World Series of Fighting finished its first show with two impressive knockouts, including a show stealer from Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, while Miguel Torres’ struggles continued on Saturday night at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
It’s been a few years since Andrei Arlovski held the UFC heavyweight title, but his promise of returning to top form has always loomed overhead when he fights. Arlovski looked to recapture that magic when he faced Devin Cole in the main event of the inaugural World Series of Fighting show Saturday night.
Always quick on his feet, Arlovski clearly had a speed advantage over Cole, who seemed to lumber forward looking for big power shots without putting together much by way of combinations.
As Cole stepped forward just moments into the fight, Arlovski countered with a big overhand right that clipped his opponent on the top of the head, and he immediately dropped to the mat.
Arlovski jumped down to land a few hammer fists, but as Cole rolled to his side, it was clear that he wanted no more.
Following a very rough four-fight losing streak between 2009 and 2011, Arlovski has bounced back with three wins in his last four fights, with one no-contest in between. Now working full-time with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico, Arlovski will look to continue his path back to relevancy with his next scheduled bout.
If the World Series of Fighting was in need of a highlight finish for its first card, Anthony Johnson certainly did his part to proved it.
The former welterweight who now competes at 205 pounds, Johnson was looking for his third win since moving to the weight class earlier this year facing former super-heavyweight D.J. Linderman. An early foul brought a pause to the fight when Johnson’s low kick ended up going right up the middle between Linderman’s legs like a field goal.
The brief break didn’t stop Johnson, however, who continued to launch big strikes at Linderman, but the fight seemingly shifted when Johnson paused to turn and complain of an eye poke to referee Herb Dean.
Dean didn’t see the eye poke and urged the fighters to continue, so Linderman, thinking he had an opening, rushed forward with strikes.
That was a big mistake.
Johnson threw a single, straight right hand and Linderman continued moving forward, except it was falling flat on his face, crashing on the canvas. Prior to the fight, Linderman had prodded at Johnson, talking about his power, but it was the former welterweight that showed him what power was all about.
“He just kept talking about all this power and what he can do cause he came down from heavyweight. I just showed him what a 170-pounder could do,” Johnson said after some pre-fight trash talk from his opponent.
Johnson, now 3-0 as a light heavyweight with three knockouts, looks like he will have plenty of offers coming his way as 2013 fast approaches.
It wasn’t long ago that Miguel Torres was sitting on top of the bantamweight world and considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. But following a loss to Brian Bowles in 2009, Torres has struggled mightily to put any kind of winning streak together, going just 3-3 before exiting the UFC earlier this year.
Torres hoped to get back on track facing Brazilian Marlon Moraes at the debut card for World Series of Fighting, but he once again couldn’t quite put the right ingredients together for a winning recipe.
Moraes was quicker to the punch at virtually every point in the fight, landing power shots to the head, and snapping kicks to Torres’ legs. As the fight wore on, Torres started to put together more offense, including his signature long jab, but it was never enough to put Moraes off balance for more than a moment or two.
The final judges’ tally scored the fight a split decision for Moraes, who picks up an upset win over the former WEC champion. Now, Moraes will face Tyson Nam at the second World Series of Fighting event in early 2013, while Torres goes back to the drawing board once again.
The hype around kickboxing phenom Tyrone Spong making his move into MMA was nothing if not at a fever pitch, and he certainly did his part to prove everyone right about him.
For more than the past year, Spong has been working tirelessly with the team at the Blackzilians in Florida, honing his complete mixed martial arts game to make the transition from kickboxing.
His first MMA opponent, Travis Bartlett, certainly didn’t offer up much resistance to test Spong’s ground game, but he did a noble job of taking some devastating shots from the Dutchman early on without dropping to the mat.
Spong fired off high kicks, knees and punches as Bartlett stared back at him like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck. Mercifully, after a half a round, Spong dropped Bartlett with a straight right.
Spong walked away as referee Steve Mazzagatti came in to stop the action. Following the fight, even Spong admitted he should have followed up with more strikes until the referee pulled him away, but that’s an adjustment he still needs to make from his days as a kickboxer.
“I have to get used to finishing the guys,” said Spong. “I was waiting on an 8-count.”
It would appear MMA has a new bright star to keep an eye on as Tyrone Spong continues his journey from kickboxer to mixed martial artist.
-Andrei Arlovski def. Devin Cole by TKO (strikes) at 2:37, R1
-Anthony Johnson def. D.J. Linderman by KO at 3:58, R1
-Marlon Moraes def. Miguel Torres by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
-Tyrone Spong def. Travis Bartlett by KO at 3:15, R1
-Tyson Steele def. Gregor Gracie by TKO (strikes) at 4:52, R1
-Brian Cobb def. Ronys Torres by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
-Josh Burkman def. Gerald Harris by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
-Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante def. T.J. O’Brien by submission (heel hook) at 1:03, R1
-David Branch def. Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision (29-28 on all cards)
-Steve Carl def. Ramico Blackmon by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:11, R1
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