Caros Fodor and Luiz Firmino are two of the many lightweights looking up at unbeaten World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje.
Fodor and Firmino will try to shake up the 155-pound pool when they collide in the WSOF 27 main event on Saturday at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. Their three-round clash will headline a four-fight main card that kicks off the World Series of Fighting’s 2016 campaign on the NBC Sports Network (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Anchored at the Matt Hume-led AMC Pankration camp, Fodor will enter his promotional debut on the strength of a two-fight winning streak. The 32-year-old Strikeforce and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran last appeared under the One Championship banner on Sept. 12, 2014, when he submitted Vincent Latoel with a second-round rear-naked choke. Fodor has secured seven of his 10 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
A former Championship Fighting Alliance titleholder, Firmino has not lost a fight in more than four years. The well-traveled Blackzilians representative has won five in a row, including a unanimous decision over Tyson Griffin at WSOF 10 in June 2014. Firmino, 33, owns other notable victories over Masakazu Imanari, Kazuyuki Miyata, Toby Imada, Luis Palomino and Jacob Volkmann.
With the Fodor-Firmino showdown as the main course, here are 10 facts surrounding World Series of Fighting 27:
FACT 1: Fodor’s last five fights have all taken place in different countries: Cambodia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and the United States.
FACT 2: Firmino was 18 years old when he participated in the World Vale Tudo Championship welterweight tournament on May 27, 2000. He fought Reginaldo Santana, Sergei Bytchkov and Eli Soares for nearly 50 minutes combined, losing a decision to Soares in the final.
FACT 3: Fodor compiled a 5-1 record in Strikeforce, a submission loss to onetime Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Pat Healy the lone misstep.
FACT 4: The five men who have defeated Firmino -- Soares, Luiz Azeredo, Tatsuya Kawajiri (twice), Francisco Trinaldo and John Alessio -- have 109 victories between them.
FACT 5: All 11 of Tennessee-based light heavyweight Teddy Holder’s pro bouts have ended inside one round, his losses to Chris Hawk and current two-division World Series of Fighting champion David Branch included.
FACT 6: Undefeated Russian prospect Shamil Gamzatov sports five submissions among his nine finishes: three by armbar, one by guillotine choke and one by triangle choke.
FACT 7: Bryce Mitchell has delivered each of his four professional wins and all five of his amateur victories by submission. Seven of them resulted in rear-naked chokes.
FACT 8: Zach Underwood has competed in 14 different organizations during his 19-fight career: Summit Fighting Championships, Bellator MMA, V3 Fights, Xtreme Fighting Championships, Prize Fight Promotions, North American Fighting Championship, SportFight X, Empire Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, H.B. Dick Promotions, Relentless MMA, Harrah’s Tunica Fights, Lethal Assault Entertainment and Cage Assault.
FACT 9: Barata MMA’s Wade Johnson was a two-time state champion the pole vault at Bradford High School, in Bradford, Arkansas -- a small town of less than 1,000 people.
FACT 10: When journeyman Jason Williams steps into the cage, a total of 1,514 days will have elapsed since his most recent victory.