The epic 4-title fight, 11-bout WSOFNYC features an  unprecedented New Year’s Eve world championship extravaganza at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The historic mega-event boasting an unmatched roster of world-class athletes will air live on NBC Sports (2:30 p.m. ET – 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET – 6 p.m. ET on NBC) on Saturday, December 31. Click here to locate NBCSN in your channel lineup.  It will also be available on the FITE TV app outside of the of the U.S. for $9.99.

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In the NBC-broadcast main event, undefeated lightweight (155 pounds) kingpin Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (16-0) defends his crown against Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (19-7) and, in the co-main event the highly-anticipated welterweight (170 pounds), reigning world champion Jon Fitch (28-7) squares off with number one contender and fellow decorated superstar Jake Shields (31-8). Reigning bantamweight (135 pounds) champion Marlon Moraes (16-4) will also put his title on the line against ferocious contender Josenaldo Silva (25-4). Former top 10 world-ranked Yushin “Thunder” Okami (32-10) will take on battle-tested Paul Bradley (23-6) in a welterweight affair.

In the NBCSN-broadcast main event Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Champion David Branch (19-3) will put his Middleweight (185 pounds) belt on the line against challenger Louis Taylor (13-1). Former UFC standout Jared Rosholt (14-3) will make his much-anticipated promotional debut against fellow World Series of Fighting newcomer and finisher Caio Alencar (9-1) in a featured heavyweight contest. Shane Kruchten (11-4) and Jeremy Mahon (5-4) – both U.S. Marine Corps veterans – will do battle in a 150-pound “Who’s The Toughest” catchweight contest.

The four-fight preliminary card will be streamed free, worldwide live on WSOF.com, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App beginning at 1:o0 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT.

MAIN CARD (Live on NBC, Saturday at 4:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM PT)

  • Welterweight (Swing Bout): Yushin “Thunder” Okami def. Paul Bradley via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

  • This fight opened with a powerful exchange from both men. Bradley, however, was the successor landing a definitive takedown that would allow him top position putting Okami in heavy danger. Bradley used it to land some harsh strikes from the top. The WSOF debutant finished the round strong, punching Okami while he was turtled on the canvas. In the second, Bradley used his exhausting wrestling to force Okami against the cage when the two weren’t engaging in a striking contest. The pressure Bradley put on Okami neutralized his striking attempts, but once space was found the heavy shots of both men were heard around the arena. The third was a back and forth battle riddled with blood, mostly from the eye of Bradley. In the end, the victor was Okami after landing the most significant of strikes in the exchange.

  • Lightweight Title Fight: Justin Gaethje def. Luiz Firmino via Stoppage, Rd. 4
  • The opening round saw a blistering Firmino bullrush into the lightweight champion bringing them immediately to the canvas. They grappled in an exchange that didn’t progress leading the referee to bring them back to their feet. There, Gaethje found himself in his element landing sharp jabs and catching Firmino on his forward counter attempts. The two eventually found themselves grappling against the cage with Firmino burning the final seconds of the round hanging on Gaethje’s back looking for a choke. The lightweight champion retaliated with a creative combination: a heavy body kick and a rolling back kick attempt that swung into the chin of Firmino right when the bell sounded.

    The second was a mixture of Gaethje counters to Firmino’s excellent jab. The Brazilian is known for his grappling but found a lot of success standing, working on a simple combination that landed multiple times straight through Gaethje’s hands. By the end of the round Firmino’s face was inflamed and the lightweight champion’s energy faded massively from absorbing plenty of shots. The same exchange of punches continued into the third but at a labored pace. Both men had exhausted themselves by eating one anothers strikes but also swinging with any might they had left heading into the fourth. Before the interlude, Buscape’s eyes were swollen shut and Gaethje’s energy completely dipped. Unfortunately it was Firmino’s swollen eye that ultimately caused the end of the fight with the commission declaring he was no longer fit to fight.

  • Welterweight Title Fight: Jon Fitch def. Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision (49-46)
  • Jon Fitch and Jake Shields entered the Decagon as two of the most decorated welterweights in MMA history. Considering the grappling prowess of both men, fans were eagerly expecting some interesting grappling exchanges. However, Shields surprised nearly everyone by coming out with some impressive kicks early.

