World Series of Fighting is set to return on Feb. 21 with WSOF Canada. Live from Edmonton, the card boasts a Canadian-heavy lineup that includes a Canadian welterweight championship bout, as well as the the debut of two highly touted heavyweight prospects.

Ryan Ford headlines opposite Joel Powell for the WSOF Canadian welterweight championship. Both men are top Canadian fighters in the weight class, which gives this fight some great intrigue and high stakes. Beyond the title fight, there’s also Olympic wrestler Steve Mocco in his promotional debut against Smealinho Rama, a top Canadian heavyweight. The winner could launch himself up the rankings and onto the casual fan’s radar.

U.S.-based fans will have to wait for the tape-delayed airing of the event on Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Without further ado, let’s preview the WSOF Canada card and make some predictions.

Canadian WW Championship: Ryan Ford (21-4) vs. Joel Powell (7-3)

The main event sees two of Canada’s top welterweight prospects collide when Bellator veteran Ryan Ford takes on the unheralded Joel Powell. The two were set to meet before, but an injury prevented that from happening.

Powell is a Muay Thai stylist that has rounded out his skill set with decent submission ability. His last two fights have been close decisions over TUF vets Mike Hill and George Lockhart, and those wins have really earned Powell some attention. He will need to be careful on the feet, though, as Ford has immense power and a good chin.

Ford is far more experienced than Powell and has beaten top guys such as Karo Parisyan, Mike Hill and Luis Santos. Not only can he knock his opponent’s head off on the feet, but he has developed his ground game nicely while working with the Tristar gym. He is athletic, quick and explosive, something that gives all of his opponents fits.

Ford has the advantage wherever this fight goes. He is more explosive on the feet than Powell, he has fought tougher competition and has the hips to stay upright. He will finish Powell to take the Canadian title belt and gain further recognition as one of Canada’s best fighters.

HW: Smealinho Rama (6-1) vs. Steve Mocco (4-0)

The co-main event features heavyweight Canadian banger Smealinho Rama and Olympic-level wrestler Steve Mocco. This will be a striker with mat skills taking on a power wrestler with a smothering clinch and top game.

Mocco is undefeated in his four pro fights, winning three via submission. With American Top Team as his camp, he has quickly developed as a mixed martial artist. His striking basically sets up takedowns, which he lands with efficiency. This was especially apparent in his bout with Lew Polley, where he consistently grounded the big wrestler.

Rama has proven to be well-rounded. His submissions are underrated and his stand-up is surprisingly polished. He is coming off a shocking head-kick knockout loss to Anthony Hamilton in a bout where many people thought Rama would get a UFC contract with a win. He has never seen the third round in a fight and has only left the first round once.

This bout is going to be very interesting. They represent the biggest challenge of each other’s career. Will Rama be able to keep distance with his striking or can Mocco close the distance and put Rama on the mat. I’ll predict the latter—Mocco takes a decision win.

WW: Mike Hill (6-2) vs. Ryan Dickson (6-1)

Welterweight and TUF vet Mike Hill is set to make his WSOF debut, but in his way is a tough veteran of the sport by the name of Ryan Dickson. This fight could easily set the stage for a Canadian welterweight championship bid for the winner.

Hill is a power striker who spent time on TUF 16 as a top pick of the competition. However, after winning his way into the house, he did not make it to the finals and was not granted a fight with the UFC. Since then, he has gone 2-2, with his only losses coming to the two men in the main event of this card. He should look to keep this fight upright and throw his nasty punches.

Dickson is a grappler, making this fight a striker vs. grappler match-up. He owns victories over Brandy Dewsberry and Advin Omic, and his only loss came to UFC vet Alex Garcia. His favorite technique is the rear-naked choke, and he has the squeeze of an anaconda when he grabs a neck. The question will be: can he take Hill down?

It’s doubtful. Hill is physically strong and can knock an opponent’s head off. Dickson will continually look for takedowns, but likely not get one. Hill may not finish Dickson, but he will do enough to take a convincing win on the scorecards.

FW: Josh Machan (11-4) vs. Adam Lorenz (7-3)

Two of Canada’s best 145-pounders battle for higher recognition in an intriguing featherweight bout. Saskatoon’s Adam Lorenz comes to Alberta to take on the region’s native son Josh Machan, who represents the rapidly growing Arashi-Do Martial Arts gym.

Machan is a submission specialist who has put away all but one of his victims by way of tapout. After opening up his career 0-3, he has gone on an 11-1 spree against guys like Lenny Wheeler, Behrang Yousefi and John Fraser. He especially likes grabbing an arm on the ground, though he also has a tight squeeze when it comes to chokes.

