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WSOF 20 comes to Foxwoods
By Brian Woodman Jr.

   A rising Connecticut star and a self-proclaimed real life superhero were among the highlights at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket as World Series of Fighting presented WSOF 20 on Friday evening, April 10.
   The main event, which the company aired on NBC Sports Network along with the rest of the main card, was a light heavyweight bout between current WSOF middleweight champion and UFC veteran David Branch (16-4) and Jesse McElligott (5-2). The bout, which was a semi-final bout in WSOF’s light heavyweight tournament, ended with a technical submission after the referee waved off the fight.
Branch, who trains at Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in New York, rendered McElligott unconscious with a Von Flue Choke.
   During the co-main event, “Notorious” Nick Newell (12-1) of Milford defeated Joe Condon (12-8) by unanimous decision. The crowd cheered loudly for Newell, who trains at the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, Massachusetts, as he nearly sank a rear naked choke into Condon before the first round ended. Newell, a local favorite, has established himself professionally despite being born with no left forearm.
   Condon, who trains out of Joe Stevenson Cobra Kai in California, stuffed Newell’s take down attempts in the second round but was eventually taken down and had to escape an attempted guillotine choke. Newell caught a high kick by Condon in the third round and held his leg, but Condon punched his way out of it and took Newell’s back later in the round. Near the end of the fight, Newell sank a guillotine choke but Condon did not tap.
   Phoenix Jones (AKA Ben Fodor), who Internet sources report patrols Seattle, Washington as a masked deterrent to criminals as a sort of real-life Batman, made his WSOF debut that evening against Emmanuel Walo (8-2-1) and got his wings clipped with his first professional loss. Jones (5-1-1), who trains at AMC Pankration and is the subject of a recent ESPN documentary, lost by unanimous decision in a 175-pound catch weight fight after he failed to stop most of Walo’s takedown attempts. Judging by the favorable reception Phoenix received from the press and the audience, it’s doubtful his career will go down in flames just yet. 
   Walo, who trains out of Allstar Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Jersey City, grinded his way to a lay-and-pray victory, although there were a few punching exchanges.
   Relatively quick finishes marked the first two events on the main card. 
   Lightweight Ozzy Dugulubgov (7-2), who trains with the Renzo Gracie Team in Hackensack, New Jersey, defeated Lucas Montoya (8-4) of Blackout MMA in Utah by TKO in the first round of the main card‘s opening fight. The referee ended the fight and the ringside physician ended the fight after it was determined that Montoya sustained an injured right arm from a deflected kick.
   Steve Mocco (5-1) of American Top Team in Florida defeated fellow heavyweight Juliano Coutinho (6-2) of Daniel Gracie Cape Cod Academy by TKO. The referee waved the fight off at 4:02 into the first round.
   The third fight of the preliminary card, which was shown on, featured Chris Foster (8-4) of Meriden and apparently pleased the crowd. Foster who trains at Danilo Cherman Nova Unao in Middletown, lost the featherweight bout but still made an impression with moves such as a WWE-style pile driver in the second round followed shortly after by a combination of double-leg sweep and body slam. But Saul Almeida (18-5), who trains at Carlos Neto BJJ in Massachusetts, scored several takedowns and earned a victory over Foster by split decision. Both fighters made their WSOF debut that evening.
   Flyweight Darren Mima (6-3), who trains out of Black Hole MMA in Kingston, New York, defeated Johnny Campbell (11-5-2) of South Shore Sport Fighting in Massachusetts by unanimous decision during the first fight of the evening. Welterweight Matt Secor (6-2) of Spa City BJJ in South Glen Falls used his ground game to win an unanimous decision over Chip Moraza-Pollard (9-8) of the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance in the next fight. Lightweight Islam Mamedov (11-1) of Champion Derbet in Jersey City, defeated Springfield-based fighter Leon Davis (5-3) by TKO at about 4:40 into the first round of the final preliminary fight.

Photos by Terry Sutton