Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow to partake in the glorious spectacle of highly trained athletes engaging in spirited hand-to-hand combat: World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 5 goes down tonight from the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with Mike Kyle vs. Andrei Arlovski at the helm. Kyle was initially slated to face Anthony Johnson in a Light Heavyweight contest, but Johnson was replaced by Andrei Arlovski and the reshaped headliner will take place in the Heavyweight division.
Also appearing on the featured card, which airs on NBC Sports at 9:00 p.m. ET, is one-half of the opening brackets for the Middleweight tournament: David Branch vs. Danillo Villefort and Elvis Mutapcic vs. Jesse Taylor. Rounding out the main card are bouts between featherweights Georgi Karakhanyan and Waylon Lowe and a heavyweight tilt pitting Rolles Gracie vs. Derrick Mehmen.
The WSOF 5 preliminary card stream will kick off the evening at 6:00 p.m. ET via WSOF.com. Live play by play will begin with the main card (see below). Give Mookie Alexander's WSOF 5 preview a read in the interim.
WSOF 5 Main Card (NBC Sports at 9:00 p.m. ET)
R1: Kyle circles left with jabs. Arlovski dangerously opting early for wider hooks which contrast with Kyle's laser-straight punches. Front kick from Arlovski. Arlovski gets tagged hard in an exchange but seems to recover, throwing another front kick soon after. Arlovski might be dazed as he seems hittable. He then uncorks a team of heaters that puts Kyle back on his heels about halfway through the round.
They're both putting their heads down and letting their hands go, and Arlovski straightens out his punches and the extra distance helps him land a few. Arlovski finding a rhythm and puts Kyle down with a shot (might've been a slip) but "Mak" is back to his feet right away. Arlovski anchoring his attacks with a straight right that's becoming consistently effective. I saw it as Kyle winning the first half and Arlovski the second with a knockdown both ways. 10-10.
R2: Arlovski digs in a low hook to the body. Inside low kick from Kyle, then a nice right. A front kick from Arlovski precedes another right hand that narrowly misses. Inside low kick and front kick from Arlovski, then both just plant their feet and unload salvos at one another with Arlovski apparently getting the better of it. Kyle changes levels and settles for cage pressure when he can't get the takedown but Big Dan Miragliotta breaks them up quickly.
Arlovski's clubbing right hand has a big presence, usually in the form of short counters. The spinning back kick he throws isn't as effective. Arlovski double jabs successfully but whiffs on his follow up cross. Two more clipping right hands land for the Belarusian, who's fighting Kyle's fight but edging him in a sort of methodical brawl. 10-9 Arlovski.
R3: Arlovski finds the mark early with his overhand right but can't get the single leg. Arlovski keeps the pressure on but eats two jabs to the grill and motions like it was an eye poke. Miragliotta states that it was with a closed fist and to fight on, and Kyle clobbers Arlovski, who looks to be blinking and squinting the injured eye, with a big right. Now Arlovski comes in swinging but it's Kyle who stings him with counters.
Inside low kick from Kyle. It's answered by Arlovski. Kyle thumps two body shots as Arlovski's coming in with wider punches. Arlovski rushes again with lefts and rights but Kyle stays tight and slips in a retreating jab. Kyle continues to keep leather on Arlovski's chin 'til the bell. 10-9 Kyle, causing the entire conformist MMA world to melt in anguish by rendering a draw. Tough shit. It was an even fight. These things happen in MMA.
- Andrei Arlovski defeats Mike Kyle by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
R1: Branch starts off with an outside low kick and shoots a takedown but Villefort backpedals and fends it off with an underhook and a cross-face. Branch lands rights to the body from the 50/50 clinch but is a tad positionally focused and the ref separates them. Lunging left hook from Villefort just misses. Branch tags him behind the ear with a spearing straight right. More leaping lefts from Villefort, who reacts as if his eye was poked but the ref doesn't step in and Branch pounces. Branch oddly ends up holding him back against the fence which gives Villefort ample time to recover.
Branch gets a little busier with Villefort on the fence and mounts legit offense in the form of knees, dirty boxing and karate chops to the thigh (it happens). Villefort nearly hits a counter-whizzer throw but Branch stabilizes and changes levels to secure a double of his own at the bell. 10-9 Branch.
