World Series of Fighting announced today the addition of five preliminary card bouts to its highly-anticipated WSOF30: Branch vs. Starks world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) doubleheader event at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 2, live on NBCSN at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
Topping the undercard bill that will stream live, in its entirety on an embeddable video player on WSOF.com, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, will be a welterweight (170 pounds) collision between Abubakar Nurmagomedov (11-1-1) and Matt “The Thunder From Down Under” Frincu (7-1).
The adopted brother and training partner of superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 26-year-old Abubakar, who hails from Dagestan, Russia is riding a three-fight win streak, while Frincu of Tempe, Ariz. via Queensland, Australia will put a five-fight win streak on the line.
Nurmagomedov boasts an impressive 82 percent finish rate, while Frincu has earned six of his seven professional wins to date by way of (T)KO or submission.
In lightweight (155 pounds) preliminary card action, undefeated knockout artist Steve “Thunderbeast” Kozola (6-0) will make his World Series of Fighting debut against fellow fast-rising star Gil Guardado (5-1).
On fire since his professional debut victory in July 2013, Kozola of San Diego, Calif. via Chicago, Ill. comes to World Series of Fighting after producing back-to-back, devastating KO victories – each with a furious onslaught of punches – under the promotion of Bellator.
On January 16, 2015, Kozola scored a second round (1:25) KO on Jonathan Rivera at Bellator 132 and, on March 15, 2015, he scored a first round (2:22) KO on Ian Butler at Bellator 137.
Guardado of Las Vegas will look to notch his third consecutive win after two dominant performances inside the World Series of Fighting decagon cage.
The 30-year-old Xtreme Couture prodigy submitted Pete Martin with a guillotine choke in the first round (3:31) of action at WSOF22 on August 1, 2015, and closed out the year with a unanimous decision victory over Giga Chikadze at WSOF26 on December 18.
In a flyweight (125 pounds) scrap, Carlos Garcia (1-1) of San Bernardino, Calif. will make his professional debut against Jason Pacheco (1-0) of Las Vegas.
Adam Aquaviva (4-2) of Las Vegas will face off with Andres Ponce (3-2) of Tempe in a bantamweight tilt and, in the opening preliminary card matchup, Jeff Roman (1-2-1) of Las Vegas will square off with Nick Salantri (0-1) at welterweight.
A sixth, middleweight (185 pounds) preliminary fight featuring Clinton Williams (7-3) of Las Vegas will be announced soon.
Priced from $20, tickets for WSOF30: Branch vs. Starks, are available for purchase online at WSOF.com and AXS.com.
Doors at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open for the event at 4 p.m. PT, and the first preliminary bout will begin at 5 p.m.
In the main event, reigning World Series of Fighting middleweight champion David Branch (17-3), the league’s first-ever, two-division title holder, will put his coveted crown on the line against top contender Clifford Starks (13-2).
In the co-main event, superstar Jon Fitch (27-7-1, 1 NC) will battle recent World Series of Fighting one-night, eight-man tournament runner-up Joao “The Brazilian Samurai” Zeferino (20-7) with the vacant World Series of Fighting welterweight championship at stake.
Elsewhere on the four-fight, live NBCSN telecast, submission expert Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes (13-7) will square off with Jake “The Honey Bear” Heun (9-4) in a light heavyweight (205 pounds) contest, while World Series of Fighting newcomer and knockout artist Abu “Gladiator” Azaitar (11-1-1) will lock horns with Danny “Dee1” Davis, Jr. (11-10-1) at welterweight.