Fact Check: World Series of Fighting 30

By: Brian Knapp
Mar 30, 2016

For all he has accomplished, Jon Fitch has never won a major mixed martial arts championship.

The American Kickboxing Academy standout hopes to end his longstanding title drought in the World Series of Fighting 30 co-headliner, where he will meet fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Joao Zeferino for the vacant WSOF welterweight crown on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The NBC Sports Network will carry the four-fight main card at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

Fitch has gone 3-2 since arriving in the World Series of Fighting in 2013, decision wins over Yushin Okami, Dennis Hallman and Marcelo Alfaya offset by submission losses to Rousimar Palhares and Joshua Burkman. The 38-year-old Fort Wayne, Indiana, native last competed at WSOF 24 on Oct. 17, when he captured a unanimous verdict over the aforementioned Okami. A professional for nearly 15 years, Fitch owns victories over Thiago Alves (twice), Diego Sanchez, Akihiro Gono, Ben Saunders, Mike Pierce and Erick Silva.

A former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, Zeferino has won seven of his past eight bouts. The 30-year-old last fought at WSOF 25 in November, when he succumbed to second-round punches from Brian Foster in the final of an eight-man World Series of Fighting lightweight tournament. Zeferino holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Alexandre de Souza.

With the Fitch-Zeferino clash as one of the marquee attractions, here are 10 facts surrounding World Series of Fighting 30:

FACT 1: The seven men who have defeated Fitch -- Palhares, Burkman, Demian Maia, Johny Hendricks, Georges St. Pierre, Wilson Gouveia and Mike Pyle -- own a cumulative 151-49-1 record.

FACT 2: Fitch was a three-sport athlete in football, track and wrestling at Carroll High School in Churubusco, Indiana.

FACT 3: Zeferino has delivered 15 of his 20 career victories by submission: four by heel hook, three by rear-naked choke, three by armbar, three by arm-triangle choke and one each by keylock and guillotine choke.

FACT 4: WSOF middleweight and light heavyweight champion David Branch has won 15 of his 16 fights outside of the UFC. His only setback was a unanimous decision loss to Anthony Johnson under the Titan Fighting Championship banner in 2012.

FACT 5: Arizona Combat Sports rep Clifford Starks graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Kinesiology, the study of human movement.

FACT 6: Vinny Magalhaes is a four-time medalist at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships, having struck gold in 2011.

FACT 7: American Top Team’s Jake Heun played college football before transitioning to mixed martial arts, as he recorded 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks in two seasons as a linebacker at the University of Hawaii.

FACT 8: KSW and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship alum Abu Azaitar boasts seven first-round finishes among his 11 pro victories, including stops of 12, 18 and 34 seconds.

FACT 9: Xtreme Couture export Danny Davis Jr. has gone the distance 12 times in his 22-fight career.

FACT 10: Now 11-1, Abubakar Nurmagomedov won his first eight fights in a combined 28:21.

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