The World Series of Fighitng returns with it’s eighth major event. This one is headlined by an inaugural lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje (10-0) and Rich Patishnock (6-1). Also on the card is a women’s straw weight title fight between veteran WMMA fighter Jessica Aguilar (16-4) against he undefeated Alida Gray (4-0).
A heavyweight bout with light heavyweight title implications for Anthony Johnson pits the multi-divisional fighter against knockout artist Mike Kyle who seeks his first WSOF win.
Joining the call was WSOF president Ray Sefo and Executive Vice President and match maker Ali Abdel-Aziz.
Sefo and Abdel-Aziz both spoke on their big plans for 2014:
Sefo: “Obviously 2013 was a great year for World Series of Fighting and we are looking forward to kicking off the year with two world title fights and our first female fight. I couldn’t be any happier than where we are.
Abdel-Aziz: “The fans are always going to go with the fighters. If Anthony (Johnson)’s contract is over and he wants to go fight for a different promotion then we will give him a big hug and wish him luck. This is 2014. This isn’t boxing. They are different sports. Everyone should have a dream and should pursue them. When Ray, Shawn (Lampman) and I started this promotion we said: fighters first. This is why we have so many fans behind us and supporting us. We may not be the biggest, but we know that the ones who do tune into NBC Sports are truly MMA fans.
The lightweight title challengers also spoke on the chance to make history in becoming the promotion’s first lightweight champion.
Patishnock: “I was happy I was given this opportunity and I was getting ready for a fight anyway. I didn’t feel much pressure taking this fight on such short notice. You don’t fight for a specific person. You have to fight for yourself and concentrate on what you’re good at. You come up with a game plan but it really never sticks.
Win lose or draw I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity.”
Gaethje: “I want to thank the World Series of Fighting for selecting me to be the face of their lightweight division. That’s a big thing that they are entrusting me with and I’m excited about that.”
The women looked to make fans happy as they not only fought for the first women’s title for the promotion but also the first women to step in to the WSOF cage.
Aguilar: “I’m going to give everything I always give and going to leave everything inside the cage. I’m just excited and grateful.
Gray: “I’m very honored to have been picked for this fight. I’m going to bring a fight to Jessica. I hope everybody’s ready for this.
It hasn’t been overwhelming getting ready for this fight. I watched Jessica fight before I turned pro. I told my coach I’m ready for this fight and ready to take these caliber fights. Finally this summer we made the decision that I was going to pro. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t know my name. She’s out there and she’s well known. She’s No. 1 ranked. But come Jan. 18 people will get to know me.”
The heavyweights also made their desires for their upcoming fight known.
Johnson: “It’s going to be exciting to get this fight over with. It seems like it’s been about a year. I had to pull out the first time and then Mike had to pull out the second time. But we’re finally getting it done and both of us are healthy.
“Mike is talented and has one of the best camps you can ever go to, AKA. He says he wants to push my cardio, well let’s push it.
Johnson also said he isn’t worried about a title fight as Abdel-Aziz stated that with a win, he gets a light-heavyweight title shot: “Fighting for the title isn’t really on my mind right now. The first step is beating Mike Kyle and we’ll go from there.
Kyle: “I really want to push the fight and push his cardio and see what kind of shape he’s really in. This would make for a great championship fight but it is what it is and I’ll wait for my time.”
WSOF takes place in Hollywood, Florida on January 18th at the Seminole Hard Rock Live.
For live coverage of WSOF 8 visit SciFighting.com