Written by @JonTPaterson
In the next few days, fight fans will have their hands full with quality promotional events. One such event, WSOF 23, promises to deliver some memorable matches – the card will take place on the 18th live from Phoenix, Arizona. This will be the promotions first event since WSOF 22 in Las Vegas on August 1st. The event features a headliner between Justin Gaethje and Luis Palomino; a noteworthy rematch and Gaethje’s third lightweight title defense under the organization.
Another focal point tomorrow will be the co-main event, pitting UFC veteran David Branch and rising prospect Teddy Holder in a light heavyweight title showdown. Branch will be attempting to become a cross-division champion as he had already captured the middleweight strap in June of 2014. Branch had a fairly limited run in the UFC between 2010-2011, ultimately being let go from the company after suffering a heel hook loss to the controversial Rousimar Palhares. Despite that, the Renzo Gracie representative has been nearly perfect since leaving the UFC, going 8-1 (his sole loss dropping a decision to Anthony Johnson).
On the other side of the cage, Teddy Holder is no pushover. Although Holder is a +300 underdog whereas Branch is nearly -400 through most books, the Tennessee native has illustrated a knack for upsets in the past. Holder has not seen outside of the first round in his ten professional fights, and has finished the majority of those bouts with heavy, unpredictable hands. Last seen in action against former Thiago Silva, Holder absorbed some early punishment in the fight and proceeded to destroy the former UFC contender with heavy punches on the feet and the ground.
As a 3-1 underdog, Holder is a great value for a small wager tomorrow night. Although Holder is relatively inexperienced compared to his opponent, his heavy hands and explosive game-plan should be enough to get the job done and capture a WSOF title. Branch is the smaller man and will need to rely on a very technical game-plan in order to emerge victorious : he will need to tire out the bigger man and bring the fight into later rounds, a task easier said than done. Regardless of the outcome, I expect this bout and WSOF 23 as a whole to produce a memorable night of action and excitement.
WSOF 23 live preliminaries are slated to begin at 7 p.m. ET (00:00 BST), tomorrow, Friday, September 18th. For weigh-ins and live results, please check the following links.