On Saturday, March 29, World Series of Fighting hosted its ninth event from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the night’s main event, the promotion’s welterweight title was on the line as champion Steve Carl clashed with UFC veteran Rousimar Palhares. Carl claimed the belt in October with a fourth-round submission over UFC veteran Josh Burkman. The win stretched the Iowa fighter’s winning streak to seven. Palhares, meanwhile, made his promotional debut. The Brazilian is known for his vicious leg locks, as well as controversy. He was released from the UFC in October after failing to release a submission against Mike Pierce.

A second title was up for grabs at the event as the promotion crowned its inaugural bantamweight champion in the night’s co-main event. Brazilian Muay Thai practitioner Marlon Moraes looked for his fifth win inside the WSOF cage when he battled 24-year-old, Washington-based fighter Josh Rettinghouse for 135-pound supremacy.

In all, the event featured 11 fights. The five-fight main card aired live on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. ET, while the six preliminary card bouts streamed live on the promotion’s website.

Rousimar Palhares used his signature heel hook to become the new World Series of Fighting welterweight champion. Palhares was able to take Steve Carl down seconds into the fight. Carl was doing a good job of tying up the Brazilian, but at the first opening Palhares dropped back for the heel hook. Carl tried to defend, but was forced to tap and referee Yves Lavigne was right on top of Palhares to make sure no further damage could be done to Carl’s leg.

Marlon Moraes turned in another dominating performance to also become a banamtawight champion. The first heavy strike that landed on Josh Rettinghouse was a huge leg kick from Moraes. That told the story of the entire fight. Moraes came close to stopping the fight in the first and third round, but Rettinghouse toughed it out. By the third round Rettinghouse could barely standing and was scooting across the mat begging for Moraes to come down to the ground. Moraes never did, but he also didn’t fully capitalize and finish the fight. Rettinghouse always kept looking for a finish, but Moraes domination was complete at the end of twenty five minutes and the belt was wrapped around his waist.

Yushin Okami turned in a traditional Yushin Okami performance in his World Series of Fighting debut. Okami dominated Svetlozar Savov for almost two whole rounds before locking in a fight-ending submission. Okami took Savov down early in the first round and was able to advance to mount fairly easily. He controlled position and used ground-and-pound for the rest of the round. The second round was pretty much a replay of the first. Okami got the takedown and advanced to mount, but this time he was able to lock up an arm-triangle with seconds remaining in the round to force the tap.

Josh Burkman rebounded from his loss to Steve Carl with a highlight-reel knockout of Tyler Stinson. Burkman came out winging huge punches early on. Stinson seemed like the more composed fighter and he landed some hard leg kicks and a grazing high kick to establish some range, but then he made a small mistake. Stinson dropped his hands for just a second and his face was formally introduced to a Josh Burkman haymaker. Stinson was out cold and the fight was over in the first.

Ozzy Dugulubgov and Johnny Nunez opened up the main card with a back and forth battle that ended in a split decision win for Nunez. Nunez came forward from the very beginning. He caught a body kick from Dugulubgov and took the fight to the ground. The Russian was able to get back to his feet and made Nunez pay for ducking down for a takedown with two uppercuts. In the second Nunez had Dugulubgov in trouble early. He transitioned in a scramble to a d’arce choke attempt that looked very close to finishing the fight. Dugulubgov fought out of the position and was on top for the latter half of the round. The fight seemed up for grabs in the third and Nunez was the aggressor. He took Dugulubgov down early and held that position for the majority of the round. Dugulubgov was able to reverse and take Nunez’ back in the final seconds, but two of the three judges had seen enough from Nunez to give him a split decision victory.

Rousimar Palhares def. Steve Carl by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 1:09 – for welterweight title
Marlon Moraes def.. Josh Rettinghouse by unanimous decision (50-44 x3) – for inaugural bantamweight title
Yushin Okami def. Svetlozar Savov by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2, 4:46
Josh Burkman def. Tyler Stinson by knockout (punch). Round 1, 2:15
Johnny Nunez def. Ozzy Dugulubgov by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Mike Corey def. Shane Kruchten by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 2:59
Bryson Hansen def. Sean Cantor by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:46
Chris Gruetzemacher def. John Gunderson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Brenson Hansen def.  Boostayre Nefarios by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Danny Davis def. Phil Dace by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Jimmy Spicuzza def. Gil Guardado by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:14

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.