World Series of Fighting 22 took place on Saturday night in Las Vegas. It was headlined by two title fights, but the headliner was anticipated as much for the fire between the two athletes as it was for the bout being for a belt.
WSOF welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares has been plagued by accusations that he is a dirty fighter, that he holds his devastating leg-lock submissions much longer than necessary, trying to intentionally injure his opponents. In fact, that is why he no longer fights for the UFC.
His opponent, Jake Shields, is chief among his detractors. A submission specialist himself, Shields believes that Palhares has been doing his opponents dirty with his “extended” submission holds. WSOF 22 was his chance to exact a little revenge for all those that came before him.
Shields didn’t exact the revenge that he had hoped for, but he also certainly did not change his mind that Palhares is a dirty fight. And Palhares likely didn’t sway anyone else’s opinion of him in his process of winning the fight.
When the same process unfolded in round two, Shields scoring numerous takedowns, Palhares appeared to revert to a dirty approach. This time, however, it was continuously raking Shields across the eyes.
Shields complained several times to referee Steve Mazzagatti, who eventually warned Palhares, but didn’t take a point away. Shields had some heated words with the referee following the end of the round.
In the third round, Shields seemed to be solely focused on takedowns. Only this time, Palhares stuffed most of them and made him pay with heavy punches and knees to the body.
As Shields wore down, Palhares stepped up his striking. Shields eventually scored the takedown, but it didn’t play to his favor. Palhares secured a Kimura shoulder-lock on the way down. As they hit the mat, Shields immediately tapped out.
Palhares didn’t let go.
The referee dropped to his knees and started slapping Palhares with both hands, but he still wouldn’t immediately let go.
As the ref finally pulled Palhares off of Shields, Shields jabbed Palhares with a punch.
He wasn’t sorry he did so.
“One, he kept cranking it. Worse than that, he gouged my eyes eight times. He’s a dirty, dirty fighter,” said Shields when asked if he felt justified in punching Palhares after the horn.
“I was definitely justified. He gouged me like eight times. I couldn’t see the third round. It was a joke the ref didn’t stop the fight. Not one person has ever done that (to me before).”
Shields will likely catch some heat for his punch after the bell, but with the way he fought and also held the submission, again, Palhares will as well.
Don’t be surprised if both are called before the Nevada Athletic Commission.
The bantamweight battle between champion Marlon Moraes and challenger Sheymon Moraes – no that’s not a typo; they have the same last name – was shaping up to be a stand-up war.
Marlon and Sheymon traded punches for the better part of two and a half rounds. Sheymon took the center of the cage, but it was Marlon that controlled the pace, moving in and out and landing more frequently and more powerfully with his punches.
But just when it looked like either a knockout or a decision would be the end to the fight, everything changed.
Marlon rocked Sheymon with a brutal punch combination in the middle of round three. Sheymon went staggering to the canvas. Marlon soon followed, where he took side control and then back control and then sunk in a rear-naked choke.
Sheymon defended momentarily, but Marlon stayed with the choke and slipped it under the chin and forced the tapout at the 3:46 mark.
After the fight, it sounded as if it was a struggle for Marlon just to make it to fight night, but he wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to defend his belt for the third time.
“Two weeks ago, eight stitch for my nose,” said Marlon. “I hurt my ribs training. That was tough training camp. (But) I wasn’t going to let the world see (WSOF 22) without this fight.”
Clifford Starks took advantage of a last-minute opportunity to secure a big victory.
Thiago Silva was supposed to have fought Mike Kyle on Saturday night, but his failure to clear up an outstanding issue with the Nevada Athletic Commission disqualified him from competing.
Instead, Starks stepped up and used his takedowns and ground and pound to win a unanimous decision over Kyle.
WSOF 22: Palhares vs. Shields Results
Rousimar Palhares def. Jake Shields by submission (Kimura) at 2:02, R3
Marlon Moraes def. Sheymon Moraes by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:46, R3
Clifford Starks def. Mike Kyle by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Jorge Moreno by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Islam Mamedov def. Jimmy Spicuzza by TKO (punches), R1