Luiz Firmino Grinds Past Caros Fodor in World Series of Fighting 27 Main Event

By Brian Knapp Jan 23, 2016
Luiz Firmino took another step towards a potential shot at the World Series of Fighting lightweight championship. Just how big a step remains to be seen.

Firmino -- who has not lost since November 2011 -- won for the sixth time in as many outings, as he grinded his way to a unanimous decision over Caros Fodor in the WSOF 27 headliner on Saturday at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. A replacement for the injured Mike Ricci, Firmino (19-6) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks.

Fodor (10-5) was productive at times on the feet but too often allowed himself to be drawn into clinches with the savvy Blackzilians export. Firmino greeted the Strikeforce and Ultimate Fighting Championship alum with a burst of power punches in the opening seconds of the first round and delivered a takedown before achieving full mount in the second. Behind on the cards and needing a finish, Fodor could not generate enough offense to turn away the former Championship Fighting Alliance titleholder in round three. There, Firmino pursued a persistent clinch and trapped the Matt Hume protégé along the fence whenever he sensed danger.

In the light heavyweight co-main event, Shamil Gamzatov made quite an impression, as he blew away Teddy Holder with first-round punches. The end came 2:32 into round one, the 29-year-old Holder (9-3) exiting the cage with visible damage to his left eye and nose.

Gamzatov (10-0) established his range, stayed busy with leg kicks and stalked the Memphis native with an unsettling smile on his face. The Dagestani export stood up Holder with an overhand right, followed him as he retreated and then drew him into an exchange. A savage counter right hook folded Holder where he stood and had him ducking for cover on the mat. Follow-up punches from Gamzatov brought it to a close.

Meanwhile, undefeated Barata MMA prospect Bryce Mitchell submitted Jorge Medina with a first-round rear-naked choke in their featherweight showcase. Mitchell (5-0) coaxed the tapout 62 seconds into round one.

Medina (4-3) executed a head-and-arm throw during their initial exchange but in doing so put himself in a disadvantageous position. Mitchell scrambled to his back almost immediately, trapped the Nashville MMA rep in a body triangle and softened him with punches. The promising 21-year-old grappler then wrenched a palm-to-palm rear-naked choke for the finish.

Elsewhere, repeated takedowns, stifling top control and intermittent ground-and-pound carried the unbeaten Jaleel Willis to a unanimous decision over Chauncey Foxworth in a featured clash at 170 pounds. All three judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Willis (6-0).

This one turned into a bloodbath. Foxworth (1-1) could not stay upright, as he yielded multiple takedowns to his Memphis-based counterpart in all three rounds. Willis set the tone in round one, where he struck for a pair of takedowns, eventually scrambled to the back and nearly finished it with a last-second rear-naked choke. The second round followed a similar course, though Foxworth opened a cut on Willis’ forehead with a sneaky elbow strike from the bottom.

Blood spurted from the cut throughout the third round, where referee Herb Dean twice stopped the action to have the damage checked by the cageside physician. Willis was cleared on both occasions and picked up where he left off. By the time it was over, the two welterweights were soaked in blood, as was the canvas.

In preliminary action, Wade Johnson (10-1) took a split decision -- 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 -- from Justin Hartley (3-2) in their three-round encounter at 170 pounds; Zach Underwood (13-7) suffered an apparent knee injury, giving Jason Williams (5-7) a technical knockout 1:28 into the first round of their lightweight tilt; and Alvin Williams (3-2) cut down Wes Sharp (0-2) with a head kick and follow-up punches 30 seconds into the first round of their pairing at 155 pounds.
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