On Saturday, March 28, World Series of Fighting touched down in the Grand Canyon State to bring fight fans everywhere WSOF 19: Gaethje vs. Palomino live from the Comerica Theatre in Downtown Phoenix.

In the nights main event undefeated, reigning WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje put his 155-pound title and perfect record on the line against hard-hitting contender Luis Palomino

The 26-year-old Gaethje (13-0) a native of Safford, AZ. was last seen defending his belt against UFC veteran Melvin Guillard, earning a split decision win over the former UFC veteran Melvin Guillard. He will enter this bout with 11c career stoppage wins, including 10 by way of knockout. Prior to this win fans saw the Grudge Training Center product earna violent TKO win over fan favorite Nick Newell in July. He enter this bout with 11 career stoppage win, including 10 by way of knockout, and a UFC record of 6-0.

The 34-year-old Palomino (23-9), a native of Peru, earned his shot at the belt after picking up back-to-back wins over “Macaco” Patino and the previously undefeated “Lethal” Lewis Gonzalez, by way of an onslaught of punches and a knee strike-punch combination.. He will enter this bout with 15 career stoppage wins, including 13 by way of knockout and a WSOF record of 2-0.

All that plus a light heavyweight rematch between former UFC veteran Matt Hammil and Thiago Silva in kick off the WSOF light heavyweight tourney, another light heavyweight bout between Jake Heun vs. Teddy Holder and a bantamweight matchup between Bellator veteran Ed West and Timur Valiev.

MAIN CARD SUMMARY

Justin Gaethje vs Luis Palomino

Round 1 - After a thunderous ovation for Gaethje, the crowd goes silent as both men meet in the middle of the cage. Gaethje managed to drop his opponent early but Palomino was right back up to this feet, just in time to eat a headkick from Gaethje. The entire arena erupted as their hometown champion dropped Palomino onto the canvas with a thunder slam. The Peruvian would eventually make his way back to his before rocking Gaethje with a flailing combination against the fence. The champion would eventually land a massive uppercut before throwing his opponent down with a arena rattling slam in the center of the cage. Palomino would escape back control before following up with a wild haymaker to the nose of his opponent, dislodging Gaethje’s mouthpiece in the process. To cap off an epic first round, Gaethje threw a wild rolling thunder kick, much to the delight of the crowd.

Round 2 - The second frame would start off right where the first one ended as both men exchanged shots in the center of the cage. palomino would eventually land a barrage of haymakers to the clearly concussed champion, but still standing, champion. It seemed as if both men had abandoned any sort of defensive game plan as they exchanged wild elbows and punches, with Palomino landing an impressive knee between the eyes of Gaethje, right up to the end of the frame.

Round 3 – With both men visibly dazed from 10 straight minutes of fighting at full speed, all technique seemed to go out the window in favor of wild haymakers and dirty boxing against the fence. A quick kick to the leg of Palomino dropped him, but a worn out Gaethje motioned for him to get back to his feet.  After landing a knee betwen the eyes of Palomino, the champion swarmed, landing a hurricane of donkey kong punches to the unprotected skull of his opponent, forcing the ref to call and end to the fight.  Justin Gaethje def. Luis Palomino by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 3:57.

Thiago Silva vs. Teddy Holder

Round 1 - No touch of the glove from Silva who immediately looked to work the body with strikes. Holder would follow up with a combination of his own, landing a few solid hooks to his opponents chin before eventually dropping the Brazilian with a vicious shot to the jaw. Swarming on his downed opponent, Holder dropped a barrage of punches to the skull of Silva until the referee called a stop to the action, giving Holder the upset victory. Teddy Holder def. Thiago Silva by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:00

Timur Valiev vs. Ed West

Round 1 - Both men open throwing a variety of slick kicks from the outside. Valiev would eventually dodge  a high kick and drop West with a lighting quick combination. While West would eventually get back to this, Valiev never gave him room to breath as he unleashed a flurry on his opponents skull against the cage, forcing the referee to call a stop to the fight. Timur Valiev def. Ed West by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:39

Jake Heun vs. Clifford Starks

Round 1 - The hometown favorite Starks looked tentative early and who can blame him after all of he opponent switch that went on leading up to this one. As he tried in vain to secure the takedown early against Heun, the former ASU football player continued to walk through kicks to the body before finally bringing the fight to the canvas halfway through the round. While Heun eventually managed to get back to his feet, even staggering Stark with a quick left hook, two would end up right back on the canvas where they would stay for the remainder of the round.

Round 2. – Starks came out swinging early, looking for the massive overhand right knockout. However, an accidentally knee to the groin of Starks momentarily halted his momentum. After brief exchange against the cage, where fans saw both men staggered by shots, Starks looked to be on his way to victory with some vicious ground and pound. Heun would eventually escape before planting a blatantly illegal knee to his ground opponent’s skull, forcing the referee to take a point away. However it would be Starks would get the last laugh as he secured the takedown and locking on a tight arm triangle, forcing Heun to submit, much to the delight of the Arizona crowd. Clifford Starks def. Jake Heun by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2, 4:11

FULL RESULTS
 

Main Card – NBCSN, 9 p.m. ET

(c) Justin Gaethje vs Luis Palomino – For WSOF lightweight title
Teddy Holder def. Thiago Silva by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:00 * – WSOF light heavyweight tournament opening round
Timur Valiev def. Ed West by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:39
Clifford Starks def. Jake Heun by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2, 4:11 **

Prelim Card – The MMA Corner, 6 p.m. ET

Jimmy Spicuzza def. Benny Madrid by split decision (30-27 28-29, 30-27)
Joseph Gigliotti def. Brendan Tierney by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 4:45
Andres Ponce def. Juan Archuleta by submission (triangle choke). Round 2, 0:53
Dan Huber def. Israel Aquino by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 3:03
Matthew Frincu def. Eric Regen by knockout (head kick). Round 2, 0:14
Erik Villalobos def. Joe Madrid by unanimous decision.  (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(c)-Champion

*Holder replaced Matt Hamill

**Starks replaced Holder