Donavon Frelow Replaces Injured Timur Valiev for Bantamweight Title at WSOF 35

World Series of Fighting recently announced that Donavon Frelow (6-1-0) will replace an injured Timur Valiev in the bantamweight title fight against Bekbulat Magomedov (17-1) at the WSOF35 world championship tripleheader event, live on NBCSN at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday, March 18.

Frelow last appeared in the decagon at WSOF24 where, despite being a huge underdog, he battled Magomed “Gladiator” Bibulatov for five intense rounds eventually losing the inaugural flyweight championship title in a unanimous decision. Before that, he was on a five fight win streak to start his professional career, with 4 of those wins coming by way of submission.

Dagestani powerhouse Bekbulat Magomedov (17-1) last competed at WSOF33. Magomedov spoiled the WSOF debut of Jesse Brock and sports an impressive professional record. Magomedov vs. Frelow represents the chance for either fighter to go from heralded prospect to world champion as the two battle for the recently vacated bantamweight belt.

In the World Series of Fighting Heavyweight Championship Main Event, reigning kingpin Blagoy Ivanov (14-1) defends his title against No. 1 contender Shawn “Savage” Jordan (19-7).

Ivanov won the WSOF heavyweight strap in his first bout inside the Decagon, defeating Smealinho Rama by submission. The Bulgarian would defend the title at WSOF24 by defeating Derrick Mehmen by second-round TKO. The 5-foot-11, 29-year-old Ivanov of Sofia, Bulgaria fended off a valiant and tenacious Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland for five straight, electrifying rounds of battle in the main event of WSOF31 on June 17 to retain the coveted heavyweight title.

Ivanov is a Judo black belt and was a semi-finalist at the 2008 world Sambo championships where he famously defeated all-time MMA great Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko.

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After joining the WSOF in 2013, Ivanov has enjoyed an impressive winning streak with six consecutive victories, all by way of TKO or submission.

Ivanov’s opponent, Jordan, was a member of Louisiana State University’s 2003 and 2007 BCS National championship teams and is a veteran of the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. The former UFC heavyweight contender strung together an impressive 6-4 record before joining the WSOF’s ranks. Jordan is known for both his knockout power and rare athleticism for a heavyweight. The title contender is known for his back flips following victories and is the owner of one of the greatest KOs in heavyweight MMA history against Derrick Lewis. Jordan punched his ticket to a title fight with a thunderous TKO victory over Ashley Gooch in his Decagon debut at WSOF33.

Before the heavyweights meet inside the Decagon, the WSOF featherweight title will be on the line as Lance “The Party” Palmer (11-2) looks to begin a successful second title run at the expense of rising star Andre “The Bull” Harrison (15-0). Palmer recently reclaimed the WSOF featherweight title after defeating Alexandre Almeida at WSOF32. Palmer, a Division I All-American wrestler at Ohio State University, will have a tough task as Harrison’s confidence level is high after an dominating promotional debut at WSOFNYC with the 1st round submission of Bruce Boyington. Considered one of the best up-and-coming featherweights, Harrison has combined a collegiate wrestling background with impressive striking and submission skills. Harrison represents a real threat to the champion in every area of the fight. Competing in his backyard, the New York-native will surely enjoy a hometown advantage over Palmer.

The preliminary fight card will stream live and free worldwide on, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, immediately before the national broadcast.

Headlining the undercard will be a welterweight battle between Russian standout Abubakar Nurmagomedov (13-1) and veteran Matt Secor (8-3). Nurmagomedov, the younger brother of UFC lightweight contender Khabib, is riding a five-fight win streak which includes all four of his appearances in the Decagon. Secor, who appeared on Season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter, has 3 submission wins in his last 5 fights and it looking for the biggest win of his career when he makes his WSOF debut.

