World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is arguably assembling its greatest fight card in the promotion’s history, with a world championship tripleheader, headlined by a highly-anticipated showdown between reigning WSOF World Welterweight (170 pounds) Champion Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares and two-time world champion Jake Shields, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Saturday, Aug. 1, live on NBCSN.
The co-main event will see red-hot WSOF World Bantamweight (135 pounds) Champion Marlon Moraes put his coveted belt on the line against undefeated contender Sheymon Moraes, while two undefeated rising stars – Magomed “Gladiator” Bibulatov and Donavon Frelow – will face off in the first-ever WSOF world flyweight (125 pounds) championship bout.
“This is, in my opinion, the most incredible lineup of fights featuring marquee talent that WSOF has put together since we launched the company in 2012,” said WSOF President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo. “We have a collection of highly competitive matchups with top-caliber superstars that have all made some kind of mark in the sport, and it should be a spectacular night of world-class combat.”
In other action on the live NBCSN telecast, world kickboxing champion and MMA upstart Tyrone Spong will make his long-awaited return to the cage and square off with veteran powerhouse Mike “MAK” Kyle in a light heavyweight (205 pounds) contest.
Additionally, top-flight prospect and aggressive-minded finisher Abubaker Nurgamedov will make his promotional debut against an opponent to be announced.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Jake Shields
One of the top leg lock specialists in MMA who has earned 11 of his 17 career wins using this method of submission, the 35-year-old Palhares (17-6) of Dores Do Indaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, will enter the cage looking for his third straight victory under the WSOF banner and his fourth consecutive win overall.
In his first two WSOF starts, Palhares turned in back-to-back first round submission wins – the first over Steve Carl by way of inverted heel hook on March 29, 2014 to claim the promotion’s welterweight strap, and the second over Jon Fitch via kneebar on Dec. 13, 2014.
Like Palhares, the 36-year-old Shields (31-7-1, 1 NC) of San Francisco, Calif., is also seeking his third WSOF win in a row after defeating his last two opponents – Ryan Ford and Brian Foster – inside of one round of action by way of submission. In his WSOF debut on Oct. 11, 2014, the Cesar Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt tapped out Ford with a rear-naked choke, and on Jan. 17, Shields submitted Foster with a neck crank.
During his stellar, 16-year professional career, Shields, who held world titles with the now defunct promotions Strikeforce and EliteXC, has faced and defeated a long list of rival icons, including all-time great Dan Henderson, and superstars Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley.
Marlon Moraes vs. Sheymon Moraes
Since making his WSOF debut with a split-decision victory over superstar Miguel Torres on the promotion’s inaugural card on Nov. 3, 2012, Moraes (14-4-1) of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. via Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been unstoppable and on Feb. 21, the 27-year-old secured his ninth straight win with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Josh Hill.
The other Moraes has also been perfect since he jumpstarted his professional career with a unanimous decision win over Richard Medeiros on March 17, 2012. The 24-year-old, who has earned four of his seven career wins by way of (T)KO, made both his U.S. and promotional debut for WSOF on Dec. 13, 2014, earning a split decision over Gabriel Solorio.
Magomed Bibulatov vs. Donavon Frelow
Bibulatov (9-0) of Grozny, Chechnya, Russia and Frelow (4-0) of Las Vegas represent two of MMA’s most heralded 125-pound prospects.
Bibulatov, whose first start for WSOF also represents his debut in the U.S., notched his 9th career win on March 14, scoring a first round (1:30) KO on Eduardo Felipe in Grozny. The 26-year-old’s most noteworthy achievement to date is his victory of a one-night, eight-man tournament in Lamego, Portugal on Aug. 24, 2013, when he defeated three consecutive opponents, including two by way of first round submission, to emerge the winner of the single-elimination affair.
Frelow is a 30-year-old member of Wanderlei Silva’s fight squad and a product of Las Vegas’ highly competitive amateur fight circuit where he amassed an overall record of 5-1 between 2011 and 2013, his only defeat being on the losing end of a split decision in May 2011. In his last appearance and WSOF debut, Frelow earned a unanimous decision over Taylor McCorriston on Jan. 17.
Tyrone Spong vs. Mike Kyle
After sustaining a broken leg in kickboxing competition in April 2014, Spong (2-0) of Boca Raton, Fla. via Paramaribo, Suriname will enter the cage for the first time since Aug. 10, 2013, when he notched a unanimous decision over Angel DeAnda in WSOF action.
A three-time world kickboxing champion with over 80 career professional bouts in the sport, the 29-year-old former protégé of kickboxing legend “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost recently began pursuing a third combat sports career in professional boxing, as well, where he is a perfect 2-0 (1 KO), to date.
Kyle (21-12-1, 2 NC) of San Jose, Calif., is a battle-tested, heavy-handed finisher and member of Team AKA who has competed all over the world for numerous, major MMA promotions since he began his professional career in 2001.
The 35-year-old Kyle, who has earned 17 of his 21 professional career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, is coming off of a first round (1:56) submission (guillotine choke) victory over Baga Agaev on March 26.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. TBA
The younger brother of undefeated superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov and one of the top welterweight prospects in the world, Abubakar (9-1) of Makhachkala, Russia will make his much-anticipated debut on U.S. soil after inking a multi-fight agreement with WSOF in March.
Nurmagomedov, who trains under his father, Abdulmanap at Khabib’s gym FightSpirit Team, is coming off of a first round TKO (punches) win over Vladimir Gunzu on Feb. 22.
The live NBCSN telecast of “WSOF 22: Palhares vs. Shields” begins at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Saturday, August 1.
Doors at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino will open at 4 p.m. PT, and the first preliminary card bout will begin at 5 p.m. PT.