Two UFC veterans will do battle in the WSOF 30 main event when current WSOF Middleweight and Light heavyweight champion David Branch (17-3) attempts to defend his 185lb title against Clifford Starks (13-2). The event takes place April 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada.

David Branch was never able to make it to the top in the UFC, however at his new home, the World Series of Fighting, the 34 year-old American seems to have finally found his groove. He is the reigning WSOF Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion. He’s currently riding a seven fight win streak, all of them have come under the WSOF banner. Branch has finished his past four opponents so Clifford Starks will need to be at his best on April 2nd.

Clifford Starks only has two losses on his professional MMA record, and both of those losses were in the UFC against Yoel Romero and Ed Herman. Outside of the UFC he’s perfect, including a five fight winning streak which has landed him in the title fight opposite David Branch.  Where Branch is able to end the fight anywhere, Starks will need to rely on a strong wrestling game to grind out his opponent.

WSOF 30 airs April 2nd on NBCSN, the prelims begin at 8pm ET and the main card has a later than usual start time at 11:30pm ET.  The co-main event is for the vacant WSOF welterweight title when Jon Fitch meets Joao Zeferino.  For more coverage of WSOF 30 and everything MMA keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Editor/Writer

 

Jon Fitch wanted to prove his critics wrong. He felt the UFC had no reason to release him earlier this year. Well if it had anything to do with his performance in the cage, UFC president Dana White must feel pretty good about his decision after Friday night.

Fitch returned to action at the World Series of Fighting 3, when he faced Josh Burkman in the main event. The two had met in 2005 when they were still on the UFC roster. Fitch won that fight by submitting Burkman in the 2nd round.  So, his fans expected this to be a winnable fight. Most people probably expected him to win.

Apparently Josh Burkman didn’t get the memo, because at the opening bell he immediately baited Fitch into trading punches. He rocked him with a left-right combination and Fitch dropped to his knees. Instead of punching his opponent, Burkman seized an opportunity and grabbed ahold of the neck. They got to their feet and Burkman pulled guard. Seconds later he released an unconscious Jon Fitch from the guillotine choke.

Josh Burkman actually showed great awareness by releasing the choke, as referee Steve Mazzagatti seemed to not realize that Fitch had gone limp. It was a brutal finish to a fast paced fight that only lasted 41 seconds.

It really is a sad turn of events for a guy who fought for the UFC welterweight title only 5 years ago.  Since 2011 he’s gone 1-3-1 and two of those losses came less than a minute into the fights. Where does Jon Fitch go from here? Obviously there could be a rubber match with Burkman. But it is unlikely that fans will want to see that fight anytime soon. Fitch will probably get a matchup with a lesser known opponent.  Or, he could always retire; I wouldn’t be upset with that decision at all.  He had a good run, and there’s no shame in calling it quits. No matter what he decides, let’s hope he can pick himself up and dust off like the true warrior he is.

As for Josh Burkman, he has now won all three of his fights under the WSOF banner and five in a row overall. If he keeps winning he may find himself back in the UFC one day. But for right now Burkman should be happy with being the best 170lb fighter on the World Series of Fighting roster. It doesn’t hurt that he also avenged a loss that had probably haunted him for the last 5 years.

WSOF 3 took place Friday June 14th in Las Vegas, Nevada.  There were nine fights on the card and Jon Fitch vs. Josh Burkman served as the evening’s main event.  WSOF 4 is scheduled to take place August 10th, a light heavyweight bout between Tyrone Spong and Angel DeAnda will headline the event.  For more news on the World Series of Fighting continue checking back with Profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

Welcome to the inaugural B.S. Predictions column. In this reoccurring PFF post Brent and I will take a closer look at the main card fights for every UFC event and accurately predict the outcome – Let me rephrase that, where I (Scott) accurately predict the outcome.

Without further ado let’s get right to the UFC 156 main card bouts.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

Brent: This match-up is a great example of how weak the UFC flyweight division is. The winner could get a shot at champion Demetrious Johnson.  The problem with that, they have both already lost to Johnson.  I just think Benavidez is the more talented all-around fighter.  His power should be the difference in this one.  “Uncle Creepy’s” creepiness won’t be enough to get him a win.  What a great way to open up the UFC 156 main card.

Prediction: Benavidez via 2nd round TKO

Scott: TKO? Really Brent? You must have a lot of faith in Benavidez’s punching power. I on the other hand have more confidence in McCall’s chin due to the fact that he’s never been knocked out in a fight. Setting aside our predicted victory differences I have to agree with your assessment of Benavidez’s skill level verses McCall’s.

It’s hard to count Uncle Creepy out of a fight but I believe Benavidez desperately wants a rematch with flyweight champion Johnson and he just might get it with a win on Saturday night.