Unbeaten featherweight “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu (6-0-1) of Calgary, Alberta will be looking to continue his impressive run when he faces off against Steven Siler (28-15).  All six of Dawodu’s wins come via KO/TKO including his most recent victory against Marat Magomedov at WSOF32. Siler looks to get back on track after dropping a split-decision to current title challenger Andre “The Bull” Harrison (15-0) outside the Decagon

Also, former K-1 star Andrews Nakahara (5-3-2) will face Emmanuel Walo (10-2-1) in a welterweight clash. A former competitor on The Ultimate Fighter, Nakahara will be looking to put together back-to-back wins after making a successful debut at WSOF32 last year. Meanwhile, Wallo will attempt to add another win inside the Decagon. Previously going 2-0 in his WSOF appearances, Wallo is enjoying a three-fight winning streak overall.

Alexandre Almeida (17-7) will be squaring off against Steven “Avenger” Rodriguez (8-2) in a featherweight fight. Almeida (17-7) will be looking to secure another title match after losing the belt in a rematch against Palmer at WSOF32. Hailing from Costa Rica, Rodriguez is currently in the midst of a seven-fight winning streak.

Talented prospect Phil Hawes (4-1) of Little Ferry, N.J. is set to compete in a middleweight clash with Eli Wynter (2-0).  Hawes made an impressive debut with WSOF last year when the 6-foot, 27-year-old made quick work of Joshua Key, scoring a first round (2:52) TKO with a series of elbow strikes.  Hawes is looking to to rebound from a disappointing loss to Louis “Put The Guns Down” Taylor at WSOF32 after taking the fight on quick turnaround. Wynter, fighting out of Kennesaw, Ga., is riding a two-fight win streak, winning both by KO/TKO.

Renzo Gracie fighter Tom “Tommy Gun” Marcellino (8-5) picked up a victory last time he fought in New York and will look to do the same at the expense of veteran Bill Jones (12-10) of Berwick, Maine in a lightweight showdown.

Looking to cement his place atop the 155-pound rankings, Islam Mamedov (13-1) squares off with American Top Team’s Natan “Desmanche” Schulte (11-2) in a lightweight battle.

Elsewhere on the WSOF35 preliminary card, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (14-10) faces Rodrigo “The Young Lion” Almeida (13-4) in a featherweight rematch. The two men previously met at WSOF24 with Boyington emerging victorious by split decision.

Boyington will be looking to end a two-fight losing skid to close out 2016. Boyington is always game to face the best fighters available, evident by taking on the undefeated Harrison at WSOFNYC and now the talented prospect Almeida at WSOF35.

Born in Brazil but fighting out of Woburn, MA, Almeida will be looking for revenge against his former adversary. Almeida has gone 1-1 outside the promotion since the Boyington fight and will look to prove that he belongs among the upper echelon of talent in the WSOF featherweight division.



  • World Series of Fighting Heavyweight Championship Main Event:
    Blagoy Ivanov (Champion) vs. Shawn Jordan (Challenger)
  • World Series of Fighting Featherweight Championship Co-Main Event:
    Lance Palmer (Champion) vs. Andre Harrison (Challenger)
  • World Series of Fighting Bantamweight Championship (vacant):
    Bekbulat Magomedov vs. Donavon Frelow


  • Welterweight:  Abubakar Nurmagomedov (13-1-1) vs. Matt Secor (8-3)
  • Featherweight: Hakeem Dawodu (6-0-1) vs. Steven Siler (28-15)
  • Welterweight: Andrews Nakahara (5-3-2) vs. Emmanuel Walo (10-2-1)
  • Lightweight: Islam Mamedov (13-1) vs. Natan Schulte (11-2)
  • Middleweight: Phil Hawes (4-1) vs. Eli Wynter (2-0)
  • Featherweight: Alexandre Almeida (17-7) vs Steven Rodriguez (8-2)
  • Lightweight: Tom Marcellino (8-5) vs. Bill Jones (12-10)
  • Featherweight: Bruce Boyington (14-10) vs. Rodrigo Almeida (13-4)

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