Gaethje defends LW title, Branch takes second belt at WSOF 23
In what was basically a continuation of their first clash World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje and challenger Luis Palomino went toe-to-toe throwing for all they were worth with Gaethje emerging victorious. WSOF 23 took place September 19th at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, AZ with an undercard webstreamed at WSOF.com, a main card broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.
In their first clash in March Gaethje took three rounds to TKO Palomino with leg kicks and punches, this time the champion needed just shy of two rounds to do the same. From the opening bell both fighters traded heavy punches and knees with Gaethje getting the better of the exchanges. Round 1 Gaethje knocked Palomino down and took him down but the Peruvian came back in round 2 to pummel the body of Gaethje with knees while Gaethje relied more on his famous leg kicking assault. As the second round drew to a close Gaethje slipped through a right hook that laid Palomino out, the follow-up punches while hovering over the fallen challenger sealing the TKO. Gaethje remains undefeated at 15-0 and now three successful title defenses, Palomino drops to 23-11.
In the co-main event David Branch added the inaugural light heavyweight belt to his WSOF middleweight title with a rear-naked choke of Teddy Holder. Branch quickly took Holder down then used punches to advance position until sinking in the submission at 2:21. Branch improves to 17-3 with seven wins in a row, Holder emerges 9-2 with his eight-fight win streak broken.
Also on the main card Timur Valiev and Ben Fodor came away with wins. Valiev was not able to finish Tito Jones but he sure put on an impressive performance taking a unanimous decision. Costumed vigilante turned MMA fighter Foster had questionable defense but managed to submit Roberto Young with a rare leg scissor choke.
WSOF 23 results
- Benny Madrid def. Jeff Fletcher 1:26 R1 by rear-naked choke
- Joey Miolla def. Randy Steinke 3:55 R2 by KO
- David Nuzzo def. Andres Ponce by unanimous decision
- Matthew Frincu def. Danny Davis Jr. by split decision
- Clifford Starks def. Krasimir Mladenov by unanimous decision
- Vagab Vagabov def. Brian Grinnell 2:29 R2 by TKO
- Brian Foster def. LaRue Burley 0:32 R1 by KO
- Ben Fodor def. Roberto Yong 3:09 R1 by leg scissor choke
- Timur Valiev def. Tito Jones by unanimous decision
- LHW title: David Branch def. Teddy Holder 2:21 R1 by rear-naked choke
- LW title: Justin Gaethje def. Luis Palomino 4:30 R2 by TKO