On the heels of the wildly successful, sold-out WSOFNYC mega-event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the World Series of Fighting (WSOF.com) is looking to double-down on exciting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action in the Empire State when it visits the gorgeous Turning Stone Resort Casino on March 18 in Verona, New York. WSOF35 will feature a packed lineup as three titles will be on the line.
Blagoy Ivanov (14-1) won the WSOF heavyweight strap in his first bout inside the Decagon, defeating Smealinho Rama by submission. The Bulgarian would defend the title at WSOF24 by defeating Derrick Mehmen by second-round TKO. The 5-foot-11, 29-year-old Ivanov of Sofia, Bulgaria fended off a valiant and tenacious Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland for five straight, electrifying rounds of battle in the main event of WSOF31 on June 17 to retain the coveted heavyweight title.
Ivanov is a Judo black belt and was a semi-finalist at the 2008 world Sambo championships where he famously defeated all-time MMA great Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko.
The stocky, heavy-handed Ivanov went on to emerge the runner-up in the 2014 Bellator MMA season-long, heavyweight tournament. After joining the WSOF in 2013, Ivanov has enjoyed an impressive winning streak with six consecutive victories, all by way of (T)KO or submission.
Ivanov’s opponent, Shawn “Savage” Jordan (19-7), was a member of Louisiana State University’s 2003 and 2007 BCS National championship teams and is a veteran of the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. The former UFC heavyweight contender strung together an impressive 6-4 record before joining the WSOF’s ranks. Jordan is known for both his knockout power and rare athleticism for a heavyweight. The title contender is known for his back flips following victories and is the owner of one of the greatest KOs in heavyweight MMA history against Derrick Lewis. Jordan punched his ticket to a title fight with a thunderous TKO victory over Ashley Gooch in his Decagon debut at WSOF33.
TRENDING > Demian Maia Issues Statement on Waiting for UFC Title Shot
Before the heavyweights meet inside the Decagon, the WSOF featherweight title will be on the line as Lance “The Party” Palmer (11-2) looks to begin a successful second title run at the expense of rising star Andre “The Bull” Harrison (15-0). Palmer recently reclaimed the WSOF featherweight title after defeating Alexandre Almeida at WSOF32. Palmer, a Division I All-American wrestler at Ohio State University, will have a tough task as Harrison’s confidence level is high after an dominating promotional debut at WSOFNYC with the 1st round submission of Bruce Boyington. Considered one of the best up-and-coming featherweights, Harrison has combined a collegiate wrestling background with impressive striking and submission skills. Harrison represents a real threat to the champion in every area of the fight. Competing in his backyard, the New York-native will surely enjoy a hometown advantage over Palmer.
The third title fight featured on the NBCSN portion of the card will be for the recently vacated bantamweight belt. The title will be up for grabs as Timur “The Lucky” Valiev (11-2) and Bekbulat Magomedov (17-1) battle for the belt which has been held exclusively by Marlon Moraes since WSOF9. Valiev is considered one of the top prospects in MMA and will finally have the opportunity to add WSOF champion to his list of accolades. The Dagestan fighter avenged a close split-decision loss to Chris Gutierrez back at WSOF33. Prior to that, Valiev had rattled off 10 consecutive victories. Fellow Dagestani Magomedov also last competed at WSOF33. Magomedov spoiled the WSOF debut of Jesse Brock and sports an impressive professional record. Magomedov vs. Valiev represents the chance for either fighter to go from heralded prospect to world champion.
Host of this legendary three-title fight championship event, Turning Stone Resort Casino continues to distinguish itself as a premier destination for live televised combat sports. A nationally recognized venue for fight-of-the-year-level boxing events, Turning Stone was selected by boxing legend Mike Tyson as the venue for his world debut as a promoter, Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila Ali made her boxing debut at Turning Stone and in April 2015, and the resort was also selected to host “Fight of the Year” contender – Matthysse vs. Provodnivkov – over arenas in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami. Turning Stone features award-winning amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two luxurious spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000 seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues.
Follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram