For the first time in 2016, it’s Fight Week for World Series of Fighting.
This week, we’re in Memphis, at The Grand Lobby at FedExForum for Saturday night’s WSOF27.
Undefeated welterweight Jaleel Willis is one such fighter who will fight for the first time on live, national television on our NBCSN broadcast, as he takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Chauncey Foxworth.
Jaleel attended Memphis’ White Station High School, where he excelled as a wrestler, placing sixth in state his junior year and fourth in state his senior year, despite the school having what was considered a relatively weak wrestling program at that point – and only a seven-man team.
Jaleel dropped out of high school his senior year after experiencing a falling out with his mother and losing direction in his life. Then one day, while he was selling T-shirts at a local county fair, there happened to be an MMA fight card taking place. One of the promoters called out to the crowd to see if anyone could fight in a co-main event bout that needed a fighter. Jaleel accepted the challenge and won the fight.
Soon after, he was taken in by master trainer Dave Ferguson, who he now considers a father figure. In Jaleel’s words, he does not have a “plan B.” MMA is his only ticket to a better quality of life.
This could be the moment he breaks into the big time. But you can believe Chauncey is just as excited about this moment in the spotlight.
Or look at a guy like Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell, an undefeated featherweight who faces Jorge Medina.
Bryce is a political science and economics double major at Harding University. During his summer vacation, he traveled to different gyms throughout the country to sharpen his MMA skills, including Isreal Martinez‘s Izzy Style School of Wrestling, as well as Denver’s Elevation Fight Team and Easton’s Training Center, not to mention San Diego’s Victory MMA and Fitness, where he worked under Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Dean Lister.
As a high school wrestler, he placed in the state championships.
This is an opportunity for these prospects to prove themselves as potential superstars in the sport.
We also made one major change to the evening’s lineup, as Caros Fodor was originally expected to face our No. 3-ranked lightweight, Mike Ricci. Unfortunately, Mike was forced to withdraw from the card, and the immediate reaction was to promote Memphis’ own Teddy Holder, who meets undefeated Shamil Gamzatov, into the main event of this card.
That was before we knew we were going to be able to get a fighter the quality of Luiz “Buscape” Firmino to step in on short notice.
Luiz currently owns a five-fight winning streak, including World Series of Fighting bouts with Tyson Griffin and Jacob Volkmann – two well-respected veterans.
Luiz deserves the spotlight in this event, and a chance to prove he’s one of the top 155-pounders on our roster. And that also allows Caros to keep his spot in the main event, which we know was important to him.
So Saturday’s main event will feature Luiz Firmino vs. Caros Fodor in the main event and Teddy Holder vs. Shamil Gamzatov in the co-main. Both fights are three-round contests.
We look forward to see who will step up with this massive opportunity in front of them. There’s nothing quite like Fight Week.
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