Title talk was the main topic of discussion for all six fighters who will be fighting for coveted World Series of Fighting championship belts on Saturday night LIVE on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT local time).
“World Series of Fighting 10: Branch vs. Taylor” includes a main event featuring David Branch (13-3) vs. Jesse “JT Money” Taylor (27-9) for World Series of Fighting’s inaugural middleweight title, as well as dual co-main events with WSOF featherweight champion Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan (23-3-1) vs. Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn (14-2) and the world’s best female strawweight and current WSOF champion Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (17-4), who will defend her belt against Japanese contender Emi “The Kamikaze Angel” Fujino (13-7).
In addition, the main card will include intense matchups of lightweights Tyson Griffin (16-7) vs. Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (17-6) and featherweights Nick Lobosco (7-0) vs. Lance Palmer (7-1).
Branch, from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Taylor, from San Diego, were asked about the East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry. “I guess it is Westside vs. Eastside,” Taylor said. “Go San Diego!”
Added Branch, a former iron worker in Manhattan: “That’s funny. I thought that whole Tupac-Big E. thing has been over for a long time. Me and Jesse are just going to get it on on Saturday, that’s all we know. I am from New York, but my son’s from California, so I’m a little bit from all over the place. So no East Coast-West Coast thing here. Just me and him ready to get it on.”
WSOF President Ray Sefo was asked about the challenges of staging two WSOF events within two weeks of each other. “Like anything in life, without challenges, there is no moving forward,” Sefo said. “You need challenges in your life; in everything you do. The challenge is there, but it’s very doable. We’re very thankful to NBC Sports, our partners from the get-go, for making history and for putting us on major network television as a startup league.”
Here’s what the other fighters had to say:
“Jesse’s been around for a long time. He’s a good fighter. He’s tough and he comes to fight and there’s no surprise what he brings. And that’s what I want. I want to fight the toughest guys and prove that I’m the champion. Jesse’s been able to make his way to the finals of the tournament just like I have, and now it’s time to battle for the belt. I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
“A matchup with Rick Glenn is a good matchup. I’m really good at adjusting in a fight and I think I’ll do that on Saturday night and put on a good show for the Las Vegas fans. I’m not in this sport to be famous. I don’t care about being respected and all that stuff. I’m just here to fight, and to make a lot of money.”
“It’s a little frustrating to have to wait this long for this fight. I had some family issues that I had to take care of. But I’m always training so I just feel like I’ve had more time to get better.”
“I’m ready to defend my title and I’m happy that Emi was able to come to the States for this fight. I love to fight Japanese (fighters). They always come to fight.”
“I’ve been training as usual. It doesn’t change if I’m fighting in Japan or in the States. I’ve never been submitted or knocked out. So I just have to be careful and have perfect defense.”
The six-bout preliminary card includes heavyweights Dave Huckaba (21-5) vs. Derrick Mehmen (17-5), bantamweights Adam Acquaviva (1-0) vs. Timur Valiev (6-1), middleweights Krasimir Mladenov (10-0) vs. Angel DeAnda (11-3), women’s bantamweights Ashlee Evans-Smith (2-0) vs. Marciea Allen (3-1), lightweights Jimmy Spicuzza (3-0) vs. Justin Jaynes (2-1), and debuting lightweights Tanner Cowan (0-0) vs. A.J. Williams (0-0).
The preliminary bouts kick off at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT local time) and will stream live on WSOF.com.