WSOF 5 goes down tonight at the Revel Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey featuring a main event of Andrei Arlovski taking on Mike Kyle in the heavyweight division. Here’s our break down of the main card and some quick picks for the prelims. Feel free to share your picks in the comments below!
Heavyweight Bout – Andrei Arlovski (19-10 (1nc)) vs Mike Kyle (20-9-1 (2nc))
Mike Kyle came in over 20lbs lighter at the weigh-ins, and having competed at light heavyweight in the past, is likely to have a speed advantage in this one. However, when it comes to technical striking you would have to give the edge to Arlovski who, despite not being quite as quick on his feet as his opponent, is known to have fast hands and is more than capable of putting together some quick combinations. There have often been question marks over the “chin” of Arlovski, however many people fail to point out that most of his knockout losses have come to some of the hardest hitting strikers in the sport, such as Fedor Emelianenko (35-4) and Sergio Kharitonov (19-5). It’s no secret though that Kyle is a hard hitter himself, having finished the majority of his win’s by way of (T)KO and rocking the likes of Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva (18-5), showcasing that he has dynamite in his hands. While I expect this to be pretty even while it stays standing, if there’s one area that Arlovski has a distinct advantage then I’d say that with his Sambo background, he should get the better of things on the mat and in the grappling department, should he decide to take it there. I was a little surprised to see that Kyle is currently the favourite with the bookmakers because while I expect him to start strong and most likely take the first round, I’m backing Arlovski to bounce back, mixing up his strategy throughout the fight and come out with the victory via a late stoppage.
Winner – Arlovski via (T)KO
Middleweight Tournament Bout – Dave Branch (12-3) vs Danillo Villefort (14-4)
This bout poses an interesting matchup, featuring two strong grapplers who generally favour the ground game. Now while I expect the fight to end up on the ground at numerous times throughout the fight, in matchups like this when they are relatively even in the grappling department, the fight can often be won and lost during the standup portions of the fight. Although there is not a lot between them I feel that given his level of competition, which has been slightly higher than Villefort, Branch is the more experienced fighter and has a few more tools at his disposal and to mix things up in every department. I’d also just have to learn towards Branch in the ground game, which is why I’m giving him the nudge in this one.
Winner – Branch via Decision
Middleweight Tournament Bout – Elvis Mutapcic (13-2) vs Jesse Taylor (26-9)
This is an equally tough bout to pick. Both men come into the fight riding good winning streaks with Mutapcic having won five in a row and Taylor six. The well-rounded Bosnian has picked up some strong victories during the run, including a decision win over Sam Alvey (20-5) to win the MFC middleweight title as well as knocking out Cezar ‘Mutante’ Ferreira (6-2) who looked incredible in his last UFC outing. Taylor meanwhile has also looked good with victories over Kendall Grove (18-13) as well as two bouts in the UK-based Cage Warriors where he won the CWFC middleweight title against Ireland’s Chris Fields (10-5-1) before successfully defending it in his most recent outing against John Phillips (16-6). While Taylor is a tough and durable fighter, known predominantly for his wrestling and submissions which may well enable him to edge that area of the fight, I believe it’s Mutapcic who has a few more skills when it comes to striking, while also being a handy grappler himself. So for that reason I’m leaning towards the Bosnian in this one to come out on top in a hotly contested bout.
Winner – Mutapcic via Decision
Heavyweight Bout – Rolles Gracie, Jr. (8-1) vs Derrick Mehmen (15-5)
The famous Gracie name is back in MMA competition with Rolles, as well as two other members of the Gracie family, competing at WSOF 5. Mehmen undoubtedly has dynamite in his hands and is more than capable of ending this in a heartbeat, where as Gracie is unlikely to want to stand and trade for to long in this one. I’m fully expecting Mehmen to come out guns blazing and for Gracie to weather an early storm before taking things to the mat. Once it hits the ground I don’t see Mehmen having anything for the decorated BJJ black belt who should be able to work to a dominant position and force an early tapout.
Winner – Gracie via Submission
Featherweight Bout – Waylon Lowe (14-4) vs Georgi Karakhanyan (21-3-1)
Karakhanyan might just be one of the best featherweight prospects around, currently unknown to much of the MMA world. He’s shown a great deal of improvement since his days in Bellator, where although he had a decent run, lost out to the also talented Patricio Pitbull (19-2) and Joe Warren (8-3), not that there is any shame in that. Lowe meanwhile, may be the slightly larger name, given his time in the UFC, however I’m not sure if he’s quite on the level of the talented Armenian. although the drop down to featherweight does seem to have suited him and I expect this one to be well-contested all over the cage. Lowe will perhaps have an edge in power and is capable of finishing the fight should the opportunity arise, but I’m going with Karakhanyan to outwork him in this one and score more points with a well organised gameplan.
Winner – Karakhanyan via Decision
Welterweight Bout – Gregor Gracie (7-3) vs Rich Patishnock (5-1) – Patishnock
Middleweight Bout – Neiman Gracie (0-0) vs Darren Costa (0-1) – Gracie
Featherweight Bout – Rick Glenn (13-2-1) vs Artur Rofi (6-0) – Glenn
160lb Catchweight Bout – Ozzy Dugulubgov (4-1) vs Andrew Osborne (7-5) - Osborne
Bantamweight Bout – Sidemar Honorio (8-3) vs Jimmie Rivera (12-1) – Rivera