Jon Fitch earned a title shot at the vacant welterweight championship against Jake Shields by defeating Yushin Okami in the World Series of Fighting 24 main event at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. on Saturday. The fight card also featured two title fights. Heavyweight champion Blagy Ivanov successfully defended his belt while Magomed Bibulatov became the organization’s inaugural flyweight titleholder.
Fitch spoiled Okami’s welterweight debut and title hopes by out-grappling the Japanese veteran. Okami defended Fitch’s takedown attempts in the opening round, but that changed as the fight entered the second and third frames.
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Fitch applied constant pressure and controlled Okami in the clinch, and during the grappling exchanges. He won the scrambles and maintained dominant position in the second round. The third round played out like the second. Okami, known for his clinch game and grappling ability, didn’t have an answer for Fitch’s stifling fighting style. After fifteen minutes of fighting, all three judges scored Fitch winning unanimously.
Ivanov put his heavyweight title on the line for the first time in the fight card’s co-main event against Derrick Mehmen. The champion took the fight to the challenger and got the finish in the second round.
Ivanov applied forward pressure from the sound of the opening bell. He wobbled Mehmen in the early going to the first round, but Mehmen wasn’t going way easy. Straight left hands were finding their mark for Ivanov while Mehmen couldn’t seem to find his range. Most of his punches came up just short of their target.
Ivanov bloodied Mehman in the first frame and continued where he left off in the second. He landed a hard left had that sent Mehmen back peddling, falling to his knees and holding his face. The referee reacted quickly and made sure Mehmen didn’t endure unnecessary damage.
Former WSOF lightweight title contender Nick Newell edged out a decision win over Tom Marcellino in other main card action.
Newell closed the distance with punches and put Marcellino on the canvas a minute into the fight. Newell delivered punches before mounting Marcellino. He briefly worked to lock on a guillotine choke before switching to an arm bar. Marcellino defended the submission attempts and got to his feet. The first frame ended with Newell trying to get the fight back to the ground, but clearly winning the stanza.
Newell pressed forward in the second round. As he worked for a takedown, Marcellino applied a guillotine choke and pulled guard, but Newell wasn’t in any danger. Newell took Marcellino’s back midway through the frame. Marcellino worked his way to guard, but Newell advanced to the mount position. Marcellino regained guard and the referee opted to stand the fighters up.
As the end of the round approached, the bell was accidentally rang instead of the clicker to indicate ten seconds remaining. The bell sounded as Marcellino had caught a kick and put Newell on his back.
Marcellino came out in the final frame with a sense of urgency and thinking that he won either the first or second round. Marcellino caught a kick and took Newell down early. He worked to take Newell’s back. Newell used the cage to stand and changed levels looking for a takedown. Marcellino applied a guillotine choke that had Newell in a lot of trouble. Newell eventually worked himself free from the choke and gained top position. The referee stood them up and Newell went for a takedown. Marcellino stuffed it and gained top position. He landed a few punches and Newell answered with an up-kick. Marcellino stood above Newell taunting him for the final seconds of the fight.
The judges scored the bout for Newell by unanimous decision, but Marcellino didn’t agree.
Marcellino approached Newell following the fight saying that he won. Newell quickly quipped, “I won.” Marcellino continued to declare that he won the fight and Newell had heard enough. “Get out of my face,” he said. “Be a better sport. You lost.”
Hamill stunned Magalhaes with an uppercut and followed the Brazilian to the canvas looking for the finish. Instead, he found himself caught in Magalhaes’ web of submissions.
Magalhaes quickly worked to secure an arm bar before switching his focus to Hamill’s leg. Magalhaes locked on a knee bar, and Hamill immediately started tapping out.
“Every time I win a fight it’s by a finish,” said Magalhaes following the fight. “I got him in the first round. That’s my first ever knee bar victory in MMA which I thought I’d never do.”
WSOF crowned their first flyweight champion in the opening bout of the main card. Undefeated Magomedov Bibulatov etched his name into the organization’s history book by handing Donovan Frelow his first career defeat to capture the inaugural 125-pound belt.
Bibulatov secured takedowns throughout the five-round contest, but Frelow proved hard to keep down. When Frelow moved forward, he saw success, but Bibulatov kept him on his heels much of the fight.
Bibulatov outworked his opponent on his way to a unanimous decision win. All three judges scored the fight 50-45 for the Russian.
Complete World Series of Fighting 24 Results:
Jon Fitch def. Yushin Okami by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Blagoy Ivanov def. Derrick Mehmen by TKO (punches) at 4:33, R2
Nick Newell Tom Marcellino by decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Vinny Magalhaes def. Matt Hamill by submission (knee bar) at 1:08, R1
Magomed Bibulatov def. Donavan Frelow by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Rick Glenn def. Adam Ward by KO (punches) at 1:27, R2
Alexandre de Almeida def. Saul Almeida by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:23, R1
Colton Smith def. Washington Da Silva by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Pat Walsh def. Tyler King by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Rex Harris def. Justin Torrey by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bruce Boyington def. Rodrigo Almeida by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)