    Still, Fitch was able to work past Shields’ striking to secure a takedown and take the first frame. The second round saw a reversal of fortune as Shields would take top position on the ground. The two men would exchange positions on the mat for much of the middle rounds and it was clear it was taxing on both men’s conditioning. Although Fitch would hold top position for much of the time spent grappling, Shields was constantly threatening with submissions.

    However, it wouldn’t be enough as the WSOF welterweight champ would retain his title by sticking to his strengths. In a battle of legendary MMA welterweights, Fitch would emerge victorious. Following the bout, Fitch spoke honestly about this fight possibly being his last. If it is indeed his final fight, Fitch will go out as one of the best 170-pound fighters in MMA history.

  • Bantamweight Title Fight: Marlon Moraes def. Josenaldo Silva via Tap Out (Injury), Rd. 1, 2:30
  • Time and time again the Brazilian has defied the toughest men in the bantamweight division and his fifth title defense just once again proved his rightful place amongst the MMA elite. The round began with Josenaldo eating a few of Moraes’ signature body kicks while looking to reply with damage himself. Unfortunately once the distance was closed, Silva found himself defending off his back from a Moraes takedown and the champion landing vicious strikes on top and furiously looking for a guillotine. The two got back up to their feet with Silva backing the 135-lb king against the cage, but once they clashed with kicks, Silva fell to the ground surrendering. The fight ultimately stopped due to tapout from injury with Moraes retaining his bantamweight crown.

     

    NBCSN Card (NBCSN, 2:30 PM ET – 4 PM ET, Dec. 31)

  • Heavyweight: Caio Alencar vs. Jared Rosholt via, KO (Punch), Rd. 1, 1:17
  • Jared Rosholt’s WSOF debut didn’t go according to plan for the former UFC contender. His opponent, Caio Alencar came out fast and furious, throwing a Power Ranger-like kick to open up the fight. Rosholt would look to get a takedown early but couldn’t do much as Alencar defended with strikes. As Rosholt began to back towards the fence, Alencar began to unload with heavy bombs. The finish came soon after as Rosholt was decked by an Alencar strike. Alencar would add some quick follow up strikes but the referee quickly jumped in to stop the bout.

  • Middleweight Title Fight: David Branch (19-3) def. Louis Taylor via Submission (Choke), Rd. 5, 2:00
  • This marquee match-up between Chicago’s own Louis Taylor and hometown two-weight world champion David Branch was heavily dictated by Branch from the start. The New Yorker pushed the pace of the round with a variety of selected shots and a powerful takedown in the middle of the canvas.

    Taylor recovered quickly, got back to his feet and the two traded once again before Branch secured another takedown, claimed the back of Taylor and worked for a vicious rear-naked choke with his high level BJJ game. Much of the final moments of the first were Taylor looking to survive before the echo of the bell.

    In the second, the #1 middleweight contender forced Branch up against the cage but the two-weight world champion defended any danger bringing them back into the center. Much of the second saw Taylor with a successful grind against the cage, but every time the two disengaged the technical shots of Branch put Taylor in danger. On the feet, the movement of Branch made a major difference in the significance of the Chicago native’s shots.

    But it was early in the third round where Branch found himself locked into a guillotine attempt off a takedown by his opponent. Were it not for his composure he may not have escaped considering how deep the choke was. Upon releasing, Branch climbed on the back of Taylor, slipped his arm through and worked rigorously to flatten him out. The round closed with another guillotine attempt by Taylor without success and both men on their feet with their energy significantly fading.

    A short break transitioned us back into the same exchange at the top of round four before the champion thrust himself atop Taylor after a takedown. The finale of the round was dominated by Branch on the ground taking us into the 5th where Branch continued to work for a rear-naked choke. The champion would get the tapout in the final round, earning yet another impressive finish to his title reign.

  • Light Heavyweight: Smealinho Rama (9-2) def. Jake “The Honey Bear” Heun via TKO (Punches), Rd. 2, 3:30
  • Smealinho Rama and Jake Heun sqaurred off to begin the NBCSN portion of the card. Both men didn’t disappoint as the two light heavyweights threw heavy leather early and often. The turning point in the first round came when Heun looked to land a spinning elbow but missed. Rama, the former WSOF heavyweight champ, capitalized and floored Heun with a massive punch. Rama would work from top control for much of the first round but Heun would work his way back to his feet. As the round came to a close, Heun looked to unload but Rama would be the one landing the significant strikes.

