World Series of Fighting will return to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. for the second time this year with another star-studded, world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) mega-event, headlined by a welterweight (170 pounds) showdown between rival superstars Jon Fitch and Yushin “Thunder” Okami, on Saturday, Oct. 17, live on NBCSN.
“We are excited to return to Foxwoods Resort Casino and the state of Connecticut, where we showcased our brand of world championship MMA action in front of a highly passionate audience earlier this year,” said WSOF President Ray Sefo.
“Beginning with Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami, two of the best 170-pound athletes in our entire sport,” continued Sefo, “we are assembling another card loaded with some of the top superstars and emerging stars in MMA, and we look forward to giving fans another memorable night of fights.”
In the co-main event, WSOF World Heavyweight Champion Blagoy Ivanov will put his coveted title on the line for the first time when he squares off with seasoned contender Derek “Caveman” Mehmen.
In other action on the live NBCSN telecast, superstars Vinny Magalhaes and Matt “The Hammer” Hamill will make their respective WSOF debuts against each other in a light heavyweight (205 pounds) contest.
Also returning to the cage will be local favorite “Notorious” Nick Newell, who will take on an opponent to be named soon.
Jon Fitch vs. Yushin Okami
Both Fitch (26-7-1, 1 NC) of Las Vegas, Nev. and Okami (30-9) of Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan will look to return to the win column after their suffering defeats in their respective last starts, which were both world championship title bouts.
During his 12-year professional career, the 6-foot, 37-year-old Fitch, a former captain of world renowned fight team AKA and NCAA Division I wrestler for Purdue University, has submitted or scored TKO’s on a long list of rival superstars, including Roan Carneiro, Josh Burkman and Thiago Alves, and has earned decision wins over Diego Sanchez, Erick Silva and Ben Saunders.
Also a 12-year veteran of the sport, the 6-foot-2, 34- year-old Okami has earned 50 percent of his wins by way of (T)KO or submission, and boasts victories over a host of fellow marquee competitors, including Hector Lombard, Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz and Alan Belcher. In his WSOF debut on March 29, Okami notched a spectacular, second round (4:46) submission (arm-triangle choke) of Svetlozar Savov.
Blagoy Ivanov vs. Derek Mehmen
Ivanov (12-1) of Sofia, Bulgaria made history on June 5, 2015 when the 5-foot-11, 28-year-old pulled off a stunning, third round (1:17) submission (guillotine choke) of Smealinho Rama to become the second WSOF world heavyweight champion ever.
A judo black belt and 2008 Combat Sambo world champion, Ivanov defeated all-time great Fedor Emelianenko in the semi-final stage of the championship tournament.
Mehmen (19-6) of Coconut Creek, Fla. via Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a 6-foot-4, 30-year-old member of American Top Team. The heavy-handed, 9-year veteran of the sport has earned 11 of his 19 professional career wins by way of (T)KO.
Mehmen earned the 2013 “KO Punch of the Year,” awarded by AXS TV’s Inside MMA program, for his devastating, second round (2:40) finish of Rolles Gracie, Jr.at WSOF 5 on Sept. 14, 2013.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Matt Hamill
A former world MMA champion and multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, Magalhaes (12-7, 1 NC) of Las Vegas, Nev. will look to notch his third consecutive victory during his first start in the WSOF decagon cage and first appearance of 2015.
In his last effort, the 6-foot-3, 31-year-old native of Brazil submitted (guillotine choke) Jason Brilz in the fourth round (:36) of their matchup on Sept. 26, 2014.
A decade long veteran of MMA, Hamill of Loveland, Ohio remains one of the most inspirational athletes in all of MMA. Deaf since birth, Hamill has persevered time and time again, earning his way to three NCAA Division III wrestling national titles before dedicating himself to MMA.
The subject of a 2010 biographical film entitled “The Hammer,” the 6-foot-2, 38-year-old owns notable wins over Tito Ortiz, Tim Boetsch, Keith Jardine and Mark Munoz, among others, and also boasts past clashes with Michael Bisping, Rich Franklin, Alexander Gustafsson, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Jon Jones.
The live NBCSN telecast of “WSOF 24: Fitch vs. Okami” will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.
Doors at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino will open at 4:30 p.m. ET, and the first preliminary card bout will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Additional matchups will be announced soon. The card is subject to change.