Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 | 11:10 p.m.
Note: Full results from the rest of the card are available at the bottom of the page.
Across the board, there was nothing but high praise for the first World Series of Fighting card.
Fighters were impressed and felt taken care of. Trainers got the same vibe.
The WSOF brought it all — sparkling production values, big names, good fights and a few highlight reels.
For all accounts, it was a smashing success.
"I couldn't ask for a better start," WSOF President Ray Sefo said. "I'm so happy and proud with the turnout. Like I said, there are a lot of great emotions. This is our first event, and, of course, we're going to get better and better and better."
Whether fans give the WSOF the same approval will be decided on future cards, but if Saturday's card is any indication, the more than 5,000 fans who showed up at the PH Live venue at Planet Hollywood have something to look forward to.
Anthony Johnson, who scored a knockout victory against D.J. Linderman in the card's co-main event, praised the company, adding they got close to everything right on the first try.
"I didn't think it would be like this," Johnson said. "Usually, people have a promotion and don't do it right at first. (The WSOF is) on the ball and doing exactly what they should be doing."
Johnson, a former UFC fighter, provided the night's biggest highlight.
After Johnson was poked in the eye, referee Herb Dean didn't give Johnson a chance to recover. Linderman rushed in and got caught by a Johnson straight right hand. Linderman fell face-first onto the canvas as Johnson threw down his mouthpiece in celebration at the 3:58 mark of the first round.
"He got careless and rushed me and left himself open," said Johnson, who has a bad history of getting poked in the eye. "Every time I get hit in the eye, it stuns me, but I work through it."
Andrei Arlovski, who has been on a few inaugural cards, also was impressive in the main event against Devin Cole.
Arlovski connected with a right hook that put Cole down, and Arlovski followed up with punches to earn the TKO stoppage at the 2:37 mark of the first round.
"Tonight, everything went well, and I'm going to enjoy my night with friends and family," the former UFC heavyweight champion said.
Consider Arlovski's trainer, Greg Jackson, one of the people impressed with how well the WSOF was run.
"Ray is a smart guy," Jackson said. "He's showing he's capable of the business world and gives a good perspective. Everyone respects him. It's an important tool (in making the WSOF a success)."
It's those types of comments that left Sefo at a temporary loss for words.
"That makes me feel good inside," Sefo said. "That's the key. The key for us is that the fighters and athletes are happy and looked after. Almost everyone has said, 'Thanks for looking out for us.' It makes me and the team feel proud."
Check below for full results from the rest of the WSOF 1 card.
Tyrone Spong made an impressive MMA debut. Spong knocked out an overmatch Travis Bartlett at the 1:43 mark of the first round. "I was proud of Tyrone. We wanted to get his feet wet in there," said Sefo, who fought Spong in K-1 in 2010. "He did his thing. Obviously, there are things to get used to, like he walked away from Bartlett after he knocked him down. He has to get used to finishing fights."
Marlon Moraes picked up the biggest win of his career by beating former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres by a split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28). With the victory, Moraes will fight Tyson Nam at the next WSOF card, which is scheduled for 2013. Torres has lost three of his last four bouts.
Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante looked at the WSOF as a chance to restart his career after going 2-6 (2 no-contest) in his last eight fights. He looked to be back in top form at WSOF, where Cavalcante latched on a heel hook, earning a submission victory over T.J. O'Brien at the 1:03 mark of the first round. It was Cavalcante's first finish since 2007.
In a battle of two former UFC veterans, Josh Burkman picked up a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) victory over Gerald Harris in an entertaining bout. It was Burkman's sixth win in seven bouts.
Steve Carl forced Ramico Blackmon to tap out at the 2:11 mark with a rear naked choke. Blackmon scored a takedown, but Carl was able to reverse the position, locking Blackmon into a crucifix position en route to securing the chock.
Ronys Torres had won 11 fights entering Saturday night's card. The streak came to an end against Brian Cobb. Cobb took a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Torres. Cobb scored a takedown late in the third round, which swayed the judges' cards in his favor.
Tyson Steele was in some early trouble against Gregor Gracie, but he remained calm and got himself back into the fight. Steele scored a TKO victory over Gracie at the 4:52 mark. Steele was on his back early on as Gracie worked for submission after submission. But once Steele escaped Gracie's clutches, he overwhelmed Gracie with strikes.
David Branch took an uneventful unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Dustin Jacoby in the night's first bout. Branch controlled the bout with his striking and scored a couple of takedowns.