R2: Villefort comes out busier with punches but slows a bit after Branch almost catches a kick and turns it into a takedown. Branch uncorks a wiry high kick that Villefort blocks with a thud. Branch explodes for a double and gets it, scooting Villefort's head back against the cage. Open guard from Villefort while Branch throws short shots with his head planted in Villefort's chest.
Villefort tries to keep his hips busy but Branch is just basing down too hard and controlling him, wisely pestering with punches in safe intervals. Villefort explodes into action to create space, angles for an armbar that Branch stifles and then smoothly chains it together with a leg lock attempt. Nice transitions from Villefort but Branch stuffs them all and stays on top. 10-9 Branch.
R3: Branch jabs and meets Villefort's level to thwart a half-hearted takedown attempt. Villefort turns up the heat with strikes but his leaping knee is caught and converted into a Branch takedown, who drags him right back to the fence to limit his movement. Bold but potentially fatal choice by Villefort there. Villefort initiates another scramble and Branch ends up on his back with both hooks in.
They hand-fight for a second and then Branch positions himself for a pass to full mount as Villefort endeavors to spin out. They hang in the balance and Branch settles for a high half guard as Villefort slips him out of back control. Villefort leans over for a loose kimura and is able to recompose full guard when Branch defends. 10-9 Branch for a clean sweep on my card.
R1: Gracie starts with a front kick and Mehmen responds with a stiff shot downstairs. Gracie wheels out a nice outside low kick that cracks home. Double straight rights from Mehmen to back Gracie up, then keying off a busy jab with right crosses. Gracie jabs to establish his distance and unlatches another low kick. Mehmen pressuring forward with some heavy one-two's and lead left hooks, but Gracie starts to mount a methodical range attack with long jabs and back pivots. Mehmen's a tad predictable with his medleys but he stays on the trigger and throws hard. Gracie's jab is landing more often and disrupting Mehmen's repeat combos, but his hand position is dangerously low while retreating. Gracie closes the frame with a solid roundhouse kick to the body. 10-9 Gracie.
R2: I gave Gracie the first but thought Mehmen did much better than the commentary team would have you believe. Mehmen continues to shuffle left and throw lefts to center up his right cross but still can't find a rhythm. Weird, hopping triple jab from Mehmen, who raises his arms in frustration as Gracie retreats out of range. Mehmen gets in the pocket and sits down on a combo but can't land the money shot he keeps looking for. Until now. It's a meatball of an overhand right that's perfectly timed and aimed, and Gracie turns 180-degrees and wobbles away like he's bolting for a pack of smokes before collapsing.
- Derrick Mehmen defeats Rolles Gracie by KO (overhand right), Round 2
R1: Gracie shrinks the gap and forces a clinch, backing Costa against the fence. They both battle for underhooks from the over-under clinch until Gracie either pulls guard or doesn't fend off a trip from Costa. Costa wisely waves the BJJ black belt back to his feet and they restart. Costa comes forward with punches and drives Gracie to the fence, then separates after a brief stalemate and cracks home a left hook.
They're back on the fence and Gracie counters Costa's pressure and body shots with the Thai plum, then ducks a mean left elbow and transitions to a takedown with slick timing, landing in half guard. And it's just like the old-school days: Costa bucks him off but Gracie flows into an armbar with deadly grace.
- Neiman Gracie defeats Darren Costa by submission (armbar), Round 1
Elvis Mutapcic vs. Jesse Taylor -- Middleweight Tournament bout
An interesting and disappointing update: the broadcast informs us that
R1: Lowe is responsible for the first meaningful outburst with a hard right-left. Karakhanyan digs an outside low kick. Lowe unloads his hands again betwixt more sharp low kicks from Karakhanyan, who's also looking for a high kick that Lowe keeps blocking. Lowe still relying on alternating heavy right-left hooks in the pocket in lieu of takedown attempts, but his combos are quick and stiff.
Lowe shoots with a minute and a half left but gets a little careless with his head position, and Karakhanyan falls to his back with a tight guillotine cinched. The tap comes shortly after.
- Georgi Karakhanyan defeats Waylon Lowe by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1