World Series of Fighting hosted a media conference call on Tuesday with “World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares” headliners Steve Carl and Rousimar Palhares, as well as main-card competitors Marlon Moraes, Josh Rettinghouse, Josh Burkman and Tyler Stinson. Joining the fighters on the call was WSOF President Ray Sefo and WSOF Executive Vice President Ali Abdelaziz.
“World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares,” takes place March 29 at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Tickets for World Series of Fighting 9, which start at just $39, are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased at The Joint box office or by phone at (800) 745-3000. The night’s featured fights air live on NBCSN at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT local time) following preliminary bouts that stream on World Series of Fighting’s official website, WSOF.com beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT local time).
The following are highlights from the conference call:
On the possibility of Nick Newell fighting for a world title:
“You know Nick has been making a lot of noise about fighting for the title and I do think he deserves a shot at fighting for that title. Ali and I have spoken about it but there is still not 100 percent confirmation on when that would happen. But without a doubt Nick Newell is definitely in line for that title shot. The kid has proven himself time and time again. He’s an amazing fighter and a huge inspiration to many. I think it’s about time we stepped up and gave him that opportunity.”
“This is best fight card we’ve ever put together and the best fight card of the year. You don’t know what’s going to happen I don’t know what’s going to happen in the main event. Next week we are going to make a big announcement that is really going to change the face of MMA. It’s going to be big news and exciting for the fans. Everyone knows the UFC is No. 1 and we are competing against ourselves every day to be No. 1. There will be separation between the UFC and us and then there will be everyone else.
“I knew Marlon (Moraes) before World Series of Fighting. I believe that Marlon is the best 135-pounder in the world. I believe he can beat anyone in any organization. I believe he has grown and is so talented. He can wrestle with ground game. He’s one of the best strikers in the sport. The sky is the limit for him. On the other hand, Josh Rettinghouse has fought an Olympic bronze medalist (Alexis Vila) and he out-wrestled him. I believe this fight is so competitive and I believe a lot of people are overlooking Josh. I believe this is going to be the best fight of the night.”
“This is an amazingly stacked card. Not even as a competitor but even as a fan I’m ready to watch this and compete. I can’t wait for next weekend. It’s going to be a blast.
“(Rousimar) is definitely a very talented fighter and deserves to keep fighting. I don’t know if giving him a title shot right away was really deserving. But at the same time all the controversy surrounding him really does put him in a perfect spot to be in a title spot because there will be so many people tuning into this fight. Whereas if he was just fighting a regular fight on this main card there wouldn’t be as big a buzz. But now that he’s back in it for a title shot the whole world is watching.”
Q: What is your plan if Palhares is immediately going to your legs in this fight?
“Quite simply if he wants it to turn it into a leg-lock war my goal is to simply keep it a fight and that’s about it. Wherever this fight goes he has the ability to go to the leg-lock from wherever. I need to stay aware to where my legs are in comparison to his body and I need to keep this to a fight instead of getting deep into a leg-lock where I’m no longer able to fight but rather just have to defend myself.”
“I am excited for this opportunity and we will make an exciting fight on Saturday night. I am so grateful to the WSOF for this opportunity.”
“I’m happy with the opportunity and that they gave Josh the chance now. It’s time to show everybody what I’ve been working on and to be the best. I can’t wait.”
Q: How is the transition been from Muay Thai to full-cage fighting?
“It was hard. I had a hard time finding myself inside the cage because it’s a different sport. But as I moved to the United States I started to train with different guys with different styles of fighting like wrestlers and Jiu Jitsu. My trainers are showing me the things I need to use in MMA fights.”
“Marlon’s a great fighter and I’m a big fan of his. I honestly didn’t expect this opportunity but of course I’m going to jump all over it. I think it will be really exciting and you’ll have to tune in.”
“I’m excited to get back in there. I didn’t have a great performance last time out. So I’ve just gone back and looked at a lot of things I was doing, including fight week. And I believe I’ve fixed a lot of those things. I think I was really comfortable going into the fight with Steve Carl. I think the biggest problem I had with my winning streak was that it made me a little complacent in where I was and what I was doing. When you lose it creates that frustration and that adversity and makes you question things to get better. And I think that’s all that fight did was make me better at my training and a little more disciplined. And I think it will make for the best performance of my career going forward and starting with this fight.”
“You saved the best for last. I’m just so excited to get back in there and ready to show Ray and Ali that I’m capable of fighting world-class fighters and Burkman is just that. He’s not on the conference call yet. I don’t if he’s just too Hollywood or if he’s just scared to talk to me, but I’m going to go out there and do what I do and knock his lights out.”
NBCSN-TELEVISED MAIN CARD
Champion Steve Carl vs. Rousimar Palhares – for welterweight title
Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Rettinghouse – for inaugural bantamweight title
Yushin Okami vs. Svetlozar Savov
Josh Burkman vs. Tyler Stinson
Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Johnny Nunez
WSOF.COM-STREAMED PRELIMINARY CARD
Mike Corey vs. Shane Kruchten
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. John Gunderson
Sean Cantor vs. Bryson Hansen
Phil Dace vs. Danny Davis
Brenson Hansen vs. Boostayre Nefarios
Jimmy Jones vs. Rudy Morales
Gil Guardado vs. Jimmy Spicuzza