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Fantasy AnalysisKruchten will wind up going a full year without fighting -- and nearly three years without two bouts -- after defeating Jeremy Mahon by unanimous decision last December in the World Series of Fighting promotion. Although he hasn't been the most active fighter, Kruchten enters having won 12 of his past 13 bouts, dating back to June of 2007. On the other hand, Pico is just beginning his career, as this marks the third fight for the 21-year-old since joining the promotion in 2017. He lost his first fight in 24 seconds to Zach Freeman, but defeated Justin Linn with a first-round knockout during his most recent bout in September.
Fantasy AnalysisAlencar was looking for his second consecutive upset after knocking off UFC veteran Jared Rosholt in his stateside debut last year. However, Ivanov proved to be up for the challenge. Alencar appeared like he was going to put a scare in the former champion in the opening frame. Instead, Ivanov turned it up and landed the better shots in Round 2 and 3. Alencar clearly faded down the stretch, but he is a talented fighter in a notoriously shallow division. On the other hand, the Brazilian is already 38 years old even though he made his MMA debut only six years ago.
Fantasy AnalysisIvanov came into this fight with an edge in high-level experience. After a close first round, that edge seemed to play a large factor. Ivanov began to pick his spots and score with spurts of punches while Alencar circled away. In the final round, Ivanov took advantage of a visibly exhausted Alencar and continued to press forward with punches. The former WSOF heavyweight champion is clearly one of the better heavyweights fighting outside of Bellator and UFC. This victory improved his professional record to 16-1, 1NC.
Fantasy AnalysisIn order to pull the upset in this fight, Siler needed to stop Palmer's takedowns and make an impact on the feet. This turned out to be a tough task for Siler. Palmer scored with takedowns almost at will. Siler was able to defend well on the ground, but he struggled to get back to his feet and strike. His best moments came via the rubber guard. While Palmer defended well, Siler was able to threaten with gogoplatas and omoplatas from his back. Unfortunately it was not enough to sway the fight in his favor. Siler is now three years removed from his last fight in the UFC, and he will likely struggle to earn another shot.
Fantasy AnalysisPalmer looked solid in his first fight since losing the WSOF featherweight title against Andre Harrison last March. The former All-American wrestler spent most of the fight working from the top position. He landed some solid shots from the top and defended a variety of submission attempts from Siler. Palmer's best chance to finish the fight came in the opening frame, when he dropped Siler with a left hook. Referee Mario Yamasaki seemed interested in stopping the fight, but Siler alertly yelled that he was okay and remained in the fight. At this level Palmer should be able to rack up victories on the basis of his wrestling alone. With the win, he improved his professional record to 12-3.
Fantasy AnalysisGallemore came into this fight as a slight favorite over the veteran Kyle. However, he failed to even get going in the fight. Kyle landed an uppercut inside the first minute, and it was the beginning of the end for Gallemore. Kyle continued to pour it on with knees against the cage until the referee called for a stop. Gallemore had won three straight fights since dropping a fight in Bellator in 2015. This loss is certainly a step back, but there are fights he can win at this level. He falls to 7-4 as a professional.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight was over quick. Kyle clearly came into this matchup looking to land the uppercut. Early in the fight, Gallemore changed levels and Kyle was ready to catch him with an uppercut. It was immediately obvious that the punch had an impact on Gallemore. Kyle sensed that the finish was near, and he unleashed a series of knees along the cage. At the 61 second mark, referee Mario Yamasaki had seen enough and stopped the fight. Despite the victory, it is hard to see where Kyle goes from here. The 37-year-old is still only 2-3 in his last five fights, and his history of rule violations might keep him out of bigger promotions.
Fantasy AnalysisPrior to last year, Silva had spent almost his entire career in his native Brazil. In his U.S. debut, he challenged Marlon Moraes for the WSOF bantamweight title and lost via injury stoppage. This was his first fight back following the injury. He was able to land some strikes on Valiev, but unfortunately for him, he had zero answers for the Russian's wrestling game. In the third round, Silva got desperate and tried to stand. Valiev used that opportunity to lock in the fight-ending submission. Silva falls to 25-6 as a professional.
Fantasy AnalysisIn the opening bout of the night, Valiev picked up a third-round submission victory via rear-naked choke. Silva had some moments on the feet, but Valiev spent most of the fight on top and working to pass. In the last round, Silva tried to scramble back to his feet. In the transition, Valiev locked on a body triangle and secured the choke. The Russian fighter signed with World Series of Fighting in 2014. He won his first four bouts in the promotion before dropping a split decision against Chris Gutierrez last year. Since the loss, he picked up a victory in a rematch with Gutierrez and this submission. His professional record now stands at 12-2.
Fantasy AnalysisFitch kept his winning streak alive at the promotion's inaugural event, picking up his fourth straight win with the company formerly known as the World Series of Fighting. The biggest knock on Fitch is that although he owns a 30-7-1 (1 NC) record, he rarely finishes his fights. That wasn't the case Friday, however, as he was able to survive many early charges from Foster, several of which had his legs wobbled. Foster would often go for a submission after hurting Fitch, and that ultimately proved to be his downfall, as Fitch was able to reverse position and secure the fight-ending choke from the side. It was probably closer to a Bulldog choke than a true rear-naked choke, but the move was effective nonetheless. Fitch himself referred to the move as a "ninja choke." Other fighters to pick up victories at the inaugural event include Herman Terrado (split decision), Jason High (unanimous decision) and Ronny Markes (unanimous decision).
Fantasy AnalysisHarrison comes from a judo background, having won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. As women's MMA pioneer Ronda Rousey once displayed, one can have a lot of success in the cage as a decorated judoka that mixes in effective grappling. Harrison will eventually have to hone her striking as well if she has aspirations of making it to the UFC, but starting in a lesser-known promotion is a good way to rack up the experience necessary for long-term success. The soon-to-be 27-year-old is expected to compete in the featherweight (145-pound) division.
Fantasy AnalysisShields ands Fitch were originally scheduled to throw down back in April, but a contract dispute between Shields and the promotion ultimately pushed back the bout. Now with a new deal, Shields will look to earn a belt in his fourth fight with the WSOF. He last fought professionally in August of 2015, suffering a controversial split-decision loss to Rousimar Palhares, who was suspended after the fight for holding his winning submission too long (aka "cranking"). Shields was more concerned about multiple eye pokes after that fight, and his response earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct suspension of his own. With all that in the past, Shields will now look to earn a belt against another former UFC product that matches up equally in terms of age, experience and measurements. It's an excellent matchup, though it will likely be overshadowed by UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, which is set to air on the same night.
Fantasy AnalysisFitch is a former UFC product that has gone 4-2 since moving to WSOF in June of 2013. He'll face another fighter who used to grace the UFC roster in Shields, a welterweight that stacks up similarly in age, measurements and experience. The two were supposed to throw down back in April, but a contract dispute between Shields and the promotion pushed the bout back. It's a quality fight, but will likely be overshadowed by UFC 205 at the Madison Square Garden, which is set to take place on the same evening.
Fantasy AnalysisNijem's last fight was with UFC in July 2015, when he lost to Andrew Holbrook by decision. He's fought for the UFC since 2011, and racked up a 9-6 professional career.
Fantasy AnalysisRosholt was released by the UFC in March, despite holding a 6-2 record in the octagon. He was regarded as a boring heavyweight fighter, which could be why he was released. He is uncharacteristic as a heavyweight, most often winning fights by decision. He does not yet have a fight scheduled with his new promotion.