Written by @JonTPaterson
WSOF 25 takes place this Friday at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. The highlight of this event is a feature eight-man lightweight tournament; one night only, with two reserve matches to account for chance of injury or other unforeseen circumstances. World Series has an impressive pool of lightweight competitors and Friday’s tournament format is useful way to pick out rising talent within the organization.
With just one more event (WSOF 26, December 18) scheduled for the year, this event is designed to leave a strong impression on the company’s established viewership. With a throwback to the classic MMA tournament format, the expectations for success are high. After a solid showing so far in 2015, World Series of Fighting is clearly becoming a major player in the professional MMA circuit.
The quarterfinal match-ups will be featured on the televised main card, live at 11PM EST on NBCSN and Fight Network. Whomever emerges as the victor of this tournament becomes an immediate contender and gets a crack at the WSOF lightweight belt, currently being held by Justin Gaethje. The 27 year-old is currently 15-0 and has only gone to decision twice in his professional career. Below are the quarterfinal bouts along with a brief breakdown and analysis of each match-up.
Jorge Patino vs. Islam Mamedov
This should be an interesting clash of grapplers who are also not afraid to strike and look for the finish. Patino is the oldest competitor in the tournament at 42 years of age, and has over 50 professional fights with the majority of his victories coming by submission. Patino will attempt to turn back the clock and get one last crack at a major MMA title. Mamedov on the other hand is the youngest of the lot at 25 years, and although he has far less experience, he has shown a proficiency for finishing fights earlier rather than later.
Islam Mamedov is the prospect in this bout: with a high winning percentage and presumably less damage taken over the course of his career. Expect the Russian to be a slight betting favourite despite the impressive resume of Patino.
Prediction : Islam Mamedov
Luis Palomino vs. Richard Patishnock
Luis Palomino is a flashy striker who is best known for his exciting bouts with current WSOF champion Justin Gaethje. Despite this, Palomino is a well-rounded practitioner who has been competing professionally for nearly a decade and previously has had success with Bellator among other organizations.
Palomino will be looking to win this tournament and earn another shot at Gaethje. Richard Patishnock has also suffered a defeat at the hands of the lightweight champ and will be seeking revenge. The 6-2 lightweight is most known for his defeats over Igor and Gregor Gracie two years ago. However, Patishnock has a fraction Palomino’s cage-time and it will be difficult to gauge how he will perform, being his first fight of 2015.
Prediction : Luis Palomino
Joao Zeferino vs. Brian Foster
Fans will get to see the debut WSOF performance of Joao Zeferino as he takes on Brian Foster in another feature quarterfinal of the tournament. Aside from a rough beginning, and dropping back to back performances in the UFC before being released, Zeferino has otherwise been very dominant in his career. He may not have been able to pull the trigger in his UFC performances, but Zeferino has the ability to achieve greatness in the lightweight division.
Brian Foster is a veteran of the sport, with a five fight stint in the UFC and an impressive win-loss ratio. The Oklahoma native has finished all but one of his fights and generally only loses to top named opponents. This could be one of the most competitive matches as either man is more than capable of moving onward and succeeding in the tournament.
Prediction : Joao Zeferino
Mike Ricci vs. Brian Cobb (Cobb withdrew, cut after second withdrawal)
Both Mike Ricci and Brian Cobb will be competing for the first time in 2015 at WSOF 25; ring-rust aside these men will be hoping to leave an impact which should make for an exciting quarterfinal bout. Mike Ricci is a Tristar Gym product who has impressive wins over George Sotiropoulos and Jordan Mein. The Canadian is a versatile martial artist who could yet become a serious contender in the division.
The third man in Friday’s tournament who has lost to Justin Gaethje, Brian Cobb is a submission specialist who has been with the sport since 2004. Cobb has fought for the UFC and Sengoku Raiden Championships in the past and has a knack for comeback victories. Cobb has not competed since his 2013 loss to Gaethje, so his performance on Friday is tentative and somewhat questionable.
Prediction : Mike Ricci
For more on WSOF 25
WSOF 25 || Official Weigh-In Video and Results
WSOF 25 || Preliminary Card Live Stream
WSOF 25 || Live Results from Phoenix, Arizona
WSOF 25 || Fight Card Information and Video Preview
WSOF 25 || Rules Announcement 8-Man Lightweight Tournament