WSOF 8 conference call highlights

Sefo and Jordan

World Series of Fighting hosted a media conference call on Thursday with “World Series of Fighting 8: Gaethje vs. Patishnock” headliners Justin Gaethje (10-0) and Rich Patishnock (6-1), as well as main-card competitors Anthony Johnson (15-4), Mike Kyle (20-10-1), Jessica Aguilar (16-4) and Alida Gray (4-0). Joining the fighters on the call was WSOF President Ray Sefo and WSOF Executive Vice President Ali Abdelaziz.

World Series of Fighting 8 will take place Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Tickets for “World Series of Fighting 8: Gaethje vs. Patishnock,” start at just $29, and are on sale at Ticketmaster.com. The bout tops a five-fight card that airs live on NBCSN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. A five-fight undercard will stream live at www.WSOF.com.

The following are highlights from the conference call:

RAY SEFO:

“Obviously 2013 was a great year for World Series of Fighting and we are looking forward to kicking off the year with two world title fights and our first female fight. I couldn’t be any happier than where we are.

“As far as the challenge out there offered to Bellator, I haven’t heard one negative comment about it. Twitter and Facebook are blowing up all day since that challenge was offered and people are saying let’s make it happen. Someone asked me about what the outcome would be and I would say 10 out of 10 in favor of World Series of Fighting.”

ALI ABDELAZIZ:

“Both Justin (Gaethje) and Rich (Patishnock) are great fighters, they come forward and throw punches; they throw bombs. Stylistically this is a great fight. I can see this fight being five rounds of just a brutal blood bath and the fans are going to be the winner for this one.

“The fans are always going to go with the fighters. If Anthony (Johnson)’s contract is over and he wants to go fight for a different promotion then we will give him a big hug and wish him luck. This is 2014. This isn’t boxing. They are different sports. Everyone should have a dream and should pursue them. When Ray, Shawn (Lampman) and I started this promotion we said: fighters first. This is why we have so many fans behind us and supporting us. We may not be the biggest, but we know that the ones who do tune into NBC Sports are truly MMA fans.

“I assure you we have a big fight coming for Nick Newell in 2014. I have probably the biggest fight of his life on the biggest stage. I’ve been planning this for almost seven months. Everything is about timing and Nick just fought. And we can’t just have all the stars on one card. We want to be able to share the stars on different cards.”

JUSTIN GAETHJE:

“I want to thank the World Series of Fighting for selecting me to be the face of their lightweight division. That’s a big thing that they are entrusting me with and I’m excited about that.

“Rich throws a lot of punches and has a great takedown defense. This is a great matchup skill-wise for both of us. It’s going to be an exciting fight and what I really try to do is give the fans an exciting fight. That’s all I can really control.”

RICH PATISHNOCK:

“I was happy I was given this opportunity and I was getting ready for a fight anyway. I didn’t feel much pressure taking this fight on such short notice. You don’t fight for a specific person. You have to fight for yourself and concentrate on what you’re good at. You come up with a game plan but it really never sticks.

Win lose or draw I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity.”

ANTHONY JOHNSON:

“It’s going to be exciting to get this fight over with. It seems like it’s been about a year. I had to pull out the first time and then Mike had to pull out the second time. But we’re finally getting it done and both of us are healthy.

“Mike is talented and has one of the best camps you can ever go to, AKA. He says he wants to push my cardio, well let’s push it.

“I definitely plan to stay active this year if I can stay injury free and not break my hand any more. But I’m going to definitely try to break my hand on Jan. 18. As far as 2013, it wasn’t a bad year for me. Even though I couldn’t fight for various reasons I was still in the gym helping my teammates. I was satisfied with 2013.

“Fighting for the title isn’t really on my mind right now. The first step is beating Mike Kyle and we’ll go from there.

“I haven’t hit my prime yet. When I do hit my prime, you’ll know.”

MIKE KYLE:

“It’s a bummer fight fans have had to wait this long for this fight to happen. We’re going to let those fans see a great show and I’m just excited to be a part of something like this.

“I really want to push the fight and push his cardio and see what kind of shape he’s really in. This would make for a great championship fight but it is what it is and I’ll wait for my time.”

JESSICA AGUILAR:

“I’m going to give everything I always give and going to leave everything inside the cage. I’m just excited and grateful.

“It’s been seven and a half years of hard training to get my first world title shot. All the hard work and those hours are finally going to pay off.

“We’re going to mix it up. I’m going to go in there and dance and have fun and show some moves out there.”

“Growing up my father was a karate black belt and we would have contests to see who could punch him the hardest in the tummy. And at the end I would always win and he would always say, ‘For being so little, you punch hard.’ I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen. If I knock her out, great. If I tap her out, great. I’m just looking for a win. However it comes I’ll take it.”

ALIDA GRAY:

“I’m very honored to have been picked for this fight. I’m going to bring a fight to Jessica. I hope everybody’s ready for this.

It hasn’t been overwhelming getting ready for this fight. I watched Jessica fight before I turned pro. I told my coach I’m ready for this fight and ready to take these caliber fights. Finally this summer we made the decision that I was going to pro. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t know my name. She’s out there and she’s well known. She’s No. 1 ranked. But come Jan. 18 people will get to know me.

“I think we’re both very well-rounded fighters. I’ve been practicing on my stand-up. My judo is going to be there naturally. I’m not going to rely on it, I’m going to depend on it.

“I think my advantage is that I’m the underdog. I’m going in there with nothing to lose.”

About “World Series of Fighting” (WSOF)

“World Series of Fighting” (WSOF) is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight promotion dedicated to delivering an incredible, action-packed entertainment experience for fight fans by producing the best possible match-ups between elite fighters from around the globe. For more information please visit WSOF.com. Follow “World Series of Fighting” on Twitter @MMAWorldSeries and “World Series of Fighting” President Ray Sefo @SugarRaySefo.

About NBC Sports Network

NBC Sports Network, part of the NBC Sports Group, is dedicated to serving passionate sports fans. Now in more than 80 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the Summer and Winter Olympics, National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France and the 34th America’s Cup, and beginning in 2013, the Premier League and Formula One. In addition, NBC Sports Network features college football, college basketball, college hockey, outdoor programming, horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup, Fight Night boxing, Ironman, the Dew Action Sports Tour and USA Sevens Rugby. The network is also home to original programs such as Costas Tonight, The Crossover, NFL Turning Point, Pro Football Talk and The Dan Patrick Show. NBC Sports Network is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.



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