When most people hear the words “World Series,” they think baseball. And this year, that particular World Series ended with the likes of Pablo Sandoval and Sergio Romo leading the San Francisco Giants to a clean sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
But fighting now has its own “World Series” event: the upstart World Series of Fighting promotion. And while those other World Series winners are popping open bottles of champagne and celebrating victory, there are 22 fighters hoping to experience the same level of sheer and utter dominance over their opponents. For them, the World Series is just getting started.
Whereas Giants third baseman Sandoval bashed three balls over the outfield wall in one game, MMA newcomer and accomplished kickboxer Tyrone Spong is hoping to hit just one home run on Saturday night, with his opponent Travis Bartlett’s head playing the role of the ball and his own leg as the bat.
Whereas Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro finally found the ultimate success after years of bouncing from team to team, UFC veteran Anthony Johnson hopes that his days of moving from weight class to weight class will end with extended success both on the scale and in the cage at 205 pounds.
And whereas Giants pitcher Barry Zito reclaimed his role as a key member of the rotation, making his first-ever World Series appearance and earning a win, UFC veterans Andrei Arlovski and Miguel Torres seek to show the world that they too still have what it takes to compete at a championship level.
For each fighter on the inaugural World Series of Fighting event, they are the ones on the mound in the 10th inning. And like Giants closer Sergio Romo, they are all focused on putting an end to their opponent in a career-defining moment.
Some will taste the same joy as that Giants team, while others will leave the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas with the same deep disappointment that fell over the Detroit Tigers after Romo threw his final pitch.
The MMA Corner’s panel of Dan Kuhl, Riley Kontek and Bryan Henderson provide a complete breakdown of the Nov. 3 event, which can be viewed live beginning with the prelims on Sherdog and moving to the NBC Sports Network at 10:30 p.m. ET for the main card, in this edition of the Round Table.
Kuhl: Travis Bartlett versus Tyrone Spong is an interesting matchup on paper. Bartlett by far looks like the superior MMA fighter with a 7-2 record, versus Spong’s 0-0 record, but that is beyond deceiving. The Dutch-Surinamese Spong is one of the world’s most accomplished kickboxers. Bartlett, on the other hand, has been fighting MMA for about five years, and most of his wins are by knockout, which is a problem for him.
Spong, at 27 years of age, carries a kickboxing record of 68-6-1-1 with 42 knockouts. This guy is a complete animal in the striking department. He currently trains with the Blackzilians in Florida, which is a pretty awesome group of guys to work with when you need to work on BJJ skills.
Spong also has been fighting consistently for 11 years with his last fight coming just four months ago, but Bartlett hasn’t been in the ring in over two years, so ring rust could also be a factor.
The match-up between Spong and Bartlett does not leave a lot to the imagination. Spong is a world-class striker, and while Bartlett does have a winning record with five of his wins coming by first- or second-round knockout, he just won’t be able to handle Spong’s power and experience.
Spong should take this one by first- or second-round KO.
Kontek: I have been waiting for Spong to make the jump to MMA for a while, and now we will get a chance to see what he’s got.
Spong is one of the best kickboxers in the world, so you know his striking is lethal. His work with the Blackzilians means he will have trained with some solid ground guys, including Rashad Evans. It will be interesting to see what happens if Spong goes to the ground.
Bartlett is a good matchup for Spong because he is a striker. This is really Spong’s fight to win or lose.
I think Spong will likely end this quickly by knockout. Then it’s on to bigger and better things.
Henderson: Bartlett is more experienced than my colleagues have acknowledged. His MMA run might only extend to nine professional fights and five years, but his roots are in boxing. In that sport, Bartlett compiled a 77-19 record as an amateur. He’s also spent time recently as a sparring partner to both Wanderlei Silva and Frank Mir. The only problem is that, given who he is facing, he shouldn’t have been sparring with Mir, he should have been rolling with him.
Spong’s accolades in kickboxing have secured him a spot in that sport’s top 10 among active fighters. I hate to sound like an echo, so just picture me nodding my head in agreement when my fellow panelists talk about how much of a force Spong is on his feet.
If Bartlett has lost 19 fights in amateur boxing, I don’t have too much confidence that he can stand toe-to-toe with Spong and have any chance of putting on the superior play. Hell, he’ll be lucky to keep his head intact. If this stays standing, Spong is scoring the knockout in the first round.
