On Saturday, Oct. 26, World Series of Fighting hosted its sixth event from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.

In the night’s main event, the promotion crowned its inaugural welterweight champion as hard-charging UFC veteran Josh Burkman took on former Bellator combatant Steve Carl. Burkman stepped into the cage on the heels of a 41-second submission win over former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch. The win marked the fifth straight win for the Pit Elevated fighter. Carl, meanwhile, also entered the fight riding a wave of success. The Army Combatives-trained fighter carried a six-fight winning streak of his own into the title contest, with two straight inside the WSOF cage.

Also on the NBC Sports-broadcast main card, bantamweights Carson Beebe and Marlon Moraes faced off, the aforementioned Fitch looked to get back in the win column against Marcelo Alfaya, and undefeated lightweight Justin Gaethje battled UFC veteran Dan Lauzon.

The night’s preliminary card kicked off at 6 p.m. ET, live on the promotion’s website. The four-fight main card aired live at 9 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Carl chokes out Burkman, claims inaugural welterweight title

Steve Carl submitted Josh Burkman in the fourth round to become the inaugural World Series of Fighting welterweight champion after a back-and-forth battle.

The fight began with the fighters feeling each other out on the feet and trading kicks. Burkman landed the best of the exchange with an outside leg kick. Carl closed the distance and looked to go for a takedown, but he was reversed and was taken down himself. Burkman could not keep him down for long and the fighters were quickly back in a striking match up. Carl threw a head kick that was blocked by Burkman. Carl looked to close the distance again, but just like the first time he was taken down again. Burkman was more successful in keeping Carl down this time and he looked to pass guard and open up with ground strikes. Carl began to get active from his guard after he wasn’t able to get to his feet. He went for a leg lock, but Burkman escaped from the danger.

Carl was active with his kicks to start the second round. Carl stayed aggressive on his feet and went immediately from a superman punch into a single leg takedown. Burkman attempted a guillotine and used it to end up on top. Carl got back to his feet rather easily once again though. Carl kept pressing forward and was finally able to end up on top of Burkman. Carl worked to pass an was briefly able to get full mount. Burkman was able to get to half guard, but Carl maintained top control and landed solid punches for the remainder of the round.

Carl threw a head kick that was blocked by Burkman to begin the third. Burkman threw some wild punches, but none of them were able to connect cleanly. Carl took Burkman down again and advanced to full mount much quicker this time. Burkman tried to escape but ends up giving up his back. Carl had a deep rear-naked choke locked in, but Burkman showed great heart and escaped as his head was turning purple. Burkman then got on top of Carl after a scramble and tried a guillotine from mount. Carl showed great defense of his own and was able to escape.

Carl pressed forward to begin the championship rounds and ended up on top of Burkman. Burkman was able to get on top, but he was instantly caught in a triangle choke. Burkman appeared to tap once. The referee was hesitant, but when he checked Burkman again he was out.

Moraes steamrolls Beebe

Marlon Moraes used a significant speed advantage to make quick work of fellow bantamweight Carson Beebe.

Beebe came rushing out toward Moraes, looking for a takedown. Moraes used his speed to get out of the way and landed some good strikes. It didn’t take Moraes long to end it after he created distance. He rocked Beebe with a left hand, landed one follow up shot, and Beebe was out.

Fitch ekes past Alfaya

Jon Fitch used a strong third round to avoid being upset by Marcelo Alfaya, scoring a split decision win.

Fitch went back to his roots and pressed Alfaya against the cage early on. Alfaya was not phased in the slightest. He turned Fitch around and took him down. Alfaya struggled to pass the guard of Fitch early, but when he did, he immediately went to Fitch’s back.  Alfaya was even able to trap one of Fitch’s arms with his body control. Alfaya switched to the normal body triangle and started to work towards the rear-naked choke. Fitch survived and was even able to scramble back to his feet with seconds remaining.

Fitch came out extremely aggressive to start the second frame. He took Alfaya down and opened up with some furious ground and pound. Alfaya countered with a leg lock attempt. The attempt was not successful, but it certainly cooled off Fitch’s attack. Alfaya was able to get back to his feet and press the Indiana native up against the cage. Alfaya spent the next few minutes going for at takedown, but was only briefly successful. Fitch was able to separate and the two fighters traded solid punches.

The two seemed content to strike at the beginning of the final frame. Alfaya was the first to attempt to take it to the ground, but Fitch sprawled. Fitch began to open up more with his punches, and solidly landed multiple times. Alfaya tried to take it to the ground with Fitch getting the better of the striking, but Fitch sprawled again. Fitch tried a takedown of his own, but was also unsuccessful. Fitch did eventually get it down to the mat and again opened up with a flurry of punches. It looked like Alfaya could be stopped, but he was able to survive.

Gaethje batters Lauzon

Lightweight Justin Gaethje softened up Dan Lauzon with leg kicks and finished him off with strikes to stay unbeaten.

The first round of the main card was contested largely on the feet. Gaethje opened up with a leg kick right after the bell. Lauzon threw a head kick, but Gaethje was changing levels at the same time and ducked under. Both men began to throw leather, with Gaethje landing  the better shots including an uppercut in the clinch. Gaethje continued getting the better of the stand up exchanges. He connected with a nice left and right hand combination. Lauzon was on his heels and Gaethje began to throw the hard leg kicks that he started the bout with. Gaethje buckled Lauzon multiple times until he eventually fell. “The Upgrade” tried to get Gaethje to jump into his guard, but was only motioned to get back to his feet instead.

Lauzon came out and threw a kick of his own to the body of Gaethje to begin the second frame. Lauzon looked more comfortable on his feet and started to establish the jab a bit. It didn’t take Gaethje very long to start opening up with the leg kicks again. That began to spell doom for Lauzon. Gaethje landed a solid right hook and followed up with an uppercut that finished the fight.

FULL RESULTS
Steve Carl def. Josh Burkman by submission (triangle choke). Round 4, 1:02 – for inaugural welterweight title
Marlon Moraes def. Carson Beebe by knockout (punches). Round 1, 0:32
Jon Fitch def. Marcelo Alfaya by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 28-29)
Justin Gaethje def. Dan Lauzon by TKO (punches). Round 2, 1;40
Pablo Alfonso def. Miguel Torres by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 3:05
Luiz Firmino def. Jacob Volkmann by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Francisco France and Hans Stringer fight to a unanimous draw (28-28 x3)
Josh Rettinghouse def. Alexis Vila by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Nick Lobosco def. Fabio Mello by knockout (head kick and punches). Round 1, 2:02
Chad Robichaux def. Andrew Yates by technical submission (north-south choke). Round 2, 4:09
Alexandre Pimentel def. Jade Porter by submission (triangle choke). Round 3, 3:05

Photo: Steve Carl (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.