WSOF New Year’s Eve Card To Hold Three Title Bouts

Photo:Edward Carbajal/Frontproof Media

Make no mistake, professional Mixed Martial Arts in New York has been long overdue. If there is such thing as a “gold rush” for a sport, MMA in New York is certainly a good example. The UFC is bringing a massive card to Madison Square Garden in November as their first event in the world’s most famous arena, Combate Americas just held their first title fight in Verona, New York. So it should be no surprise that MMA’s World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is doing the same when they come to Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve.

The card had not been announced yet when they originally announced the date back in July, but details emerged this week as to who will be on the card as well as some welcome news about a certain bantamweight champion fight fans were waiting to see back in the cage as much as he wanted to be there. How the card came about would be a justification for the times people say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

No one likes to hear that, but in this case it actually makes for a rather awesome card. WSOF had two events originally scheduled before the New Year’s Eve event in Madison Square Garden. However, one event seemed to already fall apart when the Heavyweight Champion, Bagoi Ivanov got injured according to WSOF President Ray Sefo’s blog on the WSOF website.

Those that tuned into WSOF 33 to watch two title fights found out that one of them had to be removed when Justin Gaethje’s opponent, Ozzy Dugulubgov was removed last minute due to illness . Even though the event was still stacked and had a title fight on it Sefo felt the fans were probably missing something.

“While there were still some great fights, the night was missing something. We needed our headliner.”

— WSOF President Ray Sefo

And that headliner needed another fight before years end. If the top talent in a promotion wants to close out 2016 big, there is no better place to do it than Madison Square Garden. Knowing that they had the next event booked on November 12, the same day as the UFC is in the Garden it seems mashing their last few events together for one big show is the best way to let fans know they are being heard.

So, there will be no WSOF 34 or 35. Instead, Jon Fitch vs Jake Shields will happen at New Year’s Eve in Madison Square Garden. Justin Gaethje will get one more fight in for 2016 against Joao Zeferino and we will see the return of Marlon Moraes against a soon to be named opponent. Moraes was recently at the UFC 205 press conference in New York and was excited to support his training partners on that card, but was more excited to get back in the cage as well.

If everything happens for a reason, the reason made WSOF’s final show of 2016 an amazing addition to bringing professional MMA to New York.

Edward Carbajal is a contributing writer for MMA at and Frontproof Media. You can follow Edward on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website Check out his podcast on Spreaker.

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