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World Series of Fighting 25 preview: Tournament time!

Check out a quick preview of WSOF 25, which features an eight-man, one-night lightweight tournament.

World Series of Fighting is attempting to do what no major organization has done in a long time - pull off an eight-man tournament in one night. Strikeforce did a four-man one at middleweight a few years ago, but an eight-man one is pretty tough to get through. Can WSOF do it? We'll find out tonight in Phoenix. The winner of the tourney gets a shot LW champ Justin Gaethje.

Here are the rules for the tourney:

No Draws
No Elbows (standing or on the ground), except in the final
Three Judges Score the Bouts
A fourth judge will be used in the event of a draw
Two five-minute rounds for quarterfinal and semifinal matches
Three five-minute rounds in finals

As usual, the main card kicks off at 11pm ET/8pm PT on NBC Sports Network. The prelims will be streamed here on Bloody Elbow, and they feature a bout you'll probably want to see. I'll include that in the preview below.

Basically, the first four fights of the tourney and the reserve bout will be on the prelims. Then the semis and final, along with the High/Payan fight, are on the main card.

Lightweight Tournament

Luis Palomino vs. Rich Patishnock

Palomino's last two fights have been against the champ. He was knocked out both times, but the fights were pretty good. Patishnock has also been knocked out by the champ, and actually hasn't fought since then. So it's been almost two years. There are a lot of variables here considering Patishnock's long layoff, but I'm guessing Palomino finishes him early.

Prediction: Luis Palomino by TKO, round 1

Brian Foster vs. Joao Zeferino

Foster stopped reserve fighter Hurley in under a minute in his WSOF LW debut. Zeferino had a forgettable two-fight run in the UFC in bouts at 185 and 170, but has been on fire since leaving the UFC with 5 first-round finishes in five fights. I'm leaning towards Foster, but Zeferino will give him a tough fight and tire him out.

Prediction: Brian Foster by split decision

Mike Ricci vs. Joe Condon

You likely know Ricci from his UFC run and Titan weight troubles. Condon is stepping into the tournament on ultra short notice. He's tough, but Ricci's better everywhere and shouldn't have much trouble here.

Prediction: Mike Ricci by unanimous decision

Islam Mamedov vs. Jorge Patino

12-1 Dagestani vs. 42-year-old. You do the math.

Prediction: Islam Mamedov by unanimous decision

The rest of the predictions are based on how the original bracket was laid out. This is MMA, so it might not play out this way after all, but it's all I have to go on right now.

Semi-Final -- Luis Palomino vs. Brian Foster

I think Foster is going to put up a good fight, but will be fatigued from the Zeferino fight. They'll slug it out in the first, but Palomino will get the better of him and stop him in the second.

Prediction: Luis Palomino by TKO, round 2

Semi-Final -- Mike Ricci vs. Islam Mamedov

I feel like this is a terrible matchup for Ricci. All the things he's good at play right into Mamedov's wheelhouse. Sorry Mikey.

Prediction: Islam Mamedov by unanimous decision

Final -- Luis Palomino vs. Islam Mamedov

While Mamedov will have fought longer at this point, it's Palomino who is going to feel it more. Mamedov is Dagestani - they fly with eagles and wrestle bears in mountainside caves for fun. Palomino's cardio is no match for that.

Prediction - Islam Mamedov by TKO, round 2

LaRue Burley vs. Ramil Mustapayev (Reserve bout)

I don't think the reserve is going to play a factor in the tourney, but Mustapayev will probably win a decision after getting rocked early.

Jason High vs. Estevan Payan

This bout deserves some attention, because it features a new lightweight that's probably better than everyone in the tournament. High's game was coming together well in the UFC before he got a ridiculous matchup in his lightweight debut - future champ Rafael dos Anjos. He was suspended after that fight for pushing a ref and dropped by the UFC. He now re-emerges here against fellow former UFC fighter Payan.

The problem here for Payan is that he's a natural featherweight and he's totally out-sized. I'm guessing High is going to style on him her and stop him with strikes early.

Prediction: Jason High by TKO, round 1

Prelims

Joseph Barajas vs. Erik Villalobos
Jimmy Scully vs. Roberto Yong