Marlon Moraes successfully defended his World Series of Fighting Bantamweight championship, defeating Josh Hill by unanimous decision.
Hill, 28, was unbeaten going into this fight. The previously 10-0 Canadian was fighting in his home country of Canada at the Edmonton Expo Center, and turned out with a strikingly powerful opening round. Hill flurried the defending champion from Brazil while he wasn’t expecting it. Moraes failed to find proper flow to open the bout, but that would change soon for the man born in Nova Friburgo.
Moraes wasn’t able to grapple much, with the exception of the fifth round, and that didn’t bother the Muay Thai expert. He would soon adapt to Hill’s striking patterns, and would begin forcing him to react on his feet. Moraes had more MMA experience and that would separate the two beyond the first five minutes.
By round four, Hill was holding on. His punch output had dipped, but mostly out of frustration due to his opponent’s hustle and skill.
In round five, Moraes sealed the deal. He outstruck Hill early in the round, and would take him to the deck to finish what was a solid match with all considered.
The judges scored the fight 49-46 across the board. Presumably, giving Moraes every round but the first. He remains WSOF’s Bantamweight Champion.
In what was billed as the co-featured attraction, UFC veteran Cody McKenzie fought Edmonton’s own Andrew McInnis in a Welterweight fight.
McKenzie struggled through much of the first round.. McInnis appeared the better conditioned of the two and was often the one pushing the pace of action. McKenzie could occasionally catch the young submission artist on his feet, however, and did gain some top position on the ground late.
As McKenzie began to establish himself, McInnis, disinclined to face what was perhaps his first career adversity, used a couple of hair-pulls in a attempt to regain control. Apparently, this was the last time McKenzie would let anyone touch his ponytail. The former TUF competitor drove in bullishly with a headbutt. The action was stopped as the cheap-shot left the Canadian shaken up with :02 remaining in round one. He couldn’t continue due to an eye injury, and since the foul was ruled intentional, McInnis was awarded the winner via first round disqualification.
McKenzie excused his actions when speaking with the referee, saying “he can’t pull my hair”. The offenses were incomparable, and the decision an honest one even if the fight wasn’t.
Other WSOF 18 results saw Shane Campbell make it past Derek Boyle with a brutal final-round TKO, while Hakeem Dawodu finished Tristin Thompson in the third round of a back-and-forth affair.
The main card was viewable on NBCSN. World Series of Fighting’s next event will be held on March 28th in Phoenix, Arizona, and will also be shown by this station.