Rousimar Palhares Heel Hooks Steve Carl, Claims Welterweight Title at WSOF 9

By Brian Knapp Mar 29, 2014
Steve Carl’s reign ended swiftly and painfully. | Dave Mandel/

Rousimar Palhares knows how to manipulate the human leg.

Palhares submitted Steve Carl with an inverted heel hook to win the World Series of Fighting welterweight championship in the World Series of Fighting 9 headliner on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Carl (21-4, 3-1 WSOF) tapped out 69 seconds into round one, his streak of seven consecutive victories snapped in decisive fashion.

Carl rushed “Toquinho” at the start, only to be met by an immediate takedown from the Brazilian powerhouse. Palhares (16-6, 1-0 WSOF) patiently went to work in full guard, isolated the Hard Drive MMA representative’s foot and secured the fight-ending maneuver. The 34-year-old Team Nogueira representative has now won nine fights via heel hook.

“I’m so happy to have won this title,” said Palhares, who was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in October. “I have to thank all my friends, all my training partners.”

Moraes Captures Inaugural Bantamweight Crown

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Moraes chopped down Rettinghouse.
In the co-main event, the fast-rising Marlon Moraes captured the vacant WSOF bantamweight championship with a one-sided unanimous decision over Josh Rettinghouse. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 50-44 for Moraes (13-4-1, 5-0 WSOF).

Rettinghouse (10-3, 1-1 WSOF) was under fire from the start. Moraes stung him with a left hook and swarmed him with punches in the first round. Though the finish failed to materialize, the Brazilian had more punishment in store for Rettinghouse. In the second, Moraes turned to leg kicks. Over the final 20 minutes, he whipped into Rettinghouse’s lead leg with increased vigor and velocity.
The underdog repeatedly winced in pain.

Moraes cruised in the fourth and fifth rounds, content to batter his adversary’s leg with kicks while mixing in heavy punches to the body. One of the cornerstones of the WSOF organization, the 25-year-old Brazilian has won seven fights in a row.

Okami Choke Submits Savov

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Okami returned to his winning ways.
The world-ranked Yushin Okami submitted a woefully overmatched Svetlozar Savov with a second-round arm-triangle choke in a middleweight showcase. Savov (12-5, 0-1 WSOF) conceded defeat 4:46 into round two.

In his first appearance since being jettisoned by the UFC, Okami (30-8, 1-0 WSOF) brutalized the Bulgarian with a series of trip takedowns and ground-and-pound from the mount. The 32-year-old judo black belt spent more than two minutes in full mount in the second round, ultimately maneuvering into position for the fight-ending choke.

Okami had not won a fight via traditional submission in more than nine years.

Resurgent Burkman KOs Stinson

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Burkman blasted Stinson with a right hand.
Onetime WSOF title challenger Josh Burkman knocked out Tyler Stinson with a sweeping right hook and follow-up ground strike in the first round of their featured welterweight encounter. Stinson (27-10, 1-1 WSOF) met his end 2:15 into round one, as he was stopped by strikes for the first time in his 37-fight career.

Burkman (27-10, 4-1 WSOF) picked his spot. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2 graduate leveled Stinson with a right hook, followed him to the canvas and closed the deal with a violent standing-to-ground uppercut on his already dazed counterpart. Burkman, 33, has rattled off six wins in his last seven appearances.

Unbeaten Nunez Edges Dugulubgov

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Nunez edged Dugulubgov by split decision.
Takedowns, occasional ground-and-pound and a controlling top game carried Syndicate MMA’s Jonathan Nunez to a split decision over Ozzy Dugulubgov in a lightweight showcase. Two of the three cageside judges sided with Nunez (5-0, 1-0 WSOF) by 30-27 and 29-28 scores; a third saw it 29-28 for Dugulubgov.

All three rounds were closely contested. Nunez countered a takedown with an attempted brabo choke in the second and struck for a takedown of his own early in the third, tagging the Cage Fury Fighting Championships veteran with short punches from half guard.

Dugulubgov (5-2, 2-1 WSOF) made a final push at victory in the waning moments of the fight, as he transitioned to Nunez’s back and fished for a rear-naked choke. However, the 25-year-old Dagestani’s efforts proved unsuccessful, leaving his fate in the hands of the judges.

The defeat halted Dugulubgov’s four-fight winning streak.

Prelims: Gruetzemacher Streak Reaches 11

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Gruetzemacher dominated Gunderson.
In preliminary action, MMA Lab featherweight Chris Gruetzemacher (12-1, 1-0 WSOF) registered his 11th consecutive victory and cruised to a unanimous decision over the well-traveled John Gunderson (34-16-2, 0-2 WSOF), eliciting 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 nods on the scorecards; Team Curran’s Mike Corey (13-3-1, 1-0 WSOF) submitted Shane Krutchen (11-3, 0-1 WSOF) with a rear-naked choke 2:59 into round two of their featherweight duel; Bryson Hansen (7-1, 1-0 WSOF) put away Sean Cantor (1-1, 0-1 WSOF) with punches 46 seconds into the first round of their scrap at 135 pounds; Xtreme Couture featherweight Brenson Hansen (6-2,
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Hansen bombed away on Cantor.
3-1 WSOF) picked up a unanimous verdict against Boostayre Nefarios (2-2, 0-1 WSOF), earning 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 scores from the judges; Strikeforce alum Danny Davis Jr. (9-8-1, 1-0 WSOF) recorded a unanimous decision over Phil Dace (9-5, 0-1 WSOF) at 170 pounds, sweeping the scorecards with matching 30-27 marks; and Jimmy Spicuzza (3-0, 1-0 WSOF) submitted Gil Guardado (2-1, 0-1 WSOF) with a rear-naked choke 3:14 into the first round of their lightweight clash.
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