    The second round saw Heun enjoy some brief success before once again finding himself in trouble. Heun looked for a desperate takedown but Rama would reverse the transition. Rama would transition to full mount and begin to throw down heavy punches. Heun did his best to cover up but Rama was unrelenting from top position. Dan Miragliotta was forced to step in and put a halt to the bout in the second round.

    Prelim Card (WSOF.com, 1 PM ET – 2:30 PM ET, Dec. 31)

  • “Who’s The Toughest?” Catchweight Fight: Shane Kruchten def. Jeremy Mahon, Unanimous Decision (29-28)

  • The pace of this fight began even before the echo of the bell with Kruchten firing a flurry of punches and forward movement. The pressure lit Mahon up and the first round turned into an even exchange on the feet before Kruchten landed a hard body kick. Immediately the signs of the kick were displayed on Mahon’s face and Krutchen’s corner were yelling furiously for him to capitalize. He used his striking to move into place and force Mahon onto the cage. Mahon replied with a slam attempt but it was the Texan who succeeded on the ground with some good strikes to close the first round.

    In the second, the tables turned in favour of Mahon when he neutralized most of the danger from Kruchten on his back in top position. Mahon kept himself close to the featherweight, not really working for a submission but instead to find a position to land a small flurry of strikes. The end of the round stayed much of the same until Mahon closed it out with a landslide of elbows. The grappling exchanges continued into the third with Kruchten working for submission attempts off his back. The Texan emerged the victor and earned himself a decision after a slow and steady grind over three full rounds.

  • Middleweight: Bruno Santos def Vagab Vagabov via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • The opening round of this middleweight clash began with a long drawn feeling out process with blood first drawn by the Russian. Once contact was made, Santos replied but in a varied effort. Most damage from the feet came by way of Vagabov who was successful with his counter striking and overhands.

    In round 2, Santos loosened up and became much more active in his attempts, but the counter striking of the Russian was still overtly successful. Three minutes into the second round, Santos landed a takedown and claimed top position. From there, the Brazilian neutralized Vagabov and worked his way into a position to land some tight strikes to the face. He then climbed his way onto the back of Vagabov attempting to get into a rear-naked choke, but Vagabov stood up, shook the former UFC middleweight off and rebounded with a hard body kick to the Brazilian while in a down position on the canvas. The round ended with the two retaliating against each other on the feet.

    Round 3 offered much of the same on the feet as round 1 with Vagabov landing the most significant strikes. Santos took another opportunity to secure a takedown and once he secured top position worked for some ground and pound. The remainder of the round Vagabov worked diligently to get up but was forced to stay on the canvas under the dominance of Santos until the bell.

  • Featherweight: Andre Harrison def. Bruce Boyington via Submission, (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd. 1, 1:54
  • Debutant Andre Harrsion made a major statement against Bruce Boyington in the second bout of WSOF’s mega card. The featherweight dictated the pace and result of the fight from the very beginning. To begin, Harrision and Boyington exchanged strikes on the feet before the former went for a powerful takedown sending the two of them across the canvas. It was Harrison’s world from there as he controlled the position on top, struck his way to Boyington’s back and slipped his arm in for a tight rear-naked choke. Although Boyington tried to find an opening to escape, his attempt was too late ending the fight at 1:54 of round 1. The Bull now maintains his perfect record by improving to 15-0 now.

  • Welterweight: Tommy Marcellino def. Matt Denning via Submission (Guillotine), Rd.1, 3:30
  • In the introductory bout of the evening, these two were only standing for a matter of seconds at the start before Marcellino went for a powerful takedown. He controlled the fight against the cage after grinding through a successful grapple on the feet before the two eventually split off. Denning looked to reply with a couple labored kicks to the head but Marcellino avoided any major damage. The Amsterdam, new York native once again went for the takedown, secured it and controlled on top. Working to secure a submission, “Gunz” hooked his arm around the neck of Denning and locked in the guillotine. Stellar finish by the welterweight who now improves to 8-5.

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