In his two wins so far in 2016, World Series of Fighting middleweight Louis Taylor been on the opposite spectrum of the odds, with one bout as him favorited and the other with him as the underdog.
First, against Cory Devela in March, many thought Taylor could win the fight easily, and while he did pick up the victory, it was tougher than people believed. In the second bout, in July versus Phil Hawes, Taylor was picked to fall to the then-undefeated prospect, only to come out on the winning end.
“Fighters who know fighters know Cory,” Taylor told MMAWeekly.com. “When we fought, it wasn’t his night at all. Dude is tough… mutual respect… it felt good to go in there and finish him in that fashion.
“To me it was clear the (Hawes) fight was meant to be one-sided. Even after the fight, a few writers still saw the fight as one-sided, and I don’t know what they were watching, but I still got my hand raised and he got his first loss.”
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Taylor’s two wins in 2016 come after spending a year and a half out of the game, waiting for an opportunity to come his way.
“When I started fighting, I got into the mindset that you fought whoever they put in front of you, whenever, you just go, injuries and all that,” said Taylor. “I soon found out that it’s become a real fragile sport as far as fighters’ egos and everybody trying to pad their records and avoid fights. With that being said, it became really hard to find fights.”
Taylor (13-3) will look to win his first major MMA championship when he challenges David Branch (19-3) in a middleweight title bout at WSOF 34 on New Year’s Eve in New York City.
“I think he’s an underrated champion and is overall really solid,” Taylor said of Branch. “He has a couple ugly losses, and people doubted him early, and lately he’s found his stride. I’ve found my stride lately as well. You’ll have two trains on the same track ready to collide.
“He knows where he wants to fight, and where he doesn’t want to fight, and does a good job of doing that – he leans towards picking you apart and just overwhelming you with cardio. I’m not interested in fighting him for five rounds, and if he thinks that’s the fight I’m bringing, he’s going to have a bad night.”
If picking up a championship to cap off his 2016 wasn’t good enough, Taylor’s eyes are set towards adding another title to his resume come 2017.
“After I beat Branch, I plan on trying for the winner of (Jon) Fitch versus (Jake) Shields (at WSOF 34), and hopefully we can set that up for February.”
(Photo Courtesy of American Predator Fighting Championship)
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