On Saturday, June 21, World Series of Fighting will host its 10th event from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by three title fights.

In the night’s top-billing, the promotion will crown a middleweight champion as UFC veterans David Branch and Jesse Taylor lock horns. Branch has gone 5-1 since his release from the UFC, including three straight wins inside the WSOF cage. Taylor, meanwhile, rides a seven-fight winning streak into the title fight, including a win over former MFC champion Elvis Mutapcic in his promotional debut in December.

The co-main event of the evening will showcase featherweight champion Georgi Karakhanyan, who will look to defend his title for the first time against Rick Glenn. Karakhanyan captured the 145-pound strap with a third-round submission of Lance Palmer in December. The 25-year-old Glenn carries a 12-fight unbeaten streak that dates back to 2010.

Also defending for the first time at the event will be women’s strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar, who faces off with Japan’s Emi Fujino. Aguilar, the consensus No. 1-ranked 115-pound fighter on the planet, submitted Alida Gray in January to become the promotion’s first women’s champion. Her opponent, Fujino, will make her promotional debut. The 33-year-old has won four of her last six and has never been stopped in 20 career fights.

In all, the event features 11 fights. The five-fight main card airs live on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 10 p.m. ET, while the preliminary card will stream live on NBCSports.com beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

David Branch escaped a submission and locked up one of his own all in the span of a few minutes to become the first World Series of Fighting middleweight champion. Branch went for the takedown on Jesse Taylor right at the opening bell in this one. He scored the takedown, but Taylor locked up a guillotine at the same time. It looked like the choke was tight, but Branch was able to escape. After that escape, Taylor looked to scramble back to his feet. Branch was ready for the scramble and snuck in a slick d’arce choke. Taylor had no choice but to tap, and Branch became the middleweight champ.

Rick Glenn put his name right up there with Josh Burkman in the competition for the biggest upset in WSOF history by scoring an epic comeback win over Georgi Karakhanyan to claim the featherweight championship. Glenn was in big trouble early in this one. Karakhanyan took him down almost immediately and started working towards a submission. Karakhanyan mounted the challenger and went all in on an armbar. Glenn used what might be the most flexible elbow and shoulder joints in MMA to defend the submission, escape and end up on top. Once he did, the fight took a dramatic turn. Glenn landed punch after punch, some of which bounced the champion’s head off of the mat. Karakhanyan tried to get the fight back to the ground to begin the second round, but Glenn ended up on top once again. Glenn went right back to those same punches that helped him late in the first round. Glenn had Karakhanyan on his knees up against the cage and nailed him with uppercuts to the chin and knees to the body. Karakhanyan did just enough to survive the round, but his corner decided he wasn’t fit to answer the bell for the third after he complained of broken ribs.

Jessica Aguilar solidified her ranking as the top women’s strawweight fighter in the world by completely dominating Emi Fujino for 25 minutes. Aguilar was on the top of her game from the very beginning, but not in the way you might expect. For the most part, Aguilar dominated this fight in the stand-up game. Aguilar, who is one of the best ground specialists in women’s MMA, showed her ever-evolving game. Fujino was met with leg kicks early on, but then Aguilar started peppering jabs and hooks in there. By the end of the first round Fujino’s face was busted up and she had a bloody nose. It was more of the same in round two, before Aguilar finally got the fight to the ground in round three. The domination continued there with Aguilar advancing to the mount and even coming close to finishing the fight by choke and strikes. Fujino was game and took the beating throughout the final two rounds as well. Aguilar was not able to finish the fight, but she finished a nearly flawless performance with a unanimous decision.

Luiz Firmino and Tyson Griffin engaged in an entertaining lightweight fight in the second bout on the main card. It ended up being a striker versus grappler match-up. Griffin isn’t known primarily as a striker, but that was where he had the most success in this bout, where he was facing off against the grappling prowess of Firmino. Griffin’s success on the feet would come in short spurts. He got it done early in the first two rounds, tagging Firmino as he came in. Firmino was able to turn the tide in his favor, though. He controlled the grappling game for the second half of the first round and nearly the entire third. Griffin did great in spots, but overall Firmino did enough to win rounds and get the unanimous decision victory.

Lance Palmer got right back into title contention to kick off the evening by making quick work of Nick LoBosco. The Team Alpha Male product turned in a performance that would make Urijah Faber proud. Palmer took the fight to the mat early and went to work. LoBosco ended up giving up his back in an attempt to get back to his feet and that decision ultimately spelled doom. Palmer unloaded with punches and eventually slipped his arm under the neck for a rear-naked choke and forced the tap.

FULL RESULTS
David Branch def. Jesse Taylor by submission (d’arce choke). Round 1, 1:41 – for inaugural middleweight title
Rick Glenn def. Georgi Karakhanyan by TKO (corner stoppage). Round 2, 5:00 – for featherweight title
Jessica Aguilar def. Emi Fujino by unanimous decision (50-44 x3) – for women’s strawweight title
Luiz Firmino def.  Tyson Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Lance Palmer def. Nick LoBosco by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:15
Derrick Mehmen def. Dave Huckaba by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-27)
Timur Valiev def. Adam Acquaviva by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 1:35
Krasimir Mladenov def. Angel DeAnda by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Marciea Allen by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 3:01
Jimmy Spicuzza def. Justin Jaynes by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
A.J. Williams def. Tanner Cowan by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:44

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.