With the absence of the Maximum Fighting Championship, and the UFC all but abandoning the Canadian market, World Series of Fighting has become the defacto number one promotion north of the border at this point. The hexagonal cage returns to Edmonton for the sixth time with WSOF 21 this Friday. While there was some debate over which of the evening’s two title fights would serve as headliner, the organization chose featherweight champion Lance Palmer to fill the main event slot with his title defense against Canadian Chris Horodecki. Palmer has looked extremely impressive since suffering his lone career loss at the hands of Georgi Karakhanyan back in 2013. Horodecki has compiled an 8-4-1, 1 NC record since his early career run in the IFL, but the majority of his wins have come over regional level competition, dropping his bouts against higher level fighters. The other title fight on the card is in the heavyweight division, as Canadian Smealinho Rama debuts against former Sambo world champion Blagoi Ivanov. Rama’s lone loss came to UFC fighter Anthony Hamilton in the aformentioned MFC, but holds wins over Steve Mocco, Tim Hague, and Derrick Mehmen since then. Ivanov will be making his WSOF debut after a 6-1 run in Bellator which saw him advance to the organization’s heavyweight tournament final before falling to Alexander Volkov. The other two main card fights are more for the Canadian crowd than those who will be tuning in on NBC Sports Network, as TUF vet Michael Hill takes on Mark Dummond, while Hakeem Dawodu looks to build on his impressive WSOF debut against Chuka Willis. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for WSOF 21 today at Several Bookmakers. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (NBC Sports Network, 9pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: I don’t see anywhere that Chris Horodecki can beat Lance Palmer. Even though he was seen as a striker early in his career, most of his success in recent years has come by clinching with opponents and controlling dull fights. In the clinch, Palmer is a significantly better, stronger wrestler, at range Palmer will be faster and more powerful, even if Horodecki has an ever-so-slight technique edge (which is probably being reduced by the day), and on the ground Palmer has heavy top control, good ground-and-pound, and a variety of chokes. This is a blowout. If you don’t mind laying heavy juice, you play Palmer however you see fit. The co-main event is far more tricky, but I like Smealinho Rama to successfully defend his belt. Ivanov may be a slightly better grappler, but I think Rama is good enough to keep this fight standing where he is much more dangerous. Neither guy has a great gas tank, so if this gets into the later rounds it could be anyone’s fight, and I’m going to stay away from it for that reason, but the Canadian is the pick. As for the Hill/Drummond fight, I really have no idea who will win and I certainly won’t be betting it. Hill has the better experience, but Drummond will have some physical advantages that he should be able to put to use in the striking. Drummond’s weakness in the past has been his grappling, but Hill doesn’t have much of a sub game. If I had to guess, I think Hill grinds it out a bit, but wouldn’t be shocked if Drummond gets the better of a stand-up battle. On the other hand, I expect Hakeem Dawodu to look excellent once again versus Chuka Willis. Dawodu is simply too much on the feet for Willis, and his takedown defense keeps on improving. If Willis were a standout wrestler, I may feel differently, but WSOF is doing the right things with Dawodu early in his career.