David Branch made it look very easy against Jesse Taylor.| Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
LAS VEGAS -- David Branch made the most of his opportunity with World Series of Fighting.
Branch, a veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, wasted no time in seizing the promotion’s inaugural middleweight title with a quick first-round submission of “The Ultimate Fighter” castaway Jesse Taylor with a brabo choke at the 1:41 mark.
Many expected the match to be a grinding affair at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, but both Branch and Taylor came to fight at World Series of Fighting 10. An immediate scramble found Taylor on his back in an effort to sink in a guillotine choke that would ultimately lead to his demise. Branch, who has gone the distance in his last five fights, popped to his feet and quickly snatched his prey’s neck.
Related: WSOF 10 Play-by-Play
Going palm to bicep, Branch (14-3) cinched in the choke and squeezed as Taylor (27-10) found himself in a world of trouble. Rather than go to sleep, the Team Quest fighter had no choice but to cry uncle and tap to the hold. An emotional branch realized the accomplishment and was overtaken with emotion when referee Herb Dean raised his hand in victory.
The win -- Branch’s fourth in a row -- signaled a new era for the middleweight division with the Renzo Gracie fighter perched on the top of the WSOF ladder holding the gold.
Glenn Snatches Featherweight Title
Rick Glenn was determined not to let Georgi Karakhanyan’s slick submission game get the best of him.
The Duke Roufus product survived a first-round armbar attempt and turned the fight in his favor with some wicked punches in the second frame. The punishment left Karakhanyan broken down and forced him to hand over his featherweight title.
It looked like the champion would make short work of his challenger as he wasted no time dumping the Roufusport fighter to the ground and proceeded to work him over before using a slick transition to sink in a deep armbar. What looked to be a grotesque break waiting to happen somehow turned into Glenn escaping the submission.
Glenn (15-2) escaped danger repeatedly and began to ravage Karakhanyan with a wicked assortment of power shots that clearly turned the tide in his favor. With the Millennia MMA fighter on his knees against the cage, Glenn continued to rain down punishment that nearly caused referee Steve Mazagatti to call a halt to the contest.
Karakhnyan (23-2) would make it out of the second round but it wouldn’t matter as he quit on his stool seconds later while complaining of a rib injury. The official time was 5:00 of round two.
Aguilar Brutally Dominant In Title Defense
Jessica Aguilar retained her 115-pound title with a violent drubbing of Emi Fujino that the judges easily scored in the champ’s favor.
The disparity in talent and skill was evident from the start as Aguilar bloodied Fujino’s nose early with thudding straight right hands that repeatedly found their target. There wasn’t much Fujino could do but accept the delivery of the knuckle sandwiches that the American Top Team fighter kept throwing her way.
The punishment continued into the second round as the champion continued to bull forward and slam punches into her opponent’s face. Aguilar made a decision to take the fight to the mat in the third by scoring her first takedown and swiftly slapping on a side choke, but the team Wajutsu Keishukai Gods scrapper managed to survive the submission attempt only to find herself on the wrong end of some hellacious ground and pound when Aguilar popped into full mount.
Although she had been busted up and dominated thoroughly, Fujino’s corner trotted her out for the fourth round. Perhaps aware that Fujino had no quit in her, Aguilar took her foot off the gas in the final two rounds but did enough to keep the momentum on her side as all three judges saw it 50-44.
The win was Aguilar’s ninth in a row and moved her overall record to 18-4. Fujino dropped to 13-8 with the defeat.
Firmino Turns Back Griffin
Luiz Firmino thought better of going to war with Tyson Griffin and extended his winning streak to five by winning the ground game in earning a unanimous decision victory over the former UFC lightweight contender.
Griffin, who previously suggested that he would have to abandon his free swinging standup, chose to go toe-to-toe with Firmino from the outset. However, the Blackzilian member got the better of the early exchanges and secured a takedown to own the first stanza.
Griffin sent an open invitation to continue trading in the second round and Firmino made the mistake of accepting the invitation and ate several thudding blows. Just as Griffin’s assault looked to pick up steam, Firmino managed to get the fight to the mat and out-grappled the grizzled veteran.
Knowingly behind on the scorecards, Griffin begin the final round in full-out brawl mode and clipped Firmino with looping punches that entertained the crowd, but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt spoiled the fun by dragging the fight back to the ground and controlling his foil until the final bell.
All scores came back in Firmino’s favor: 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.
“My wrestling was good tonight,” Firmino (18-6) said afterwards. “I tried to mix everything up, but my wrestling was able to pull me through.”
For Griffin (16-8), it’s back to the drawing board as he’s dropped two in a row and six of his last eight.
Palmer Chokes Out Lobosco In First
In an opening showdown between featherweights, former Ohio State University wrestler Lance Palmer bounced back from a heartbreaking loss to Georgi Karakhanyan to dominate Nick LoBosco.
The Team Alpha Male product put his trademark wrestling pedigree to work by securing an early takedown and worked his way to Lobosco’s back. A barrage of punches followed in an effort to coerce referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
Dean relented and Palmer (8-1) decided to wrap things up the good old fashioned way by flattening out Lobosco (7-1) and sinking in a rear-naked choke to elicit the tap at 4:15 of the opening period.