World Series of Fighting (WSOF) returns this weekend (Sat., Aug. 9, 2014) with WSOF 12: “Palomino vs. Gonzalez,” which goes down from inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card features a couple of veterans from all over the mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape, and a few undefeated fighters trying to keep their respective streaks alive. Check out our main card preview and predictions below.
Upstart promotion World Series of Fighting (WSOF) invades Hard Rock Hotel & Casino this upcoming Saturday night (Aug. 9, 2014), for another installment of fights with WSOF 12: "Palomino vs. Gonzalez."
Despite the lack of star power on the card and no title fights, the event (which will be shown on NBC Sports Network) features an intriguing main event as former Bellator veteran Luis Palomino dukes it out against the undefeated Lewis Gonzalez.
"Lethal" is fresh off the biggest win of his career over Antonio McKee, sending the latter into retirement.
In the co-main event, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) combatant Ronny Markes trades fisticuffs against Cully Butterfield. Also on the main card, Elvis Mutapcic looks to bounce back from a smothering at the hands of Jesse Taylor as he takes on Kelvin Tiller, Cuban Olympic wrestler Alexis Vila battles Brandon Hempleman, and kicking things off will be Bryson Hansen against Matt Sayles.
Check out our complete WSOF 12: "Palomino vs. Gonzalez" preview and predictions below:
WSOF 12 MAIN CARD PICKS:
155 lbs.: Luis Palomino (22-9) vs. Lewis Gonzalez (9-0)
At first glance, this main event seems like the undefeated youngblood trying to topple the aging veteran, yet Palomino really isn't that old. At the age of 32, "Baboon" may give observers that impression because of his rugged mug, combined with the amount of fights he's had in his career.
The Floridian has to feel like he's entering the prime of his career, after knocking out Jorge Patino in his promotional debut at WSOF 8 back in January. His track record is an odd one, since he's toppled opposition like Jorge Masvidal, Daron Cruickshank, and Gesias Cavalcante, yet his most recent losses came by Efrain Escudero and Luiz Firmino. Still, the last time he suffered back-to-back losses was in 2009, and it's safe to say he possesses the striking advantage against his foe on Saturday night.
Gonzalez on the other hand, is coming off the biggest win of his career against McKee, despite losing the first round and decking McKee in the back of the head in the third round, which led to a controversial premature stoppage.
Nevertheless,"Lethal" remains a bright prospect who excelled as a wrestling champion in the California State high school program. He hasn't faced anyone reminiscent of "Baboon's" caliber, and it's obvious he'll be looking to bring the fight to the mat.
Palomino had some trouble stuffing some of Patino's takedowns earlier this year, so there's that. Although if the Peruvian can stop Gonzalez's drives, the 26-year-old combatant could be in a tough spot when trading limbs against his adversary.
It's the classic match up of styles, with both combatants having their clear advantages in their respective departments.
Final prediction: Gonzalez via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Ronny Markes (14-3) vs. Cully Butterfield (13-3)
The Brazilian was on a roll before crushing losses in UFC, thanks to Yoel Romero and Thiago Santos. He failed to make weight for his last bout under the ZUFFA regime, and it looked as if Markes had thrown away his prospect status which saw him defeat Paulo Filho, Aaron Simpson, and Andrew Craig.
However, maybe it was just a shift of focus for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, who has already amassed tremendous experience over tough guys at 26 years old, and returns to the light heavyweight division.
Butterfield, who hasn't fought in over a year, steps into the main event spot after Tiller relinquished his position to fight Mutapcic, and the "Mason" has roughly the same amount of experience as his opponent. He has shown decent grappling prowess in the past, but he's also susceptible to danger when facing an equal on the mat. It does makes up for his sub-par striking, but he may not be equipped to batter his opponent on Saturday night.
Also, it would be surprising if he dominated Markes if the fight hits the ground. He's simply facing a more experienced guy when it comes to the big stage, who is expected to be more dangerous than he is.
Final prediction: Markes via submission
185 lbs.: Elvis Mutapcic (13-3) vs. Kelvin Tiller (6-0)
Mutapcic has to bounce back from his lopsided loss to Taylor, which definitely frustrated him seeing how he was used as a pillow for almost the entire duration of three rounds. He was on a five-fight winning streak before the loss, which included a knockout over The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" season one winner Cezar Ferreira.
Out of his 13 victories, he's dusted off 11 opponents by way of stoppage.
The "Mama's Boy" hasn't lost thus far in his six-fight career, stopping every single opponent but one. He's recorded four submissions and a TKO victory, and he was a perfect 3-0 in Bellator.
Maybe Mutapcic's ground game could use some work, although Tiller may not be the wrestling or submission standout that could give him another nightmare. The Kansas-based combatant is good on the ground, especially off his back, but the "King" must have worked on his defense immensely after his loss.
That said, Mutapcic is much better on the feet, based on what we've seen from him in the past. An upset can happen, and the lesser-experienced fighter could take home the victory, but this is Mutapcic's fight to lose, since it would be far more costly for his future.
Final prediction: Mutapcic via technical knockout
135 lbs.: Alexis Vila (14-4) vs. Brandon Hempleman (9-2)
Vila is more or less the Cuban Randy Couture, yet with a lot less accolades when it comes to world titles. He's a decorated wrestler, winning a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics as a freestyle flyweight, and his bulky frame has helped him knock the living daylights out of guys like Joe Warren.
But if there's any criticism to be made, it's that after his glorious win over the "Baddest Man On The Planet," the Cuban has invested too much into throwing bombs, getting sidetracked by quicker opposition with better footwork.
This isn't to say Vila has to simply grapple and smother his opponents in boring fashion, yet he should storm through his foes for takedowns as many times as he can during three rounds.
"Hot Rod" ran into a brick wall in Marlon Moraes last year, and he hasn't competed since last summer. Before losing to the current bantamweight champion, Hempleman racked up six victories, which included two split decisions.
Hempleman has enough bounce in his step to confuse the "Exorcist," who tends to slow down when he doesn't quite know what to do. Hempleman can also attack with an abundance of leg kicks to wear down his fellow bantamweight, but Lord knows he has to avoid grappling exchanges like the plague.
Final prediction: Hempleman via split decision
135 lbs.: Bryson Hansen (7-1) vs. Matt Sayles (2-0)
It's good to see WSOF in the business of promoting budding prospects and giving them a chance to shine on television, despite unfamiliarity when it comes to some fighters on their roster.
Hansen product blitzed past Sean Cantor in March, and he's only lost once (to Russell Doane) so far out of eight bouts.
Sayles steps into this fight at 2-0, proving he's got some hype backing him, but those wins came from the Xplode Fight Series promotion, which apparently pits a bunch of cans against marketable fighters to make the chosen ones look good.
"Robo" is indeed well rounded, but the 20-year-old may be exposed this weekend by the more skillful and knowledgeable fighter. The Hawaiian just has a little more explosiveness when it comes to his punches.
Final prediction: Hansen via technical knockout
WSOF 12 "PRELIMS" QUICK PICKS:
Lucas Montoya vs. Jimmy Spicuzza: Spicuzza
Danny Davis Jr. vs. Jorge Lopez: Lopez
Adam Acquaviva vs. Cody Maltais: Acquaviva
Soslan Abanokov vs. Bryson Gutches: Abanokov
That just about does it.
Stick with us for full weigh-in coverage on Friday, as well as live results and play-by-play action of the entire main card on Saturday night.