round, but “The Bear” showed incredible heart by battling through until the final round. A few big punches threatened to ruin Mehman’s impressive performance, but he survived the big shots and cruised to a decision win.
In a flyweight matchup, Cuban Olympic wrestling medalist Alexis Vila (14-4) kept a high pace throughout his three-round contest with Sidemar Honorio (8-5), and it was enough to earn him a unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
While the striking was relatively even on the feet, Vila’s wrestling proved the difference, and he improved to 3-1 in his past four fights.
Featherweight prospects Freddy Assuncao (8-1) and Brenson Hansen (5-2) combined for a back-and-forth affair throughout their 15 minute contest. In the end, the toe-to-toe action left judges unable to agree on a winner, and Assuncao was awarded a split decision victory.
In the night’s first bout, welterweight Anderson Melo (11-7) scored a quick submission win over Jose Caceres (5-5), needing just 70 seconds to get the win via heel hook.