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WSOF 24: Fitch vs. Okami preview

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Michael Hutchinson previews the intriguing WSOF 24 event that features a handful of UFC veterans.

The World Series of Fighting will hosts its 24th event on Saturday night in Mashantucket, Connecticut and features a main event with two former UFC title challengers. The event does not go up against any UFC event that night, unlike WSOF 22, which went directly against UFC 190.

The event does have competition in both the combat sports world and major sports organizations. Rising boxing star Gennady Golovkin (GGG) takes on David Lemieux on HBO PPV on the same night. The MLB will also see it's League Championship Series begin with two post-season games lined up. College football, the biggest ratings puller, has a wide assortment of games being played that night as well.

The biggest audience that WSOF will hold is the hardcore MMA fanbase, who will most likely tune in to see two former and highly skilled UFC fighters go to battle. Both Jon Fitch (26-7-1) and Yushin Okami (30-9) were cut from the UFC while still being ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. This is a fight that can easily have been held in the UFC without anyone batting an eye. The winner of this fight will likely face Jake Shields for the vacant WSOF welterweight belt.

Jon Fitch is coming off of a 1st round submission loss to Rousimar Palhares at WSOF 16. Fitch failed a pre-fight drug test and was given a 9 month suspension by the California commission. Okami is also coming back from a stoppage loss in his last fight. The former UFC Middleweight title challenger was TKO'd by current WSOF Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Champion David Branch at WSOF 15. The fight against Fitch will be Okami's debut at Welterweight.

The co-main event is a WSOF Heavyweight Championship fight between current title holder Blagoy Ivanov (12-1) and challenger Derrick Mehmen (19-6). Ivanov holds wins over Lavar Johnson and Ricco Rodriguez, with his only career loss coming in the Bellator MMA Heavyweight Finals to Alexander Volkov. Ivanov won his WSOF Heavyweight Championship by defeating Smealinho Rama with a guillotine choke in the 3rd round.

This will be Derrick Mehmen's second shot at the WSOF Heavyweight Championship. At WSOF 14, Mehmen fought Rama for the inaugural heavyweight championship, but was finished by punches 51 seconds into the fight. Mehmen's last fight was a decision win over heavyweight veteran Brett Rogers.

A Light Heavyweight fight between two former UFC fighters takes place on the main card. Vinny Magalhaes (12-7) takes on Matt Hamill (12-5). Magalhaes is coming off of back to back submission wins. His recent submission win against Jason Brilz won the Brazilian the Titan FC Light Heavyweight Championship, which he has now vacated. Matt Hamill will be making his return to the cage after retiring for a second time in 2014. His last fight was a loss in 2013 to Thiago Silva, which prompted his release from the UFC.

Other notable fighters on the card include Nick Newell, who faces Tom Marcellino in a Lightweight bout, and TUF 16 winner Colton Smith, who takes on Washington Da Silva on the preliminary card.

Here is the main card for WSOF 24 (8:30pm EST):

Jon Fitch vs. Yushin Okami (Welterweight)

(c) Blagoi Ivanov vs. Derrick Mehmen (WSOF Heavyweight Championship)

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Matt Hamill (Light Heavyweight)

Nick Newell vs. Tom Marcellino (Lightweight)

Magomed Bibulatov vs. Donavon Frelow (WSOF Flyweight Championship)