World Series of Fighting traveled outside of the U.S. for the first time on Saturday night, as the organization crowned its first featherweight champion inside PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Georgi Karakhanyan (23-3) defeated Lance Palmer (7-1) by third-round submission in the main event of the evening to capture the inaugural WSOF featherweight belt, solidifying his place as the top 145-pound fighter on the roster.
The opening round was contested primarily on the feet and was fairly even before Palmer landed an accidental eye poke that briefly broke up the action. As the fight wore on, Palmer continued to mix up his attacks, throwing some strikes while also resorting to his decorated wrestling abilities.
While Karakhanyan was somewhat active from his back with submission attempts, the relentless smothering of Palmer seemed like it was going to be enough to cruise to a decision. Karakhanyan had other plans, though, and when an opening came up late in the third round, he locked in a guillotine choke that gave Palmer no choice but to tap out.
Most expected Palmer to dominate the grappling due to his wrestling background, but on this night it was the mat work of Karakhanyan that earned him the WOF championship.
Taylor earns place in WSOF title fight
Jesse Taylor (27-9) and Elvis Mutapcic (13-3) finally got the chance to mix it up after their middleweight tournament semifinal contest was delayed from a previous WSOF event, and in the end, it was Taylor who walked away with the victory.
The unanimous decision win punched Taylor’s ticket in one-half of the inaugural WSOF middleweight title fight next year opposite David Branch, who earned his spot with a decision victory over Danillo Villefort.
Most of the 15-minute bout was contested on the ground, with Taylor earning more advantageous positions and methodically wearing his opponent down minute by minute. By no means were fans satisfied by the pace or action of the bout; however, that had no effect on the result of the fight, as Taylor stuck to his gameplan and took home the win in his WSOF debut.
Taylor shared his thoughts on his next matchup in his post-fight interview with Bas Rutten.
“I don’t care if it’s boring, I’m going to keep winning,” Taylor said. “I’m going to break that Branch.”
Newell impresses again, remains undefeated
Nick Newell (11-0) made quick work of Sabah Fadai (7-3) in one of the night’s most anticipated fights, earning a standing guillotine choke submission just 81 seconds into the opening round.
“Notorious” is one of the most intriguing stories in the sport at this time due to the fact he has only one fully former arm. Despite that, time after time he finishes his opponents in a one-sided and decisive fashion.
After some tentative striking exchanges to open the fight, Newell capitalized on the exposed neck of Fadai and locked in the fight-ending submission.
The win moved Newell to 2-0 in his WSOF career, and if he continues to perform the way he did on Saturday night, it won’t be long before he’s challenging for the organization’s lightweight title.
“I think you know there’s a vacant belt out there,” Newell said in his post-fight interview with Rutten. “We’ve got two guys fighting for it, and I think everybody knows who’s next.”
Starnes continues his career comeback
UFC veteran Kalib Starnes (16-8-1) had his opportunity to get some attention on the main card of a major MMA event for the fist time in years, and the Canadian absolutely made the best of it.
After a three-fight losing streak that many believed to be the end of his career, Starnes has reeled off four-straight wins, including a devastating elbow knockout of Dwayne Lewis (13-9) in the main card opener on NBCSN.
Starnes and Lewis went at each other with a fury from the opening bell, exchanging a multitude of strikes. Each man had their moments, but when Starnes got Lewis in the clinch against the fence, he rattled off a series of elbow that sent his opponent crumbling to the mat.
Starnes may be 38 years old, but his late career renaissance is becoming a notable story to follow in the MMA world.
Complete WSOF 7 results included:
- Georgi Karakhanyan def. Lance Palmer via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 4:40
- Jesse Taylor def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Nick Newell def. Sabah Fadai via submission (standing guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:21
- Kalib Starnes def. Dwayne Lewis via knockout (elbows) – Round 2, 1:02
- Michael Hill def. Richard Arsenault via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 2, 1:29
- David Perron def. Matt Baker via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 1:46
- Gabriel Solorio def. Shawn Albrecht via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Myles Merola def. Dan Ring via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Brendan Kornberger def. Micah Brakefield via TKO (corner stoppage) – Round 2, 2:45
For more on WSOF 7, check out to the MMA Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Georgi Karakhanyan)