This weekend, the World Series of Fighting will hold its seventh event and their first event outside of the United States. The card takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The card is headlined by a title fight to crown the first ever featherweight title for the promotion as Georgi Karakhanyan (22-3-1) takes on undefeated Lance Palmer (7-0).
Also on the card, a middleweight bout to determine the other half of a middleweight tournament as Elvis Mutapcic (13-2) takes on Jesse Taylor (26-9). The bout was supposed to take place back in September and was set to go until an official for the New Jersey State Athletic Commission supposedly saw Mutapcic taking a substance backstage at the event, scrapping the fight just moments before it was scheduled to happen. The winner of this bout will take on David Branch who sits alone in the finals of the middleweight tournament, which will crown the promotion’s first ever champion in the division.
Talented prospect Nick Newell (10-0) will also return to the cage to try and keep his win streak alive. He will take on Vancouver native, Sabah Fadai.
“These are exciting times for World Series of Fighting. We are looking to be in every household around the world by the end of 2015. I’m really looking forward to this show and it’s a stacked card. Guys like Jesse Taylor and Nick Newell and Elvis Mutapcic are the future stars of this sport. I think it’s a pretty exciting time for all these guys.”
What can we expect internationally in 2014? Can we expect more fights in Canada?
“Yes, absolutely. We just signed a deal with Australia and New Zealand, they are going to do like six shows. Canada will be about the same thing. Of course they won’t all be on the mother ship, meaning they won’t all be on NBC. I believe those that aren’t would be streamed live.”
“I know Lance (Palmer) comes from a good wrestling background and trains with a good team. But at the end of the day it’s an MMA fight and so once that door’s locks it doesn’t matter. It’s not a wrestling match. I’m looking to go out there and finish. I like to fight, and I don’t mind getting punched in the face. And I don’t mind punching him back. I’m just looking to go out there and put on an exciting fight for the Canadian fans. And I’m going for a finish.
“I think I’ve just learned how to win fights and how to break my opponents. I used to look to go into a fight and finish right away and if I didn’t then I would get discouraged. But I’ve learned from it. I’m in the gym every day unless I’m over-trained or sick. I’m always trying to learn and work on my weaknesses. I’m just learning how to perform under the bright lights once that door locks and all the people are watching.”
“It’s been a pretty crazy past month and everything’s happened pretty quick with the signing last month with the World Series of Fighting also with the world title fight. For me I was in between contracts with another promotion and I had a good couple of calls with the WSOF guys. And things just progressed from there and next thing you know Rick Glenn had to pull out of his fight and they gave me the opportunity for me to step in there on four weeks’ notice. So it’s been exciting and a fun process so far leading up to this point.”
Did you experience any negative feedback based on the controversy following your WSOF 5 fight cancellation vs. Jesse Taylor:
“I got 99 percent positive feedback. There were some people that were questioning if I took something and there’s always going to be that. Like I said I was really upset that it happened. We get a chance to make a living doing what we love and that night it gotten taken away. If it wasn’t for the World Series being such a great company, me and Jesse would have been out a paycheck. So I just want to thank World Series for that. So I’m just happy that I get to go in there and take care of what we should have finished three months ago.
“I’m really familiar with Jesse. He’s a very good wrestler and very well-rounded. I think he’s the best fighter that I’ve faced out there, which I truly think he is. I expect him to be very aggressive and to come forward and I expect a dog fight to the finish.”
“I just want to get in there and I want to fight. I know it’s going to be a good one and I want to have some fun. I’m ready. Me and Elvis are going to put on a great show in Canada. Thank you, Ray Sefo, for everything you’ve done. I’m hungry and I’m ready.”
On fighting in Fadai’s hometown of Vancouver:
“That doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter where we fight. It’s another fight and another opponent. It sounds like (Fadai) has got the right mindset. Whatever. It’s just another fight and I’m going to go out there and give my best and put on an entertaining fight.
“I’m more worried about Fadai right now and the threat he poses to me. I’m really just concentrated on this fight right now more than anything else. When it comes to the title you have to beat everybody if you think you’re the best. In due time I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there and fight whoever I have to fight. There are no easy fights in the World Series of Fighting.
“I feel like I’m being looked at more for my skill now than for having one hand. People are always going to say, ‘Look at that guy, I can’t believe it.’ It’s a part of who I am. If I go to the movies someone will say, ‘Look at the guy with one hand going to the movies.’ It’s always going to be like that. There will be people who have negative things to say but I grew up with it and have a pretty thick skin. I’m a fighter at the end of the day and a pretty good one and that’s why I’m in the World Series of Fighting: because of what I’ve accomplished and not because of the way I was born.”
“It’s going to be great to fight in my backyard of Vancouver in front of all my fans.
“I’m often asked, ‘How do you prepare for a guy with one arm?’ You really don’t. You can’t bring in somebody and tie off their arm. It just doesn’t work that way. I think Nick (Newell) is a tough guy. I’m not going to take anything away from him. I think he uses one arm as an advantage. Like I’ve said before, I’m going to go out there to hurt him. It’s our job to fight and that’s what I’m going to do. Especially coming into my town, it’s just not going to happen.”
NBCSN-TELEVISED MAIN CARD 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT:
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Lance Palmer – for inaugural WSOF featherweight title
Elvis Mutapcic vs. Jesse Taylor – middleweight tournament semifinal
Sabah Fadai vs. Nick Newell
Dwayne Lewis vs. Kalib Starnes
WSOF.COM– Free Online Preliminary Card 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT:
Shawn Albrecht vs. Gabriel Solorio
Michael Hill vs. Richard Arsenault
Matt Baker vs. David Perron
Dan Ring vs. Myles Merola
Micah Brakefield vs. Brendan Kornberger