The World Series of Fighting will go head-to-head with UFC 190 on August 1, bringing out the big guns for an event.
WSOF 22 will feature three world title fights, headlined by Rousimar Palhares defending his welterweight title against Jake Shields. The main card airs on NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m. ET from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
Along with Palhares-Shields, Marlon Moraes defends his bantamweight title against Sheymon Moraes and Magomed Bibulatov faces Donavon Frelow for the flyweight crown.
“This is, in my opinion, the most incredible lineup of fights featuring marquee talent that WSOF has put together since we launched the company in 2012,” said WSOF president Ray Sefo. “We have a collection of highly competitive matchups with top-caliber superstars that have all made some kind of mark in the sport, and it should be a spectacular night of world-class combat.”
The event will also include the return of Tyrone Spong, as he takes on Mike Kyle, while Abubakar Nurmagomedov – the brother of UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov – makes his WSOF debut.
One of the top leg lock specialists in MMA who has earned 11 of his 17 career wins using this method of submission, the 35-year-old Palhares (17-6) of Dores Do Indaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, will enter the cage looking for his third straight victory under the WSOF banner and his fourth consecutive win overall.
In his first two WSOF starts, Palhares turned in back-to-back first round submission wins – the first over Steve Carl by way of inverted heel hook to claim the promotion’s welterweight strap, and the second over Jon Fitch via knee-bar.
Like Palhares, the 36-year-old Shields (31-7-1, 1 NC) is also seeking his third WSOF win in a row after defeating his last two opponents – Ryan Ford and Brian Foster – inside of one round of action by way of submission.
During his stellar, 16-year professional career, Shields, who held world titles with the now defunct promotions Strikeforce and EliteXC, has faced and defeated a long list of rival icons, including all-time great Dan Henderson, and superstars Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley.
Since making his WSOF debut with a split-decision victory over superstar Miguel Torres on the promotion’s inaugural card, Moraes (14-4-1) has been unstoppable and earlier this year, the 27-year-old secured his ninth straight win with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Josh Hill.
The other Moraes has also been perfect since he jump-started his professional career with a unanimous decision win over Richard Medeiros. The 24-year-old, who has earned four of his seven career wins by way of (T)KO, made both his U.S. and promotional debut for WSOF, earning a split decision over Gabriel Solorio.
Bibulatov (9-0) of Grozny, Chechnya, Russia and Frelow (4-0) of Las Vegas represent two of MMA’s most heralded 125-pound prospects.
Bibulatov, whose first start for WSOF also represents his debut in the U.S., notched his ninth career win in March, scoring a first round (1:30) KO on Eduardo Felipe in Grozny. The 26-year-old’s most noteworthy achievement to date is his victory of a one-night, eight-man tournament when he defeated three consecutive opponents, including two by way of first round submission, to emerge the winner of the single-elimination affair.
Frelow is a 30-year-old member of Wanderlei Silva’s fight squad and a product of Las Vegas’ highly competitive amateur fight circuit where he amassed an overall record of 5-1 between 2011 and 2013, his only defeat being on the losing end of a split decision in May 2011. In his last appearance and WSOF debut, Frelow earned a unanimous decision over Taylor McCorriston.
After sustaining a broken leg in kickboxing competition in April 2014, Spong (2-0) will enter the cage for the first time since 2013 when he notched a unanimous decision over Angel DeAnda in WSOF action.
A three-time world kickboxing champion with over 80 career professional bouts in the sport, the 29-year-old former protégé of kickboxing legend “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost recently began pursuing a third combat sports career in professional boxing, as well, where he is a perfect 2-0 (1 KO), to date.
Kyle (21-12-1, 2 NC) is a battle-tested, heavy-handed finisher and member of Team AKA who has competed all over the world for numerous, major MMA promotions since he began his professional career in 2001.
The 35-year-old Kyle, who has earned 17 of his 21 professional career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, is coming off of a first round (1:56) submission (guillotine choke) victory over Baga Agaev.
Abubakar (9-1) of Makhachkala, Russia will make his much-anticipated debut on U.S. soil after inking a multi-fight agreement with WSOF in March. Nurmagomedov, who trains under his father, Abdulmanap at Khabib’s gym FightSpirit Team, is coming off of a first round TKO (punches).
Below is the current lineup:
WSOF Welterweight Championship
Rousimar Palhares (c) vs. Jake Shields
WSOF Bantamweight Championship
Marlon Moraes (c) vs. Sheymon Moraes
Inaugural WSOF Flyweight Championship
Magomed Bibulatov vs. Donavon Frelow
Tyrone Spong vs. Mike Pyle
Abkbakar Nurmagomedov vs. TBA