World Series of Fighting returns to NBCSN this Friday, October 7, live at 11 p.m. ET, with the undefeated Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (16-0) defending his lightweight title against Ozzy Dugulubgov (8-2) from the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
Gaethje is the first – and only – lightweight champion in World Series of Fighting history. He’s won all nine World Series of Fighting bouts, earning eight of those wins by knockout or TKO, including a successful title defense against Nick Newell at WSOF11. Most recently, he downed Luis Palomino at WSOF19 for the second official defense of his belt, and then repeated the feat in a rematch with Palomino at WSOF23. Both fights with Palomino were considered “Fight of the Year” candidates. Gaethje earned the fourth successful defense of his title at March’s WSOF29, where he scored a TKO over Brian Foster in less than two minutes.
Dugulubgov has fought six times under the World Series of Fighting banner. He debuted with a decision win over Chris Wade (WSOF2) and a submission victory over Andrew Osborne (WSOF5) before suffering a split-decision defeat to Johnny Nunez (WSOF 9). Since fighting Nunez, Dugulubgov has scored a third-round knockout win over Keon Caldwell at WSOF13, a TKO victory over Lucas Montoya at WSOF20, and a decision win over Nic Herron-Webb at WSOF26 to earn his shot at the title.
In the co-main event, David Branch (18-3) defends his light heavyweight title against Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes (14-7). Branch is the reigning WSOF light heavyweight champion and also holds the promotion’s middleweight belt, putting him alongside MMA legend Dan Henderson as the only men to hold two titles simultaneously in a major MMA promotion.
Branch began his professional MMA career in 2007 and debuted for WSOF in the promotion’s very first event in 2012. After scoring decagon wins over Dustin Jacoby (WSOF1) and Paulo Filho (WSOF2), Branch entered into the promotion’s four-man middleweight tournament, downing Danillo Villefort (WSOF5) and then Jesse Taylor (WSOF10) to claim World Series of Fighting’s inaugural middleweight belt. Most recently, Branch defended the middleweight belt again at WSOF30 with a decision win over Clifford Starks, and now looks to defend the 205-pound title.
Magalhaes is one of the most decorated grapplers competing in MMA today, boasting multiple world titles in both gi and no-gi jiu-jitsu. He is 10-2 in his past 12 fights, including a 68-second submission win over Matt Hamill at WSOF24, and a decision win over Jake Heun at WSOF30.
Friday’s card also features two lightweight bouts, with Jason “The Kansas City Bandit” High (20-5) facing Joao “The Brazilian Samurai” Zeferino (20-8), and Brian Foster (26-9) facing Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (19-6); a welterweight fight between Abubakar Nurmagomedov (12-1) and John “Doomsday” Howard (24-12); and a heavyweight bout between Shawn “The Savage” Jordan (18-7) and Ashley “Gio” Gooch (10-4).
Play-by-play announcer Todd Harris will be joined by mixed martial artists and analysts Bas Rutten and Joey Varner to call the action.