World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes made the first defense of his title at Thursday night’s WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Moraes entered the bout with Josh Hill undefeated in six trips to the WSOF cage, but that was put in jeopardy midway through the opening frame when Hill blasted the champ with an uppercut and several follow-ups that turned his nose into a crimson flowing faucet.
Having survived the early uppercut, Moraes took control in round two, slowly beginning to sap the power from Hill’s punches by attacking his lead leg and body with vicious kicks.
The second frame set the tone for the remainder of the fight. Moraes continued to chop away at Hill and use the blazing speed advantage in his punches to frustrate Hill and set up the big overhand right, which he landed several times.
Hill never relented, but he just couldn’t crack the championship code, Moraes continuously chipping away, and then putting a stamp on the fight with a solid takedown in the final round.
The judges saw it much the same way, awarding Moraes a unanimous decision victory, all three of them awarding the champion four of the five rounds.
“I was expecting this much from Josh, but he’s a tough (expletive). He hits hard, but I’m the champ. I’m here to be tested,” said Moraes after the fight.
“My nose got messed up in the first (round) and it messed me a little bit, but I showed a lot of heart. I think this fight is gonna bring me to the top.”
In the night’s co-main event, Shane Campbell had Derek Boyle in trouble from the opening minutes of the fight.
While the two traded strikes early, Campbell put a scare into Campbell by securing a guillotine choke about midway through the first round. He couldn’t sink the submission, but put Boyle on the mat and kept the pressure on throughout the round.
Campbell started to pull away in round two, chopping away at Boyle’s lead leg and then outstriking him with both punches and kicks. Boyle pressed Campbell to the fence, but Campbell did a good job hurting him with knees and elbows before taking him to the canvas to ground and pound him until the end of the frame.
Campbell wasted no time closing out the fight, stopping it almost as soon as the third round started. He sent Boyle to one knee with a kick to the body. Boyle got up and moved forward, but Campbell unloaded with a powerful array of punches, kicks and knees that drove him back to the mat.
The fight ended in a rain of Campbell’s powerful punches.
TUF 12 alum Cody McKenzie survived an early striking storm by Andrew McInnes to latch on his patented guillotine choke. Not many fighters get out of it, but McInnes did.
The two then exchanged ground and pound positions, and towards the end of the first round, McKenzie was raining down punches from inside McInnes’ guard, and then dove onto McInnes and the referee halted the action due to a McKenzie headbutt.
As McInnes rolled around in pain, the referee questioned McKenzie, who admitted to launching the headbutt in retaliation for McInnes apparently pulling his hair earlier in the fight.
Due to the illegal maneuver admittedly being intentional, the referee disqualified McKenzie and awarded the victory to McInnes.
In the main card opener on NBC Sports, Hakeem Dawodu put on an outstanding striking display, beating Tristan Johnson throughout their fight, eventually scoring a TKO stoppage due to strikes at 1:59 of the third round.
WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill Results
Marlon Moraes def. Josh Hill via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Shane Campbell def. Derek Boyle via TKO (punches) at 0:31, R3
Andrew McInnes def. Cody McKenzie via disqualification (illegal headbutt) at 4:57, R1
Hakeem Dawodu def. Tristan Johnson via TKO (strikes) at 1:59, R3
Dan Lariviere def. Garret Nybakken via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:40, R2
Mark Drummond def. Spencer Jebb via KO (knee) at 2:43, R3
Matt Baker vs. Ali Mokdad ruled no contest (accidental head clash) at 0:08, R1
Marcus Hicks def. Graham Park via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:28, R1
Mukai Maromo vs. Jose Rodriguez – Fight Cancelled (Rodriguez missed weight)