Jake Shields, Jon Fitch to Vie for Vacant WSOF Welterweight Strap on April 1

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 14, 2015


The vacant World Series of Fighting welterweight title will find a new owner when Jake Shields and Jon Fitch square off on April 1.

WSOF President Ray Sefo announced the bout during Inside MMA on Friday night. Sefo did not give a venue for the event, but he did also reveal that David Branch will defend his middleweight belt against Clifford Starks in the co-headliner.

The welterweight strap was recently vacated when the Las Vegas-based promotion suspended then champion Rousimar Palhares and stripped him of his title for holding a kimura for too long in a victory over Shields at WSOF 22 on Aug. 1. The Nevada Athletic Commission then followed suit by handing the Brazilian a two-year suspension and $40,000 fine.

Before he was tapped by Palhares, Shields posted first-round submission triumphs over Brian Foster and Ryan Ford in his first two WSOF appearances. Fitch, meanwhile, is 3-2 in WSOF competition, including a three-round verdict over Yushin Okami in his most recent outing on Oct. 17.

Branch is currently the promotion’s middleweight and light heavyweight ruler. Most recently, he captured 205-pound gold with a first-round submission of Teddy Holder at WSOF 23. Starks enters the bout on a five-fight winning streak, including a decision triumph over Krasimir Mladenov on Sept. 18.

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