Lorenz will play right into the hands of Machan. All three of his losses came via submission, and two came within his last two fights, where Lorenz was tapped by Lenny Wheeler and Alvin Robinson in under a minute. That doesn’t leave much hope for a guy taking on another guy with killer submission skills.

Machan has good takedowns and should be able to ground Lorenz early. From there, it is inevitable that Machan will grab a neck or an arm and win via tapout.

WW: Brandt Dewsberry (10-3-1) vs. Mark Drummond (5-1)

The kickoff to the main card comes in the welterweight division, where 23-year-old Brandt Dewsberry takes on Mark Drummond. Despite being five years younger, Dewsberry owns eight more pro fights.

Drummond is a hometown fighter who has claimed most of his wins via submission. He is currently riding a five-fight winning streak and has not lost since his pro debut. He has shown to have an effective guard and solid all-around ground game, something he should look to utilize in this bout. That is especially the case given that Dewsberry has only lost via submission.

Dewsberry is sort of a jack of all trades, master of none, though he is susceptible to submissions on the ground. He should keep this fight upright, where he can use his knockout power. If he can do that, he can check Drummond’s chin and possible put him away.

This fight is all about positioning and will ultimately depend on where the fight occurs. Dewsberry wins if it turns into a kickboxing match. Drummond takes it if it is a jiu-jitsu fight. Drummond should be able to clinch and take Dewsberry down, finishing him with one of his trademark submissions.

Preliminary Card
FW: Will Romero (9-4) vs. Lenny Wheeler (6-3)

The featherweights are set to cap off the preliminary card when Edmonton native Lenny Wheeler takes on Bellator vet Will Romero. Wheeler is a finisher, with all six of his wins having come by way of knockout or submission. He has been tapped out twice, though, which could be the glaring weakness in his game. Romero has been in the cage with some tough guys with mixed results. That said, he has more skills in his bag of tricks and should be able to best Wheeler here.

Catchweight (200 pounds): Mike Kent (9-4) vs. Matt Baker (9-5)

Mike Kent of Alberta takes on Matt Baker of British Columbia in a catchweight affair. Kent is a well-rounded natural middleweight who currently finds himself on a three-fight skid against the likes of David Loiseau, Joe Doerksen and Elias Theodorou. He meets Baker, who is similarly well-rounded, though his submission defense is questionable. Baker already has a WSOF bout under his belt, but he was tapped out. Kent should be able to outlast Baker, tapping him late or taking a decision.

HW: Tim Hague (15-8) vs. Lee Mein (6-12)

Lee Mein, the 46-year-old father of UFC fighter Jordan Mein, makes his WSOF debut at heavyweight against UFC veteran Tim Hague. Mein is a striker who has picked up all six of his wins via strikes. He doesn’t have a keynote victory, however, despite being in the ring with such characters as Dan Severn, Jeff Monson and Rolles Gracie. Hague, on the other hand, is more well-rounded and has actually beat some notable opponents. Expect this to be a slopfest if it drags on, but Hague should be able to finish Mein within one round.

BW: Owen Carr (4-2-1) vs. Maged Hammo (5-3)

Calgary’s Owen Carr looks to notch another win in the bantamweight division, but in his way is Maged Hammo, a man who loves to finish fights. Carr has failed to find consistency in his career. His longest surge of wins has been two fights. Hammo is an aggressive finisher who can put opponents away with his hands or on the ground. His last fight was against jiu-jitsu wizard Ryan Hall, who choked him out. Hammo will overwhelm Carr en route to a finish.

FW: Behrang Yousefi (5-3) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (0-0)

Hakeem Dawodu is set to make his pro debut against eight-fight veteran Behrang Yousefi. Yousefi is a submission fighter that has locked horns with the likes of men like Josh Machan. His experience and submission prowess will be the key in this fight. Dawodu will be in over his head, as Yousefi dominates him to a tapout.

LW: Roger Alves (1-1) vs. Jemark Brady (2-2)

Roger Alves returns to pro MMA after a near 10-year absence. The Edmonton native takes on Jemark Brady of Red Deer. Alves is a ground fighter who owns an amateur win over UFC veteran Jesse Bongfeldt. Brady is on a two-fight skid, having suffered both losses via submission. Despite the extended layoff from fighting, Alves should be able to ground and tap Brady to score his first win in a decade.

WW: Justin Evans (0-0) vs. Stuart Fontaine (0-0)

A pair of welterweights are set to make their respective debuts when Justin Evans of Edmonton takes on fellow Canadian Stuart Fontaine. Evans was an undefeated amateur who showed a solid ground game and decent submission ability. Fontaine, on the other hand, was 1-1 as an amateur, suffering his only loss via submission. Given the hometown crowd and his submission ability, Evans should be able to tap Fontaine to get the first win of his pro career.

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.