Bartlett’s only chance might be to take this fight to the mat. However, unless he really was rolling with Mir, he’ll likely be an even bigger fish out of water than Spong on the mat. After all, Spong has been training with the Blackzilians and there’s no doubt they’ve drilled in grappling enough to give Spong a serviceable ground game.
This is probably going to be ugly, at least for Bartlett. He’s dealing with two years of ring rust and a world-class striker. Spong might be heading into his first MMA encounter ever, but he still has to be a heavy favorite here. This one will look more like a kickboxing sparring session, with Spong unleashing devastating punishment on Bartlett to score the knockout win.
Kontek: Welterweight prospects collide, as Brazil’s Gregor Gracie takes on the Canadian, Tyson Steele.
Gracie comes from the world-famous Gracie clan and is a submission specialist. Six of his seven wins have come via submission, including an armbar of Nicholas Mann in his last outing. Gracie has not been submitted, so if the fight goes to the ground he will likely have the advantage.
Steele is a Maximum Fighting Championship veteran that is also skilled on the ground. Seven of his wins have come by submission, though he does own a loss by submission at the hands of Curtis Demarce.
I expect Gracie to bring this fight to the ground. Strikes will be used to set up his shot and from there he will show Steele that the Canadian is not in the Brazilian’s league. I think Gracie will earn a tap, maybe from a rear-naked choke, and get his first win in the new organization.
Henderson: The biggest problem for Steele is that his best attributes will be trumped by Gracie’s own skills in the same aspect of the game. Steele has excelled at submissions, but now he’s fighting a highly-decorated BJJ black belt who just happens to come from the most famous family in the sport.
In this contest, Steele is going to have to test Gracie’s stand-up and keep the fight off the mat at all costs. Steele does have one TKO to his credit, so there is a chance that he can pull off a win over Gracie in a fashion similar to Doug Gordon’s 2008 head kick knockout of the Brazilian.
That seems like a longshot, however. Gracie is the better grappler, and Steele doesn’t have much to offer outside of his own grappling abilities. I also see Gracie coaxing a tapout from his opponent, likely in the second stanza.
Kuhl: When I look at this match-up, it’s easy to give the Gracie fighter the nod. Steele is a bad dude, but his ground wins have been against opponents that are nowhere near Gracie’s level of competition.
The main thing I look at in this fight are the respective training camps.
The Renzo Gracie team has one of the top up-and-coming training camps in the country. The fighters and trainers, one of which is Gregor, have been putting together some really great fights. Steele, on the other hand, comes from a great camp in Canada’s Alliance team, but he does not have near the level of camp that Gracie does. That being said, the Gracie team, while traditionally known for their BJJ, also have some of the best strikers in MMA.
With a better striking camp and far superior grappling, I agree that Gracie will take this one, but I see him taking it by TKO in the second.
Henderson: One of the WSOF’s biggest names, former WEC bantamweight kingpin Miguel Torres, will fight for the first time since his departure from the UFC. He’ll have to stop tweeting politically-incorrect jokes long enough to touch gloves with Marlon Moraes, a 24-year-old prospect fighting out of The Armory in Florida.
Torres has gone just 3-4 in the last three years, but those numbers are misleading. The first of those losses came in a title defense where Torres relinquished his crown to Brian Bowles. He then lost to rising contender Joseph Benavidez, who went on to challenge for the belt at 135 and recently competed for the inaugural 125-pound belt. His other losses in that time? They came against current reigning UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and rising bantamweight contender Michael McDonald. Meanwhile, Torres was still able to dispose of bantamweight stalwarts Antonio Banuelos and Charlie Valencia, along with a heavy, 141-pound Nick Pace. Torres is still good, he’s just no longer elite.
Moraes might be touted as the next version of Edson Barboza, but he hardly has the resume to back that up at this point. He’s already lost four fights in his 13-fight career. However, he is a decorated Muay Thai fighter and has also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a number of years now. He might be a bit over-hyped as the next Barboza, but he’s no cake walk for Torres either.
The key here lies in Torres’ heart and determination. After an astounding 37-1 run to start off his career, his title loss to Bowles ushered in a period of inconsistency for the former champ. All the skills are there, but Torres has to regain that focus. If he’s not focused, Moraes might have a chance for the knockout win. If Torres is on his game though, look for another epic battle reminiscent of his wars with Yoshiro Maeda and Takeya Mizugaki.
More than likely, I think we’ll see the latter scenario. This has true Fight of the Night potential, and it either ends in a devastating KO win for Moraes or a hard-fought decision for Torres. My money is on Torres.
Kuhl: Moraes may be the second coming of Barboza, but look what happened to Barboza when he fought Jamie Varner. Even though Barboza beat some really game fighters on his rise to early deification, Varner was by far his toughest opponent and the world was shocked with his early dismantling of Barboza.
It seems at this point that Moraes has a lot more proving to do, especially since he’s already been both knocked out and submitted by guys that are much lesser fighters than the perennial veteran Torres.
Torres has always been one of my favorite fighters to watch. His lanky frame makes him extremely dangerous on the ground, and this fight will be no different.
Moraes, the youngster, might have a bright future ahead of him, but he just won’t be able to hang with Torres’ experience and skills.
Torres by second-round submission.
Kontek: Torres’ career is on the line in this fight, in my opinion. He has hit a rough patch as of late and now finds himself with his back against the wall.
Moraes’ striking is impressive, which will give him an advantage in this fight. His Muay Thai is well-manicured and poses a threat to any man who stands toe-to-toe with him.
Torres is far more well-rounded and has the better submission grappling. His experience will serve him well in this fight, and I expect him to get Moraes on the mat.
That is where Torres will dominate this fight. I think Torres should secure a submission, possibly an armbar, in the first or second round.
Kontek: The fight between UFC veteran Anthony Johnson and Bellator alum D.J. Linderman has all the makings of a Fight of the Night and will likely not see the judges’ scorecards.
Since being cut from the UFC for consistently missing weight, Johnson has gone undefeated in the regionals. The knockout artist won a decision over Dave Branch before knocking out Esteves Jones and Jake Rosholt. His nine knockout wins prove that one would be wise not to strike with him.
Linderman has fought at heavyweight before and will prove to be the bigger man in this fight. This will be a first for Johnson. Linderman is well-rounded and has never been finished. If I had to compare a fight he has had in the past to his upcoming bout with Johnson, it would be his bout with Moise Rimbon, which he lost by unanimous decision.
Linderman will look for takedowns, but he will need to get inside first. Johnson has the devastating power to end anyone’s night with one strike. Although I don’t think Johnson will stop the durable Linderman, he could use a strategy of distance and wrestling to earn a decision here.
Kuhl: Linderman is a big light heavyweight, and light heavy is really Johnson’s home. Johnson missed weight in the past, because he was trying to fight at weight classes that his frame is far too big for. However, while Linderman may be big for 205, his skills are nowhere near what Johnson has to offer.
Johnson is a knockout fighter with mad power, but since he’s been training with the Blackzilians, his all-around game has gotten better. Linderman does have a couple submissions on his record, but none were against a guy with Johnson’s wrestling background and skills at submission defense.
With Linderman on a big weight cut and Johnson fighting right in his comfort zone, I see this one not being too close. It may be Fight of the Night, but only because Linderman can take a few punches. If this fight stays standing, Linderman may take a few, but he will be surprised at Johnson’s range and power.
I have Johnson taking this one by a late TKO.
Henderson: Johnson’s last outing, against Jake Rosholt, gave us a glimpse of what fighting in the proper weight class means for a fighter. Johnson has cut as low as 170 pounds before, but in no way did he look small at 205. In fact, he looked strong. He also looked dynamic, mixing his strikes with power and strength in the clinch and in takedown attempts. Most men cut weight to gain an edge over their opponents, but Johnson definitely excels when he isn’t drained.
Linderman deserves respect—definitely more respect than some members of the media gave him during the WSOF press conference, when they asserted that Linderman was a nobody. This is a light heavyweight prospect who has fought for Bellator, Cage Warriors and Legacy FC. He made it to the semifinals of Bellator’s season-four light heavyweight tournament. He’s only lost three times in sixteen outings. That’s hardly a nobody.
Yet, it’s hard to see Linderman handing Johnson a loss here. Instead, the Bellator vet provides Johnson with exactly what he needs: a test. Linderman has a very respectable record and is a bigger light heavyweight than Rosholt. If Johnson is to prove he can hang with the best in the world at 205, his first step is showing that he can handle the size of some of the bigger guys in the division. Linderman might not bring UFC-level skills, but he’s a capable fighter who can take push Johnson.
In the end, size won’t be enough for Linderman. Johnson has shown just how athletic he is, and the whole package has only improved as he’s gone up in weight. Linderman is tough, so he’ll probably tough it out for three rounds with Johnson. But Johnson will be the one to earn the judges’ nods.
Kuhl: It’s easy to have seriously mixed feelings about the choice of fighters in the main event for WSOF’s inaugural show. On one hand, Andrei Arlovski and Devin Cole are both old school vets of the sport. On the other, both fighters have not been very exciting as of late.
Arlovski, back in 2005 and 2006, was the main heavyweight contender in the UFC and even held the crown for a short stint. He strung together a few good wins in the UFC before his departure, but had a miserable showing in Strikeforce, going 0-3. In his most recent fight only two months ago, he fought one of the most boring fights ever versus longtime rival Tim Sylvia, and the fight ended prematurely due to illegal soccer kicks.
Cole expanded his career exponentially with his run in the IFL, but his record in the league was terrible, at best. More recently, Cole had three fights in Strikeforce in 2011, going 2-1 with his only loss to Strikeforce champ Daniel Cormier, during which he went the distance.
So, here’s the mix of emotions. Arlovski’s last fight was pretty boring and Cole is on a four-fight decision streak. This has all the makings of a lethargic back-and-forth slugfest that would never even be considered in the UFC or probably even Strikeforce. However, both of these guys love to throw big bombs and, between the two of them, combine for twenty-three knockouts.
Arlovski is a finisher. He likes to throw more precision shots that do a ton of damage. Even though his record doesn’t show it, Arlovski also has a good ground game between his background in sambo and his camp at Jackson’s MMA.
Cole, on the other hand, is a grinder, but he has problems wearing down his opponents, which is why he keeps ending up in decisions. Cole has a background in wrestling, but also hasn’t showcased much in the way of submissions, and has been submitted himself, which has never happened to Arlovski. That shouldn’t really matter though.
With two guys having this much experience in slugfests, barring a Greg Jackson coaching scheme causing this to hit the mat, I see Arlovski taking this by mid round two. The finisher will TKO the grinder.
Henderson: Arlovski’s chin. That’s what this fight really boils down to. Is it so far gone that one haymaker from Cole will end the night? Or can the Belarusian take some punishment while doling out even more?
On skills alone, there’s little doubt that Arlovski holds an edge in every aspect of the fight, outside of wrestling. Arlovski’s striking is far superior to that of Cole, and his background in sambo should give him an edge in grappling.
Both men love to bang, but Cole would be best served using his wrestling to ground Arlovski and grind out a decision by maintaining top position. As with Dan, I doubt that’s going to be the way this one plays out. Instead, I also look for the two to engage in a striking battle. It’s funny to note that even for the striker in this affair, that’s a risky proposition.
Arlovski has been careless in the past, leaving his hands too low and moving straight back in an attempt to avoid his opponent’s punches. He’s also been over-aggressive in some outings—read: Fedor—throwing jumping knees and the like while leaving his chin exposed. It’s those aspects of his game that tend to put him in danger, and the boring fights of late might be looked at more as a conservative approach to avoiding that outcome.
The 33-year-old Arlovski still has the striking prowess to be dangerous. He showed that against Ray Lopez and Travis Fulton, and even to a degree against Tim Sylvia. Although none of those adversaries is the equivalent of a Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Silva or Fedor Emelianenko, they don’t have to be. Arlovski is taking on Devin Cole, not a top heavyweight. And as long as Arlovski continues his conservative approach while looking to finish the fight with his fists and feet, we should see another knockout win for the Belarusian.
Kontek: As stated by my colleague, the only question that burdens Arlovski is his deteriorated chin. These days, it doesn’t take much damage to put the Belarusian to sleep.
What Arlovski does have though is a vast amount of experience and top-notch striking. Since leaving Strikeforce, Arlovski has not lost. He dismantled Ray Lopez, kicked Travis Fulton’s head to the moon and fought to a controversial no-contest against Tim Sylvia, where an illegal soccer kick destroyed Sylvia.
Cole is extremely underrated and could play the spoiler here. A Strikeforce veteran himself, Cole has wrestling and striking that will make him a tough opponent for Arlovski. Arlovski’s takedown defense is solid, but Cole can use his striking and mix in takedowns to score points.
I really wouldn’t be shocked if Cole snuck away with a victory here, but my gut tells me Arlovski will take this one. Cole has been knocked out by lesser strikers than Arlovski, so a late knockout may be the poison Arlovski dispenses.
