WSOF 34 – WSOFNYC Results from Madison Square Garden – New Year’s Eve
Four World Series of Fighting titles are on the line today, December 31, the last calendar day of 2016. WSOF 34 from Madison Square Garden kicks off with a preliminary card that can be streamed LIVE here beginning at 1pm EST.
The card then moves to NBC Sports at 2:30 pm EST, followed by the main card on NBC at 4 pm EST.
Confetti fell from the rafters here at MSG before the first fight between Matt Denning and Tom Marcellino. See more on that fight down below.
Following the first fight, a representative from the New York State Assembly presented a proclamation to the World Series of Fighting.
In the main event, WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje defended his title against Luiz Firmino. Firmino comes into the contest with just three weeks notice after the originally scheduled opponent Joao Zeferino withdrew with injury.
WOW! We have a brawl here in the main event. The champion and the challenger are going at it full force and with violent in tensions. Gaethje finished the round with a cartwheel kick that upset Firmino and the referee had to come in to separate the two.
Justin Gaethje vs Luiz Firmino #WSOFNYE Rolling Thunder! https://t.co/OGLHHBDAaJ
The start of the second picked up exactly where the first left off. These two went at each other like they were in a dog fight. Firmino really poured it on the champion who dropped his mouthpiece for the third time already since the fight started. Gaethje, tired, but relentless continue to push forward, bloodying the challenger and swelling his right eye shut.
This fight is like a battle of Rock Em’ Sock Em’ Robots. Just blasting one another back and forth, rattling heads off the cage, and when you think one of them is out of the fight, they pull a shot out of nowhere. This is a late submission for Fight of the Year, very late, like last fight of the year late. The fight eventually stopped at the end of the third round between rounds due to doctor stoppage as Firmino’s eye is swollen shut.
Fitch’s Final Fight
Jon Fitch defended his welterweight title against submission specialist Jake Shields in the WSOF 34 co-main event. The challenger had Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez in his corner which is exactly where Fitch put him early in the contest. The referee stood the fighters back up and Fitch was getting the better of Shields on the feet. The second round ensued and Shields now has Fitch down on the canvas where he got full mount and dominated most of the round when he switched to back control.
Shields listened to Melendez who shouted instructions during the third round and should win this round on the judges’ scorecards but you never know as Fitch had a dominant position for the final 60 seconds and peppered the challenger’s body with a flurry of shots. In the fourth round Shields started to work the leg submissions which then carried over again to the fifth. But it was not enough to put Fitch away who won a unanimous decision. Fitch then stated after the fight that this might be his last fight in mixed martial arts citing a talk with doctors as the reasoning.
Marlon on the Money
Opening up the main card, WSOF bantamweight champ Marlon Moraes defends against Josenaldo Silva. The champion once again proved why he is on the cusp of getting a call to the UFC. His striking was on point, putting the challenger down with multiple strikes, worked some ground and pound and when the two stood back up it looked as if Marlon blocked a knee with a kick and it landed on the ribs of the challenger who fell in pain but then was being checked out by a doctor for a knee injury. Possible torn ACL.
Caio Alencar defeated Jared Rosholt via KO – Round 1, 1:17. Not much else to this one other than big boys slinging leather.
David Branch Defends
The first title defense of the night was two-division champion David Branch defending his middleweight title against Louis Taylor. The champion put on a very dominant first round working in submission attempts and devastating ground and pound. In the second round the challenger came to life pressing the champion up against the cage and landing a higher significant strike percentage but if he wants to take the belt home from Branch, he needs to do more.
Taylor had a really tight guillotine choke trapped around the champion’s next to start the third round and just when it seemed that Branch might finally be dethroned he slipped out and worked in ground and pound on a now tired Taylor. Taylor kept fighting through and landed significant strikes of his own. We have a fight here ladies and gentlemen, going into the championship rounds.
