Palhares secured an inverted heel hook, forcing Carl to tap at the 1:09 mark of the opening round.
“I’m so happy to have won this title,” Palhares said. “I’m extremely happy for being here.”
Palhares took the fight to the ground early. Once there, Carl attempted an omoplata, but Palhares escaped the hold and secured his opponent’s leg.
As he has done in fights before, Palhares worked towards securing a leg lock as his opponent shuffled in an attempt to escape. Palhares, however, locked on the heel hook early in the first round and was awarded the title just over a minute into his WSOF tenure.
The finish didn’t come without controversy, as the hold Palhares secured appeared to be held for a time after Carl tapped out. It also appeared referee Yves Lavigne had to pry Palhares’ arms away to release the hold.
Prior to signing with the WSOF, Palhares was banned from the UFC after his submission win over Mike Pierce in October. Pierce submitted to a leg lock, but Palhares held the lock for what was considered an unreasonable amount of time, prompting UFC President Dana White to ban the fighter for life.
With the win, Palhares improved his overall record to 16-3 and will fight former UFC contender Jon Fitch in his next bout.
Moraes decimates Rettinghouse for five rounds
Marlon Moraes became the inaugural WSOF bantamweight champion, dominating Josh Rettinghouse for five rounds in the evening’s co-main event.
Moraes capitalized with leg kicks on his way to a unanimous decision with scores of 50-44 across the judges’ panel.
Rettinghouse attempted a head kick shortly after the fight began, but Moraes countered a flurry of punches, one of which connected and dropped the defending fighter to the floor. He survived the Moraes barrage, but later ate another punch that had him backpedaling.
Moraes later worked to get a rear-naked choke, but Rettinghouse escaped and reversed position before the fight returned to the feet, where it conservatively remained through the end of the round.
Moraes landed another power shot in the second round, but the majority of the time period consisted of the fighters trading shots with no clear advantage in the striking. However, moments before the end of the round, Moraes landed a stiff jab that threw Rettinghouse’s head backwards.
The more leg kicks he threw, the more Moraes gained an advantage as the third round went on. Rettinghouse’s lead leg became a primary target, and the fighter squinted in pain with each kick that landed.
Towards the end of the third, Moraes landed another kick that made Rettinghouse drop the floor. Moraes pursued and landed hammer fists and punches through the end of the frame.
Moraes continued punishing his opponent as Rettinghouse limped on one leg. At one point, Rettinghouse attempted a leg kick of his own, but it was checked by his opponent, causing the attacking fighter to fall to the ground in pain.
Rettinghouse had no answer for Moraes’ offense and aggression throughout the final round, and time expired with the defeated fighter walking with an obvious limp.
In victory, Moraes collected his seventh straight win and improved his record to 13-4-1.
Okami makes it look easy against Savov
In his WSOF debut, former UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami dominated Svetlozar Savov and picked up a submission win in their main card fight.
The Japanese fighter was able to work his way into a arm-triangle choke, forcing Savov to tap at the 4:46 mark of the second round.
Okami waited for the right opportunity to gain an advantage, avoiding momentary strikes from Savov early on. Once the two clinched, Okami secured a takedown and advanced to full mount, where he pounded away at his opponent until the end of the opening round.
Savov began the second round attempting a number of spinning kicks. Okami, however, avoided getting hit and closed the distance to, once again, clinch and gain a takedown to secure full mount.
Once in mount, Okami continued to punish Savov from top position, but eventually worked towards securing the arm triangle, forcing the Bulgarian fighter to tap out.
With his victory on Saturday, Okami picked up the 30th win of his career.
Burkman, Nunez collect wins to open up main card
Josh Burkman knocked out Tyler Stinson in the second main card fight at WSOF 9, picking up the finish in the first round of their contest.
Burkman came forward with a punch combination, throwing his right then his left, followed by a looping right hand that dropped Stinson on his back. With one more punch on the ground, Burkman finished off his opponent at 2:15 of the opening frame.
To open up the card, Johnny Nunez defeated Ozzy Dugulubgov by split decision in their lightweight fight.
The 155-pound fighters traded controlling position throughout their scrap, but Nunez did more in two out of the three judges’ eyes to get the split scores of 28-29, 30-27 and 29-28.
Mike Corey def. Shane Kruchten by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:59, Round 2
Bryson Hansen def. Sean Cantor by TKO (punches) at 0:46, Round 1
Chris Gruetzemacher def. John Gunderson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Brenson Hansen def. Boostayre Nefarios by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Danny Davis def. Phil Dace by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jimmy Spicuzza def. Gil Guardado by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:14, Round 1
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