Fight fans, hear me out.
Every week or so, we hear we’re about to watch the biggest event in MMA history, and this weekend is no exception.
Tonight, the UFC visits Brazil for what some call the last stand of the Nogueira brothers, and others hail as the first title defense for an American UFC champ in Brazil. It’s headliner is a grudge match… that looks like a mismatch.
Personally, I’m not too excited for this one.
But who knows? Historic… yeah, sure. Worth your time and pay-per-view loot? Well, that’s something only you know.
Meanwhile, there might be a sleeper of an MMA event going on at the same time — right in the UFC’s own backyard of Las Vegas.
MMA World Series of Fighting will present their 22nd show tonight, featuring a pair of title fights, and maybe it’s worth a look.
1) Jake Shields vs Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares in the main event. It’s two of the top grapplers in MMA — and if you love jiu-jitsu, like I do, this is among the best match-ups you can hope for. Unlike so many other meetings between elite MMA grapplers (from BJ Penn vs. Matt Serra in another era, to Shields vs. Demian Maia in this one), it’s very unlikely the two will cancel each other’s skills out. Palhares has collected leglock after leglock in recent years and Shields is fighting like the jiu-jitsu standout of old.
It’s a bit of a grudge match too; Shields has called Palhares a “dirty sociopath” for his perceived holding on of his submission holds. Unlike that other grudge match this weekend, however, Shields admits he’s got a fight on his hands, calling Palhares “the best in the world at leglocks.”
“It makes you want to go out there, and not feel bad about trying to hurt him,” Shields said on Parting Shot Podcast this week. “He’s trying to cause an injury and hurt you; he’s not just trying to win the fight — he’s trying to inflict pain. So you’re going to take the fight really serious. I’ve trained my leglocks and I’m ready to go out there and kick his ass. Ideally, it’d be nice to go out there and pop one of his knees!”
That would be quite a sight, and I’m amped to see him try — and so should you.
2) That other bantamweight title fight. WSOF titleholder Marlon Moraes has been quietly amassing a nine fight win streak in recent years, including knockouts of Carson Beebe and Tyson Nam. A product of Valor Martial Arts in Florida and Nova Uniao, Moraes began training with Frankie Edgar recently — and now appears to be reaching his prime. At age 27, Moraes is generally seen among the best 135 lb fighters in the world, regardless of promotion, and he just might be underrated.
His challenger tonight is another Brazilian, Sheymon Moraes, who is of absolutely no relation. This Moraes is 7-0 in MMA and trains out of Black House. He won a split decision over tough Gabriel Solorio last December, but is mainly seen as a prospect at this point.
3) MMA legend Bas Rutten on commentary, and 4) Janey B. on ring card duties. Two of my favorites – a million crazy fight stories from Bas, and one million dollar smile from Janey.
5) WSOF 22 is free. The event is scheduled to air tonight at 7:30 pm PT, 10:30 pm ET on NBC Sports Network. Okay, cable TV isn’t free, but you get the idea.
As always, enjoy the fights!