WSOF dual-division champion David Branch (17-3 MMA) looks to defend his middleweight title when he meets Clifford Starks (13-2 MMA) in the main event.
WSOF 30 takes place on April 2, 2016 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 6-foot-1, 34-year-old Branch of Brooklyn, N.Y. made history in his last start at WSOF23 on September 18, 2015 when he notched a first round (2:21) submission (rear-naked choke) victory over Teddy Holder to become the first World Series of Fighting light heavyweight champion in history as well as the first-ever two-division champion in promotional history.
A protégé of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Renzo Gracie, Branch will seek his eighth consecutive win.
Also 34 years of age, the 5-foot-10 Starks of Tempe, Ariz. earned a shot at Branch’s middleweight title after three consecutive victories in the World Series of Fighting decagon cage. In his last effort at WSOF23, Starks handed Krasimir Mladenov the first defeat of the Bulgarian wrestling standout’s career by way of unanimous decision.
Starks is riding a five-fight win streak that began with two consecutive wins under the promotion of Bellator.
In the co-main event, Jon Fitch (27-7-1, 1 NC MMA) will collide with recent World Series of Fighting one-night, eight-man tournament runner-up Joao Zeferino (20-7 MMA) with the vacant World Series of Fighting welterweight championship at stake.
A former world top 10 ranked competitor who has faced and defeated a collection of rival icons over the course of his 14-year professional career, the 6-foot, 38-year-old Fitch of Fort Wayne, Ind. earned a unanimous decision in his last appearance, over fellow accomplished superstar Yushin Okami at WSOF24 on October 17, 2015.
Originally from Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, the 5-foot-11, 30-year-old Zeferino who fights out of Middletown, N.Y. has notched 15 of his 20 career wins by way of submission. Zeferino demonstrated superior physical and mental toughness in his last appearance in the cage, going to battle three times in one night in the one-night, eight-man lightweight tournament at WSOF25 on November 20, 2015.
After defeating both Brian Foster and Jorge Patino by way of heel hook submission in the first round of action in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages of the tournament, respectively, Zeferino again faced off with Foster, who had advanced to the championship stage as a “lucky loser,” but suffered a second round (4:51) KO (punches) at the hands of Foster in a barnburner affair.
In other action on the four-fight, live NBCSN telecast, submission expert Vinny Magalhaes (13-7 MMA) will square off with Jake Heun (9-4 MMA) in a light heavyweight contest, while World Series of Fighting newcomer and knockout artist Abu Azaitar (11-1-1 MMA) will throw down with Danny “Dee1” Davis, Jr. (11-10-1 MMA) at welterweight.
The full card can be found below along with a video preview of the event.
Main Card (NBCSN, 11 p.m. ET)
David Branch vs. Clifford Starks for middleweight title
Jon Fitch vs. Joao Zeferino for vacant welterweight title
Jake Heun vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Abu Azaitar vs. Danny Davis Jr.
Preliminary Card (MMAMad.com, 8 p.m. ET)
Matthew Frincu vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Gil Guardado vs. Steve Kozola
Carlos Garcia vs. Jason Pacheco
Adam Acquaviva vs. Andres Ponce
Jeff Roman vs. Nick Salantri
Clinton Williams vs. opponent TBA