While most of the headlines this weekend will be revolving around one of the UFC’s biggest stars, Ronda Rousey, MMA fans may find themselves switching over to NBC Sports Network during the UFC 190 broadcast to catch some of World Series of Fighting 22. While fans will certainly be interested in the likes of ‘Shogun’ Rua and ‘Little Nog’ running back their 2005 classic, it’s hard to imagine the TUF Brazil 4 participants will garner the same sort of interest. That’s exactly where WSOF welterweight champion and former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields fit into the equation on cable. Palhares has been dominant since being one of the few UFC fighters to be cut following a loss. It has taken him just 159 seconds to dispatch Jon Fitch and Steve Carl en route to winning and defending the WSOF welterweight title. Shields has been equally impressive since his 5-3 UFC stint, stopping Ryan Ford and Brian Foster in the first round with submissions. For those looking for recognizable names in the midst of a UFC PPV that inexplicably features Glaico Franco, Fernando Bruno, Dileno Lopes, and Reginaldo Vieira (and yes, I checked, those are all real fighters), WSOF is an excellent option. The co-main event of WSOF 22 could be one of the better striking battles in the bantamweight division as well. Reigning champion Marlon Moraes will be defending his belt against undefeated prospect Sheymon Moraes. If both fighters decide to keep this on the feet, it could be one of the more technical and entertaining striking matches we’ve seen in quite some time. WSOF 22 also features a light heavyweight bout between Mike Kyle and Clifford Starks, as well as Russian prospects Islam Mamedov (1-0 in WSOF) and Abubakar Nurmagomedov (brother of Khabib Nurmagomedov). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for the main card of WSOF 22 today at Several Bookmakers. Check them out below: ——————– MAIN CARD (NBC Sports Network, 11pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: Palhares/Shields is the best fight of the weekend, and that’s a weekend featuring a UFC PPV that has a title bout and a rematch of a former ‘Fight of the Year’ on it. While the fight itself may not prove particularly interesting based on the respective styles, it’s still one I find very intriguing. Even though Palhares has been able to leg lock anyone who has grappled with him for nearly the entirety of his MMA career, I think Shields will be able to avoid that danger for the first few minutes and slowly start to take over. I’m not sure how long Palhares will last if he can’t get the early sub, so I’d stay away from totals here, especially since Palhares will need to get things done early if he’s going to retain his title. I think Marlon Moraes has advantages everywhere in this fight, although how he approaches the bout will determine how easy it is for him. On the feet, this will definitely be competitive, and that’s where Marlon is at his most vulnerable. If it does hit the ground, Marlon will have a big advantage, but I’m just not sure he takes the fight there unless really forced to. In the end, I will be picking Moraes, but there’s no way I can bet him at this price. If the over gets bet down I’d be interested in looking at that, as I am in all Marlon Moraes fights. If this fight was full-notice, I’d definitely like Clifford Starks to beat Mike Kyle. As it stands, I’m not sure if he’ll have enough cardio to grind Kyle out for three rounds, especially if Kyle can use his size to make Starks struggle for the early takedowns. There’s also Kyle’s power, which could definitely bode problems for Starks as we’ve seen in the past. I’ll be passing here unless the line gets too crazy in either direction, but when that’s my first instinct, passing it usually the right way to go. I think the two Russian prospects get the job done in their showcase fights, but I like Islam Mamedov a bit more. Until I really see otherwise on tape, I’ll feel like Abubakar Nurmagomedov is treading on his brother’s name. Jorge Moreno also seems a bit more dangerous than Jimmy Spicuzza, who brings a style somewhat similar to the two grinding Russians, which will make things a bit easier for Mamedov.