Prediction: Benavidez via unanimous decision 

Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

Brent: Demian Maia has been a stud since joining the welterweight ranks, but I think Fitch will be his toughest test at 170lbs. I imagine the majority of this fight will take place on the mat. Fitch is a grinder. He will do that while Maia will be extremely active off his back.  Fitch has only been submitted once in his career, in his first pro fight, ten years ago.

I don’t think Maia has the power in his hands to win by TKO or the strength to submit Jon Fitch. Fitch will use his wrestling to win this one, but it will be close. If I had to guess, I’d say there will be more boos at the end of this one than an open bar party at Scott Levesque’s.

Prediction: Fitch via Split Decision

Scott: Brent your hearing aid must be shorting out. They’re not “booing” they’re “yahooing.”  Why are they doing that? Well for starters they’re going to see Fitch keep this fight on the feet and secondly Fitch will use his hands to win this fight. CRAP! I gave away my pick to early, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

There’s not way Fitch wants to mess with the BJJ specialist on the ground (just ask Rick “Squeeze and Squirt” Story). Fitch will do all he can to keep the fight standing and pick the Brazilian apart with his punches. Fitch will stun Maia and may even drop him a few times during the fight, but ultimately it will go to the judges – Crap did I just say that, dang it!

Prediction: Fitch via unanimous decision

Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Brent: Finally, Overeem will make his return to the UFC octagon.  Yes, he’s been away for some time, but that doesn’t give Silva a better chance of winning.  Does anyone really think Overeem is going to lose?  No way, as long as the drug tests come back clean, and I imagine they will, Overeem is going to prove why he is worthy of a title shot.  Alistair will have fans wondering what happened to “Bigfoot”, it’ll be like he never existed.

Prediction: Overeem via 1st round TKO

Scott: This must be a joke, right? How do you expect me to write anything about this fight with a straight face? My analysis might be the shortest in this columns existence. Overeem has more power, experience and overall skill.

Prediction: Overeem via 1st round TKO (decapitation, impaling or liver explosion)

Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Brent: I still believe Rashad Evans has the skills to be a champion. When I first heard about this fight I thought it was a mismatch.  I haven’t changed my mind. Nogueira is an elite BJJ practitioner, but Evans’ wrestling will nullify that. Rashad should be able to dictate this entire fight.  If he wants the fight on the feet, he’ll do that, if he wants it on the mat, he’ll take “Little Nog” down, simple as that.

Nogueira will take a beating and finally cave to the pressure in the third round.  Rashad will dance his way to victory, maybe he’ll get an invitation to “Dancing With The Stars”.

Prediction: Evans via 3rd round TKO 

Scott: Unlike my counterpart I don’t believe Evans has that “championship material” anymore. I believe this for one reason and one reason only, Jon Jones. Unless Jones bumps up to heavyweight the only “championship material” is Jones himself. Needless to say Evans will win this fight without much difficultly. He’ll keep it on the feet and win decisively – It helps that it’s not in Brazil where age or skill don’t factor in if you’re a Nogueira.

Little Nog has struggled against opponents with a strong wrestling background. If you need evidence just watch his fights against Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Both fights ended in unanimous decision losses for Nogueira. Evans has better, well-rounded, skill and more experience then either Bader or Davis.

Prediction: Evans via unanimous decision

Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo

Brent: That’s right I’m predicting Aldo will win by submission.  Here is why, Edgar is a tough kid, I can’t deny that.  But, Edgar will realize in the first round that Aldo is a ninja on the feet.  That will lead to Edgar trying to get a take-down  something I think he is capable of, when he does that Aldo will jump all over the opportunity to submit him.  Aldo will get his first legitimate submission victory since 2004.

I don’t think we’ll see Aldo run into the crowd this time, the fans will be on Edgar’s side; it would be a bad idea for Jose to celebrate so openly.  With this correct prediction it will give me a 5-0 record at UFC 156, try and do better Mr. Levesque, I dare you!

Prediction: Aldo via 2nd Round Submission

Scott: Alright already, I’ll drink the UFC public relations kool-aid and call this a “super-fight.” I’ve been fed that designation for a while now and I’m tired of fighting it. If this is the closest thing we’ll get to a super-fight then I’ll call it just that, a super-fight.

Honestly I have no clue what to expect from this bout. I have a bunch question marks for both fighters and I’m not sure anyone can answer them before they step into the cage. At this point I’m going strictly on “body of work” between the two fighters. With that said it’s probably going all five rounds with fireworks all the way through.

As I see it Aldo will ROCK Edgar early in the bout. Frankie, like he always does, will recover and make a fight out of it. In all honesty it’s going to come down to the third round. Yes I said third round. Aldo wins the first and second while Frankie wins the fourth and fifth. Well here we go…

Prediction: Frankie Edgar via split decision (Because why the hell not? It’s Edgar’s M.O.)

Tell us your UFC 156 predictions by finding us on Twitter. You can tweet Brent at @BrentHas2Write and Scott at @scottlevesque.

By Scott Levesque (@scottlevesque)

ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer