World Series of Fighting landed at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday night for Burkman vs. Carl, which featured Josh Burkman and Steve Carl squaring off for the first championship belt in the promotion’s brief history.
Burkman and Carl, both workman-like fighters, definitely punched the clock on Saturday night. Neither man would back down, each getting his licks in, but the majority of this contest took place on the mat, where they traded multiple submission attempts throughout.
Carl looked like he had a fight-ending rear-naked choke locked on midway through round three, but Burkman escaped, reversed fortunes, and nearly submitted Carl with a tight guillotine choke from mount.
It took Carl until early in the fourth round to find his championship mojo, but once he did, he didn’t let up. He took Burkman down, only to get reversed. Fighting off his back, Carl somehow snaked his way into a triangle choke, causing Burkman to tap. The referee, however, didn’t acknowledge his surrender, only stopping the bout after Burkman’s body fell limp.
“I feel a little disappointed. I feel like I could have performed a lot better,” said Carl, the first WSOF welterweight champion. He had a reason for not performer as well as he would have liked, however.
“There’s something not a lot of people know,” Carl continued. “Two weeks ago I was in the emergency room with torn muscles and a bulging disc in my back, unable to walk. My last two weeks have been nothing but rest and rehab to get here.”
He took nothing away from his opponent.
“I was so tired I wanted to quit there a couple of times. Josh is a really game opponent and he kept bringing it. I didn’t think I could do it for a while, but my cornermen kept pushing me through it. Here we are. We did it.”
In the night’s co-main event, Marlon Moraes once again showed why he is one of the most promising bantamweight prospects in the world.
He snuffed every takedown attempt an aggressive Carson Beebe could muster, all the while peppering him with punches. Moraes eventually caught Beebe with a couple of uppercuts, and then floored him with a hook to the jaw.
“He’s a wrestler; he comes hard to take me down, but I was ready,” said Moraes in his post-fight interview. “He was too close to take me down. I could hit him with some punches, and this is what I did.”
Fitch outlasted an early onslaught from Alfaya, wearing him down, and then grinding out a ground and pound attack, earning a split decision victory.
Showing once again that he is at the head of the lightweight pack in WSOF, Justin Gaethje methodically took UFC veteran Dan Lauzon apart to keep his undefeated record intact.
Gaethje quite simply chopped Lauzon down with leg kicks, leaving him hobbled by the end of round one, and then went in for the kill in round two. Gaethje chopped away some more and then unloaded with a right hook followed by a right uppercut to put Lauzon down and out.
-Steve Carl def. Josh Burkman via Sub (Triangle Choke) at 1:02, R4
-Marlon Moraes def. Carson Beebe via KO (Punches) at 0:32, R1
-Jon Fitch def. Marcelo Alfaya via Split Dec
-Justin Gaethje def. Dan Lauzon via KO (Punches) at 1:40, R2
-Pablo Alfonso def. Miguel Torres via Sub (Guillotine Choke) at 3:05, R1
-Luiz Firmino def. Jacob Volkmann via Unan Dec
-Chad Robichaux def. Andrew Yates via Tech Sub (North-South Choke) at 4:09, R2
-Josh Rettinghouse def. Alexis Vila via Unan Dec
-Nick LoBosco def. Fabio Mello by KO (Head Kick & Punches) at 2:02, R1
-Alexandre Pimentel def. Jade Porter Sub (Triangle Choke) at 3:05, R3