WSOF 15: Dave Branch vs Yushin Okami – Main Card Preview
World Series of Fighting comes to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida going head-to-head with rivals, UFC and Bellator, for the first time ever. A big night for the WSOF as they feature two title fights including the main event, the Middleweight title fight between current champ David Branch and former UFC title challenger, Yushin Okami.
Anchoring the co-main event was supposedly a Lightweight title fight between current undefeated champ, Justin Gaethje and Melvin Guillard until Guillard missed weight by making it a non-title catchweight fight much to everyone’s chagrin. Defending WSOF Women’s Strawweight champ and P4P queen Jessica Aguilar returns to take on dangerous Brazilian, Kalindra Faria for the belt as long-time vets Jorge Patino and Eric Reynolds finish the main card.
David Branch (C) (+340) vs Yushin Okami (-450)
WSOF Middleweight Championship Bout (185 lbs)
Yushin Okami was at one point, a top three middleweight in the world yet the Japanese import found himself jobless after getting knocked out by “Jacare” Souza, a testament to how little his skillset was appreciated. Okami fights boring grinding fights to put it bluntly. The gigantic middleweight uses his size to pin his opponents down and control them en route to a no-brainer no-fun decision. He’ll look to do the same to David Branch.
David Branch was also a former UFC vet before a submission loss to Rousimar Palhares (who is now the WSOF Welterweight Champion) got him cut. Branch has improved by leaps and bounds since, going 6-1 overall. A BJJ black belt, he showed in his last fight how far his submission game has come by tapping Jesse Taylor in under two minutes to win the belt. He’ll be in deep against the bigger more experienced Okami who has more wins (30) than he has fights (17)!
Okami’s chin is suspect though he has underrated boxing and power. Branch’s stand-up while decent won’t be finishing Okami on the feet and as advanced as his BJJ is now, it won’t threaten the very sound Okami. If Branch doesn’t find a way to keep Okami off of him, he could be in for a very long night as Okami will slowly but surely wrest the belt from him.
Prediction: Yushin Okami def. David Branch via Unanimous Decision to become the new WSOF Middleweight Champion
Justin Gaethje (C) (-190) vs Melvin Guillard (+160)
Catchweight Bout (159 lbs)
Only two fights into his WSOF career and Melvin Guillard has pretty much worn out his welcome. The former UFC vet missed weight by a whopping 4 lbs thus effectively turning the championship fight into a regular catchweight bout. Guillard has talked trash about the promotion and his opposition and it could be his undoing. The “Young Assassin” is still dangerous on his feet as he knocked out JZ Cavalcante in emphatic fashion. Guillard boasts 21 T/KOs for his career and holds the UFC record for most T/KOs at lightweight (8).
Justin Gaethje is debatably the best lightweight prospect not in the UFC. The NCAA Division I All-American wrestler is undefeated (12-0) with 11 of those wins coming via finish. He’s finished every opponent WSOF has given him and Guillard will be no different though he is the biggest name Gaethje will face. Both fighters love to come forward and both hit very hard. The main difference is Gaethje’s grappling game, an area Guillard has shown vulnerability. If Gaethje doesn’t finish Melvin on his feet, he’ll do it on the ground. Submission or TKO.
Prediction: Justin Gaethje def. Melvin Guillard via TKO (Round 2)
Jessica Aguilar (C) (-350) vs Kalindra Faria (+265)
WSOF Women’s Strawweight Championship Bout (115 lbs)
Kalindra Faria is hot on the heels of an eleven-fight winning streak and has a Muay Thai and BJJ base being able to utilize each quite effectively. The knock on her is her wrestling ability (or lack thereof) and the quality of opposition she’s faced. Building a long winning streak isn’t uncommon for fighters who’ve only fought local or lower-tier competition. Jessica Aguilar is a significant big step up for her though should she rise to the occasion, it could be her night.
Jessica Aguilar is the reigning P4P #1 women’s strawweight in the world and probably the second best Mexican fighter behind a dude called Cain Velasquez. Aguilar’s greatest asset is her wrestling, which is Faria’s kryptonite. Aguilar can also hit hard for a strawweight and her game-planning is second-to-none. Faria could be a hot new enigmatic fighter but expect Aguilar to size her out, weather whatever storm she’ll attempt and punish her on the ground en route to another dominant performance.
Prediction: Jessica Aguilar def. Kalindra Faria via Unanimous Decision to remain the WSOF Women’s Strawweight Champion
Eric Reynolds (-135) vs Jorge Patino (+105)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)
Both Reynolds and Patino are coming off knockout losses and likely hungry to get back to winning. Patino is a long-time veteran of the sport having a whopping 52 fights while Reynolds has exactly half that with 26. Patino’s best days are behind him and his knockout loss should foretell the state he’s in. Reynolds is the younger fighter with decent power and should he stave off of Patino’s submission attempts, he should finish him or take him to a decision.
Prediction: Eric Reynolds def. Jorge Patino via TKO (Round 3)