On Friday, June 5, World Series of Fighting held its 21st event from the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
In the night’s main event, the promotion’s featherweight champion, Lance Palmer, put his belt on the line against longtime veteran Chris Horodecki. Palmer captured the title in December with a submission finish of Rick Glenn. The Team Alpha Male product entered the bout with 9-1 record. Horodecki, meanwhile, held a significant experience advantage. The 27-year-old Canadian was nearing his 30th professional fight, having fought in the IFL, WEC and Bellator MMA. He had won three of his last four, including his WSOF debut in October.
The co-main event also featured gold on the line as the heavyweight championship was up for grabs between Smealinho Rama and Blagoy Ivanov. The 23-year-old Rama rode a three-fight winning streak that includes wins over Derrick Mehmen and Steve Mocco in the WSOF cage. The Bellator veteran Ivanov was coming off the first loss of his career, a submission defeat to Alexander Volkov. Prior to that, the Bulgarian had won 11 straight.
The preliminary card aired live on Combat Press at 7:30 p.m. ET and following the main card at 11 p.m. ET. The main card broadcast on the NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.
Lance Palmer didn’t take long to defend his featherweight title against Chris Horodecki. Palmer used his superior wrestling to dictate the first round. Palmer came close early in the first after landing a takedown and quickly working to take Horodecki’s back. Palmer sinked in a guillotine choke, but Horodecki eventually fought out of the choke and reversed position to put Palmer on his back. The two eventually stood up, but Palmer was once again able to land the takedown and get Horodecki’s back. The second time around Palmer was able to fully sink in the rear-naked choke and secure the victory in his title defense in the first round.
Blagoy Ivanov became the new World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion with a strong outing against Smealinho Rama. Rama looked to control the striking, but continuously was countered on the way in by right hooks from Ivanov. Ivanov caught a kick early from Rama and used it to land an outside trip on the champion, but couldn’t finish the guillotine choke when the fight hit the mat. It took until the third round for Ivanov to once again be in a good position to win the fight when he landed a left hook that dropped Rama. Ivanov followed up with some strikes before sticking his arm around Rama’s neck. From there it was a quick few seconds before Rama tapped to a guillotine choke and, in the process, surrendered his heavyweight belt to the challenger.
Hakeem Dawodu once again dominated the striking against Chuka Willis. Willis looked to use a takedown heavy gameplan and had Dawodu’s back early on. Dawodu was able to survive the early onslaught and escaped the rear-naked choke attempt from Willis. After that, it was all downhill for Willis who ate strike after strike and failed to secure any meaningful takedowns. Willis eventually succumbed to a right knee from Dawodu that crumpled the featherweight. Dawodu followed up with knees and punches before finally forcing the referee to stop the fight and award him the TKO victory in the second round.
Michael Hill and Mark Drummond went back-and-forth over the course of three rounds for a closely contested decision. Both fighters traded strikes on the feet throwing a series of spinning elbows and kicks. The biggest difference between the two that tilted the fight in favor of Hill came in the form of a couple guillotine chokes in the first and second rounds. Hill was able to land a close guillotine in the first round, but used the guillotine in the second round as a way to help control Hill up close. Also, Hill landed the better strikes in the first two rounds while Drummond seemed to be in more control of the distance in the third. In the end, the judges ruled the fight in favor of Hill who took home the split decision victory.