About two minutes into the fourth round Taylor landed a flying knee to the face of Branch as the champion was sneaking in for a takedown. Luckily for the champ he landed the takedown and maintained top control where he worked the body of Taylor.
Louis Taylor was one of the most, if not the most worthy contender to either of Branch’s titles as he took Branch to the fifth and final round in an extremely close back and forth battle. In the final moments Branch submitted an exhausted Taylor via rear-naked choke.
Former WSOF light heavyweight champion Smealinho Rama took on “The Honeybear” Jake Heun in the opening bout on NBC Sports. The two 205 pounders stood toe-to-toe pecking away at one another for the better part of the first round. Heun landed a huge head kick that sounded like thunder as it echoed throughout the Garden. Rama survived and later dropped Heun with a big right hand and it appeared that referee Dan Miragliotta was going to call an end to the contest but the fight continued on and a battle of ankle locks ensued. The two worked their way back to a standing position where Rama slugged it out with Heun, backing him up against the cage, bloodying him in the process before the horn sounded to conclude the first round.
In the second round there was an extremely dominant performance by the former champion who TKO’d Heun at 3:30.
Capping off the streamed preliminary bouts was a battle between to Marine Corps Veterans in Shane Kruchten and Jeremy Mahon. World Series of Fighting set up a tournament of military vets to determine “Who’s Toughest?”
The two jarheads pressed forward until Kruchten lifted Mahon up over his head, slammed him to the mat and began working the ground and pound. Mahon stood back up and earned a takedown on his own. Mahon finished the round strong with a flurry of strike of his own from the ground before the first round came to a halt.
Not sure what happened here in the second round but the commentary team to include Bas Rutten back away from the table mid-fight and nobody is calling the action. Kruchten seems to be in control here of this round but Mahon is working in shots from the bottom.
The Marines hugged it out and touched gloves to start round three before the war resumed. No decision was announced here at the Garden but Kruchten’s hand was raised in victory so we are assuming unanimous decision victory. *** Score later told to media (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Vagab Vagabov vs. Bruno Santos did not prove to show much action in this afternoon’s third preliminary bout. The crowd let them have it for their efforts. Chants of “Fight” and “Ronda Rousey did better,” could be heard echoing throughout Madison Square Garden. The action didn’t pick up until midway through the second round when Santos got Vagabov to the ground and worked in some ground and pound. Vagabov worked his way to his feet in the closing seconds on the second round and landed some clean shots and kicks to the body but it may not have been enough to win the round. The fight grew more interest in the third and final round and was ruled a split decision in favor of Santos.
Andre Harrison kept his undefeated record in tact when he defeated Bruce Boyington via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:54. Harrison took Bovington down right off the bat and the submission came naturally. Harrison’s stock continues to rise as he moves to 15-0.
Tom Marcellino and Matt Denning went to battle in the first fight on the WSOFNYC preliminary card. Marcellino received the big pop from fans and seemed to be the dominant force throughout the fight. He had a standing arm triangle on Denning before the fight eventually worked its way to the ground where he submitted him via armbar in the first.
Main Card (NBC at 4 p.m.)
Yushin Okami defeated Paul Bradley via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Justin Gaethje defeated Luiz Firmino via TKO – doctor stoppage – Round 3, 5:00
Jon Fitch defeated Jake Shields via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Marlon Moraes defeated Josenaldo Silva via TKO due to injury – Round 1, 2:30
Undercard (NBC Sports at 2:30 p.m. ET)
Caio Alencar defeated Jared Rosholt via KO – Round 1, 1:17
David Branch defeated Louis Taylor via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 5, 2:00
Smealinho Rama defeated Jake Heun via TKO – Round 2, 3:30
Undercard (1 p.m. ET)
Shane Krutchen defeated Jeremy Mahon via decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bruno Santos defeated Vagab Vagabov via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Andre Harrison defeated Bruce Boyington via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:54
Tom Marcellino defeated Matt Denning via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:30