“… If you would ask me, I would never go head-to-head (with Mayweather or Pacquiao) in a Pay-Per-View. We tried it once and we got killed.” – Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC CEO
Say this about Ray Sefo, former kickboxing champ and the President of the MMA World Series of Fighting: in and out of the ring, he shows a lot of guts.
Tomorrow night, World Series of Fighting 5 will begin from Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 6 pm EST/PST on NBC Sports Network. Yep, that’s right. The WSOF 5 main card bouts will air at the same time as the biggest boxing match of the year, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Floyd “Money” Mayweather on PPV in Las Vegas. Wow.
Sadly, WSOF is struggling to find an audience for its broadcasts as it is. Fertitta and the UFC tried this years ago on PPV, and things didn’t go so well.
So, who’s watching?
Well, I will. I love an underdog and hey, it’s not a bad card. The main event has two guys who have given us plenty of great MMA memories, and maybe tomorrow they’ll give us a couple more. The main card also has the continuing WSOF middleweight tournament, which features a meeting of two WSOF staples and jiu-jitsu black belts. Opening up will be a bout featuring heavyweight Rolles Gracie, and a featherweight battle featuring four-time UFC veteran Waylon Lowe.
Give ‘em hell, Ray! Here’s my breakdown of the main card:
Andrei Arlovski vs. Mike Kyle:
Again, wow. Both scored memorable stoppage victories in one of the best MMA shows ever. Unfortunately, that was in UFC 51. But they’re still big, powerful athletes who show some solid boxing and per their last performances, should have enough in the tank to put on a solid show. Arlovski’s the more polished of the two and I think he’s got a minor advantage.
WSOF Middleweight Tournament:
David Branch vs. Daniel Villefort:
Neither man is among the elite in MMA but they have solid grappling, particularly Renzo Gracie black belt Branch,
who last defeated a fading Paulo Filho at WSOF 4. If the bout goes to the mat, it should be entertaining. If not, Villefort, who won a close decision against Kris McCray the same night, is a bit better standup fighter — and should have the edge with his quick leg kicks. Watch to see who shows the more fire here, as both can sometimes seem to be fighting to appear busy, rather than finish.
Jesse Taylor vs. Elvis Mutapcic:
Both fighters are making their WSOF debut. Otherwise, they’re opposites: Mutapcic is a dynamic striker, Taylor a grappler out of Team Quest. I like Taylor to use his ground-and-pound effectively here.
Rolles Gracie vs. Derrick Mehmen: This is Gracie’s second and probably last chance at a major show after a terrible showing at UFC. Mehman, a natural light heavyweight, would seem a spotlight bout for him.