Henderson: Bellator veteran Steve Carl is one of those fighters who just can’t seem to get over the hump. He’ll defeat everyone but the best that he fights—his losses have come against Douglas Lima, Dan Hornbuckle and Brian Foster. Ramico Blackmon is a grinder, having seen most of his fights head to the scorecards, but he has never faced someone of Carl’s skill level. Carl will rock Blackmon, pounce on him and finish the fight with a submission via some form of choke.
Kontek: In terms of Steve Carl, I couldn’t agree more with Bryan. Carl is extremely talented, but has not been able to beat the best guys he has faced. Blackmon is going to look to drag Carl down and, as Bryan said, grind out a victory here. I expect Carl’s experience and well-roundedness to carry him here, maybe snagging a guillotine choke when Blackmon shoots.
Kuhl: It’s hard not to like Blackmon and what he’s about. There are hardly ever fighters that begin their careers at 36 years old and actually make it to the professional level in a little over a year. However, as Bryan and Riley point out, Carl is just a superior fighter who has faced superior competitors. I agree with my colleagues. Carl by first-round tapout.
Kuhl: Waylon Lowe is a former NCAA Division II wrestling champ with awesome knockout power who has only lost by stoppage. The American Top Team fighter has only lost twice in the last five years—to UFC stars Nik Lentz and Melvin Guillard. Fabio Mello, on the other hand, is a BJJ black belt that has five wins by submission out of his current seven-fight winning streak. At 37, he is six years the elder of Lowe, and is also the BJJ trainer for the Blackzilians. Mello has only been stopped once, by knockout. The only way Lowe has a chance is to keep it standing, but Mello will quickly get him on the ground, submitting him in the first round.
Kontek: Since Lowe got released from the UFC and dropped to featherweight, he has looked like a better fighter. He will face a stiff test when he fights talented grappler Fabio Mello. Lowe will have the wrestling advantage, but I don’t know if he will want to go to the ground with Mello. It is going to be a close one, but I will take Lowe winning a very close decision over Mello using takedowns and clinch work.
Henderson: Mello started his career with a 4-6 mark. His losses? A few of them came at the hands of former Pride champion Takanori Gomi, current UFC champion Jose Aldo and former Deep champ Masakazu Imanari. Needless to say, he didn’t have it easy. But he’s turned it around since then. The question here, though, is whether Lowe will be willing to go to the ground. As a wrestler, he should be able to stuff the takedown attempts of a BJJ practitioner, but he can’t get lured into taking top position either, as he’ll be just as vulnerable there as he would be on his back against someone of Mello’s skill level. If Lowe is lured to the mat, this one goes to Mello via submission. However, I think Lowe will play it smart and keep it standing. He’ll get the better of the striking exchanges, but he won’t finish Mello, settling instead for a unanimous decision.
Kontek: UFC veterans are set to duke it out in the middleweight division, as this will be a striker vs. grappler match-up. Dave Branch is the grappler here and trains with Renzo Gracie. Submissions are his biggest strength, which will play into his hand as Dustin Jacoby has been exploited for his ground game in the past. Branch earns a tapout, from what I’m guessing to be a rear-naked choke.
Henderson: Jacoby is definitely the striker in this affair, but he’s facing a grappler who has some decent striking to complement a black belt in BJJ. Branch will only use his striking to set up takedowns in this fight. And once Jacoby is on the mat, he’ll have no answer for Branch’s submission skills. I’ll say the tapout comes via an armbar.
Kuhl: I don’t think I’m comfortable writing off Jacoby’s ground game quite as easily. The HIT in HIT Squad, stands for Hughes Intensive Training, and this camp has some great wrestling and BJJ training. I know a pro fighter in Denver who is by far a superior striker, but all of his wins are by submission, because of the way the fights went down. Not that I think Jacoby could hang with a Gracie black belt in a BJJ tournament, but I do feel he has good takedown defense, hence his many TKOs. I actually see this one going to decision in favor of Branch.
Henderson: There was a time when JZ Cavalcante would have been assured a spot on the main card of an event such as this one, but with just two wins in the last four-plus years, compared with five losses and two no-contests, the former K-1 Hero’s star finds himself on the preliminary portion of the lineup against UFC veteran T.J. O’Brien. This could be JZ’s chance to right the ship, even if just for one fight. O’Brien’s bread and butter is the ground game, but Cavalcante has never been submitted and has trained with a number of talented submission specialists during his time with American Top Team and the Blackzilians. Even in his wins, though, Cavalcante has only eked out split decisions, and that’s where this fight is likely headed, with JZ taking the nod.
Kuhl: The most bothersome thing about Cavalcante is that he beat amazing fighters in Caol Uno, Nam Phan, Michihiro Omigawa and Rani Yahya back in the day of Hero’s, but, recently, against mostly lesser opponents in bigger promotions, he is 2-5-0-2. O’Brien may be on a current two-fight winning streak in smaller promotions, but before that, he dropped his two chances in the UFC. O’Brien has seventeen wins by submission, a form of defeat that Cavalcante has never experienced. With no real experience standing, I also have O’Brien dropping this one to Cavalcante by decision. He’s not going to submit him and that’s all he has. With JZ’s lack of stellar knockout power, it has to go the distance.
Kontek: Cavalcante has recently hit a rough patch, but I think this is a match-up that plays into his favor. O’Brien relies heavily on his ground game, but Cavalcante is an artist on the mat. JZ is far more well-rounded, but it will be interesting to see how O’Brien uses his length to dictate the distance. I think that Cavalcante can finish this fight, but I definitely think a decision will be the end result.
Kontek: When two wrestlers fight, many times it turns into a kickboxing match due to the cancellation of skills. Josh Burkman and Gerald Harris both are wrestle-first fighters that love being on top. I think that will cancel out and you will see a closely-contested striking affair. I flipped a coin and have decided Harris will win a close decision.
Kuhl: Burkman and Harris are two of the most confusing fighters ever. Both have wrestling backgrounds and knockout power, but, between the two of them, they have 23 fights going to decision. Both have adequate submission skills, but Harris has more knockout power and better submission defense. Harris is nearly impossible to stop, so I’m giving him the decision, because Burkman will keep this standing and that’s where Harris wants it. If Burkman is feeling too good from his submission win in his last fight, Harris might get a TKO, but this will most likely go the distance.
Henderson: Power, in his punches and his slams. That’s Harris’ game…or at least it was. The problem is that Harris has grown overly cautious. He has gone to just nine decisions in 25 fights, but his last six fights have all gone the distance. Whatever went wrong in the first of those decisions—the ill-fated affair with Maiquel Falcao that cost both winner and loser to find themselves unemployed—seemingly flipped a switch that Harris cannot flip back. When Harris was an aggressive fighter, this would have been a favorable matchup for him. Now, not so much. As Harris remains hesitant to come forward, Burkman will appear as the aggressor, and in doing so, he’ll hand Harris a decision loss.
Kuhl: Brian Cobb versus Ronys Torres is another typical match-up between an American wrestler with submission skills versus a Brazilian submission artist. Torres had a short, month-and-a-half stint in the UFC, dropping both fights by decision, followed by a decision loss back in Brazil six months later. Since that last loss nearly two years ago, the Brazilian has put together an 11-fight winning streak, mostly by submission with a couple decisions and TKO’s. The American, Cobb, was a decent wrestler in high school and college, and also had a short stint in UFC, getting dropped by Terry Etim. I don’t think either of these guys wants to stand, but Torres has far superior grappling skills. I have this one going to Torres by first-round submission.
Henderson: This is one of the more intriguing fights on the card. Torres has been campaigning for another shot at the big time ever since he received his pink slip from the UFC. Although he started off with a loss in that campaign, his 11 wins are impressive, and they’ve come against increasingly stiffer competition. Cobb will have a four inch height advantage that should also translate into an edge when it comes to reach. However, Torres has the better skill set. He’s shown more ability to finish his fights with strikes, he trains with the superior camp at Nova Uniao, and, despite the height disadvantage, he might be the bigger fighter. Torres is determined and has more ways to finish this fight. He’ll use Cobb to make one more statement on his path back to the top promotions.
Kontek: I really like this match-up that World Series of Fighting put on here, as I believe Cobb and Torres are top-15 guys outside of the UFC. Torres is 11-1 since his 2010 UFC release, beating such guys as Drew Fickett and Ferrid Kheder. Cobb, on the other hand, has a great deal of high-level experience. Both men are submission fighters, but I believe Torres has the more well-rounded tools. He takes it by decision.
Top Photo: Andrei Arlovski (Martin Hooson/Sherdog)