On Friday, April 10, 2015 the World Series of Fighting heads to the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, CT for WSOF 20: Branch vs. Markes.

This card has gone through some transformation as original headliner Vinny Magalhaes was pulled from the event due to contractual problems between WSOF and Titan FC. Then just recently co-main event combatant Melvin Guillard was pulled from the card for failing to submit his medicals.

While WSOF has had to deal with some hardships approaching this event they have still managed to put together a solid offering for the fans.

Steve Mocco vs. Juliano Cuitanho

Starting things off Friday night is a heavyweight bout between two seasoned grapplers in Mocco and Cuitanho. A wrestler by trade, Mocco made the full time transition to MMA after failing to qualify for the Olympics for a second time in 2012. A two-time Division I runner-up and a two-time Division I national Champion, Mocco is one of the best wrestlers in the sport today but he is still learning the fight game.

Cuitanho’s grappling, on the other hand, is of the BJJ variety. After becoming a respected elite level grappler, Cuitanho has made the transition to MMA to better provide for his family. After losing his first bout Cuitanho has won six straight with five coming by way of stoppage.

Even though both of these fighters are over 30, they are two of the most interesting heavyweight prospects in the sport today. It will be interesting to see if these two elite grapplers look to compete on the mat or if they will look to stand and trade.

Prediction – Mocco via Unanimous Decision

Phoenix Jones vs. Emmanuel Walo

In the second bout of the main card, modern day costumed vigilante Benjamin Fodor – aka Phoenix Jones – takes on welterweight up and comer Walo. This bout is intriguing mainly because of its spectacle appeal…how often to you get to see a masked crime fighter actually fight in a cage? But Fodor is really a legit young prospect and this is going to be the first big test of his career.

Walo isn’t a world beater, but he is coming off of a loss and he will be extra motivated to impress on Friday night. This is a tough fight to call but because Fodor has three finishes on his record to just two on Walo’s. Fodor gets the nod.

Prediction – Jones via third round Submission

Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Lucas Montoya

Originally, Dugulubgov was expected to take on Guillard in the co-main event but because Guillard
flaked out on getting his medicals submitted, he will now face Montoya. Even with the change, this is a fight fans should be excited for as both of these lightweights are hungry for bigger and better things.

This is a dangerous bout for Dugulubgov because he was preparing for a striker in Guillard but now must face a talented and effective grappler. That change in style could throw Dugulubgov off his game enough for Montoya to steal a victory.

Prediction – Dugulubgiv via first round TKO/KO

Nick Newell vs. Joe Condon

In the co-main event of the evening, top lightweight prospect and congenital amputee Newell will look to get back on track against Condon. Condon is an experienced fighter with a crafty choke game but this bout is all about spotlighting Newell. Coming off of a disappointing loss to WSOF champion Justin Gaetje, Newell is ready to get back to his winning ways.

Prediction – Newell via first round Submission

David Branch vs. Ronny Markes

The main event of the evening features a great light heavyweight matchup between WSOF middleweight champion Branch and respected veteran Markes. This bout is the second semi-final in the WSOF light heavyweight tournament and the winner will go on to face Teddy Holder for the vacant WSOF light heavyweight title.

Since being released from the UFC in 2011, Branch has been on a roll. Branch is 7-1 since that time and his only loss came at the hands of Anthony Johnson. He’s won five straight and now Branch is looking to capture his second WSOF title. Markes is a talented fighter but Branch is just competing on another level right now.

Prediction – Branch via third round TKO/KO