On Saturday, Oct. 17, the World Series of Fighting will bring a pair of title fights to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. The card is headlined by a non-title fight between a pair of former UFC title contenders: Jon Fitch (26-7-1 MMA, 2-2 WSOF) and Yushin Okami (30-9 MMA, 1-1 WSOF).

In the main event, both Fitch and Okami will be looking to rebound from losses in their previous bouts, which were both title fights. Fitch’s title shot was against former WSOF welterweight champion, Rousimar Palhares, at WSOF 16, in which the leg-lock expert submitted Fitch in the first round. Okami’s chance came against the current middleweight and light heavyweight champion David Branch at WSOF 15. Branch won the fight via TKO in the fourth round. A big factor in this fight is the extensive layoffs of each fighter. Fitch has been out of action for ten months, while Okami has been sidelined for eleven. Lastly, this will be Okami’s welterweight debut.

The heavyweight belt will be on the line in the co-main event, as Blagoy Ivanov (12-1 MMA, 1-0 WSOF) will attempt to defend his title for the first time against Derrick Mehmen (19-6 MMA, 3-1 WSOF). Ivanov is coming off of an impressive third-round submission victory to snatch the title from Smealinho Rama. Mehmen is making his return to WSOF after defeating Brett Rogers at Abu Dhabi Warriors 2 back in March. This is also The MMA Corner’s pick for Fight of the Week.

Magomed Bibulatov vs. Donavon Frelow – For WSOF Flyweight Title 

The main card will open with the inaugural WSOF flyweight title fight between Donavon Frelow (5-0 MMA, 2-0 WSOF) and Magomed Bibulatov (9-0 MMA) who will be making his WSOF debut. This will be Bibulatov’s first fight in the United States after a two year run in Europe that left him at the top of the division in the continent. He utilizes vicious takedowns and has a dangerous submission game from top position. When he is on the feet, his style is very unorthodox. The Russian loves to lunge in with heavy strikes and loves spinning techniques. He even attempted a Showtime kick in one of his fights. Frelow is similar, in terms of power takedowns and an impressive submission game (four of his five wins are by submission), except his striking is more by-the-book. This fight should be a thriller to kick off the main card.

Prediction: Frelow via Submission, Round 2

Nick Newell vs. Tom Marcellino

Nick Newell (12-1 MMA, 3-1 WSOF) is one of the most fascinating fighters to watch. With just one arm, Newell has had an incredibly successful MMA career. His wrestling is incredibly tenacious and difficult to deal with. Eight of his twelve wins have come via submission. Tom Marcellino (7-3 MMA, 0-2 WSOF) will have to capitalize on the standing portion of the bout as Newell’s striking is still developing. Unfortunately, Marcellino’s striking is very raw and is mainly a grappler. It should be a long night for the Renzo Gracie product.

Prediction: Newell via Submission, Round 3

Vinny Magalhães vs. Matt Hamill

This matchup should feel familiar for UFC fans as both men have fought in the octagon a total of twenty times. This will be Matt Hamill’s (12-5 MMA) first fight since his second retirement due to persistent injuries a year ago. Hamill is mainly a wrestler, and tends to have cardio issues when the fight is standing for too long. Vinny Magalhães (12-7 MMA) is one of the best grapplers in MMA, with gold medals in both ADCC and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. However, his grappling success did not translate to a successful UFC stint as he accumulated a 1-4 record with the promotion. Magalhães is back on the horse though, coming off of two straight submission victories to make his WSOF debut. If Hamill decides to utilize his wrestling it will not go over well.

Prediction: Magalhães via Submission, Round 2

Blagoy Ivanov (c) vs. Derrick Mehmen – For WSOF Heavyweight Championship

Blagoy Ivanov is a life-long martial artist and was named an International Master of Sport in Sambo. The Bulgarian is also a black belt in judo. Combine that with power striking and the result is one dangerous heavyweight. Ivanov’s greatest victory came outside of the cage, when he defeated the legendary Fedor Emelianenko in the 2008 World Sambo Championships. Derrick Mehmen’s last appearance in the decagon was just over a year ago when he was brutally knocked out in the first round by the man who Ivanov took the heavyweight belt from, Smealinho Rama. Mehman has not been very impressive in WSOF (excluding his viral KO of Rolles Gracie) and Ivanov should be able to overpower him with ease.

Prediction: Ivanov via TKO, Round 1

Jon Fitch vs. Yushin Okami

This is a very intriguing matchup between a pair of fighters looking to get back in the win column. Both of these UFC castoffs were known as elite grapplers in their respective divisions and hopefully this fight will showcase that. A huge factor in this fight is Okami’s size. He was a huge middleweight back in his 185lb days, and now cutting down to 170 presents a great size advantage over other welterweights. Expect Okami to blanket Fitch.

Prediction: Okami via Decision

About The Author

Danny Doherty
Staff Writer

Danny is a sophomore at Ithaca College looking to acquire a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Media. He has been an avid fan of mixed martial arts since watching the UFC’s 100 Greatest Fights special on Spike TV back in 2009. Shortly following UFC 100, Danny’s Saturdays, and most of his free time, became dedicated to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Danny works as a sports broadcaster and as a DJ for Ithaca College’s FM radio station, 92 WICB.