NBC’s premier MMA showcase – ‘World Series of Fighting’ returns for the 18th time to kick-off three big days of mixed martial arts action.
A four-fight main card kicks-off on NBC at 1am GMT, which culminates in a tasty looking bantamweight title bout between champion Marlon Moraes (13-4-1) and unbeaten challenger Josh Hill. (10-0)
A previous competitor on the UFC’s reality show, ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Hill will be looking to solidify an 11th straight win in front of a home crowd in Canada.
60% of Hill’s victories have come by way of decision however the 28-year-old fighter managed a first round knock-out of Mike Adams in his WSOF debut and will hope for more of the same this Thursday night.
In front of him is current WSOF bantamweight champion, Marlon Moraes who was due to defend his belt against Hill in September of last year until an injury ruled Hill out of the contest.
Moraes is arguably one of the most dangerous bantamweight prospects in the sport with nine of his 13 wins coming by way of finish (five TKO/KO, four SUB).
Having beaten Josh Rettinghouse by unanimous decision back at WSOF nine, Moraes makes his second defence of his bantamweight title. With a strong Canadian crowd behind the challenger, Moraes knows that this particular contest will be an uphill battle against a very game, unbeaten underdog.
Opening up the main card is an interesting encounter between two Canadian prospects at featherweight. Unbeaten Hakeem Dawodu (3-0) fights Tristan Johnson (9-5).
Dawodu has fought three times under the WSOF banner with each win coming by way of KO/TKO. Big things are expected from the 23-year-old but he comes up against an experienced MMA fighter in 31-year-old Tristan Johnson who makes his WSOF debut on home soil.
Fighting mostly on the local circuit, Johnson’s career has been very hit or miss. Winning one fight to lose two, but with a main card slot against a major player in the MMA scene, Johnson knows that nothing less than a win will suffice.
Both men have big knock out power with four of Johnson’s career wins coming by way of TKO/KO and this should be an explosive way to kick things off on the main card.
In the co-main event of the evening, it’s a clash of Canadian lightweights as hot prospect Shane Campbell (10-2) takes on Derek Boyle (13-6) in a promotional debut for both fighters.
Boyle has rightly earned his call up to the WSOF roster having won three of his last fights, two of which came by way of TKO on the local circuit in Canada.
Shane Campbell is currently on a two-fight win streak and looks to add a third consecutive TKO victory to his credit.
The two are no strangers to each other having fought back in March 2012 under the ‘Score Fighting Series’ promotion. Campbell was the victor on the night, earning himself a unanimous decision victory, which is something that Boyle would like to rectify sooner rather than later.
It’s always interesting when there are previous encounters between fighters on a local scene but now that the two are meeting on a larger stage, things could heat up extremely quickly this Thursday night in Canada.
Be sure to check out Pundit Arena on Tuesday when the ‘Tuesday Takedown’ will take a look back at all the action from WSOF 18 and more.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena