World Series of Fighting (www.WSOF.com) officially announced today the highly-anticipated welterweight (170 pounds) title fight between reigning world champion Jon Fitch (28-7-1, 1 NC) and number one contender and fellow decorated superstar Jake Shields (31-8-1) for Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., live on NBCSN at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
“This is a fight between two of the sport’s most seasoned and accomplished competitors, and a matchup that has been building for quite some time, so we are excited to see it finally come to fruition in the decagon cage, and to crown the better man that night, our world welterweight champion,” said World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo.
In addition to the main event, World Series of Fighting announced a featured heavyweight attraction pitting Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland (13-4) against former champion Smealinho “The Prince” Rama (9-2), as well as the promotional debut of battle-tested Paul Bradley (23-6), who will take on former top 10 world-ranked Yushin “Thunder” Okami (32-10) in a welterweight affair.
Additional matchups for “WSOF34: Fitch vs. Shields” will be announced soon.
Jon Fitch vs. Jake Shields
The 6-foot, 38-year-old Fitch of Las Vegas, Nev. via Fort Wayne, Ind. will put his title on the line for the second time since seizing the vacant belt on October 17, 2015, when he earned a unanimous decision over Yushin Okami.
Fitch, who has faced and defeated some of the best rival welterweight fighters of his era to cement his legacy in the sport, risked his World Series of Fighting title for the first time on April 2, defeating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Joao Zeferino by way of unanimous decision.
Fighting out of San Francisco, Calif., the 6-foot, 37-year-old Shields will seek his fourth major world championship. The Cesar Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt held both the Shooto and EliteXC welterweight straps as well as the Strikeforce middleweight crown.
Like Fitch, Shields has provided fight fans with a host of memories, including his unforgettable, upset unanimous decision defeat of future Hall of Famer Dan Henderson on April 17, 2010. Shields also boasts a split decision win over reigning UFC champion Tyron Woodley as well as a split decision victory over UFC superstar Demian Maia.
Josh Copeland vs. Smealinho Rama
The 6-foot-1, 33-year-old Copeland is coming off what was perhaps the grittiest performance of his four-year professional career in his bid for the World Series of Fighting heavyweight title against reigning champion Blagoy Ivanov. Copeland stood toe-to-toe and held his own against the Sambo champion, but was left on the losing end of a unanimous decision after five competitive rounds of action.
Copeland, who has notched 7 of his 12 professional victories by way of (T)KO or submission, earned his place in the world title fight by taking a unanimous decision from Mike “300” Hayes at WSOF29 on March 12.
The 6-foot-1, 24-year-old Rama of Calgary, Alberta, Canada made history on October 11, 2014, becoming the first-ever World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion by scoring a devastating, 51-second TKO (punches) on Derrick “Caveman” Mehman at WSOF14.
Rama, who also holds a unanimous decision win over Steve Mocco in the World Series of Fighting decagon cage, surrendered the heavyweight title after being submitted (guillotine choke) by Ivanov in the third round (1:17) of their bout on June 5, 2015.
Paul Bradley vs. Yushin Okami
One of World Series of Fighting’s recent, high-profile acquisitions, the 5-foot-9, 33-year-old Bradley of San Diego, Calif. signed with the league after decimating previously unbeaten Chris Honeycutt by way of TKO (punches) in just 40 seconds in the Bellator MMA cage on January 29, 2016.
A former, two-time All-American wrestling star for NCAA Division I University of Iowa, Bradley placed as high as fourth in the national championships before turning to MMA in 2006 where he has since faced off with elite competition in the UFC and Strikeforce.
Similar to his opponent, the 6-foot-2, 35-year-old Okami of Kanagawa, Japan has scrapped with top-level, world ranked competition to earn his place in the decagon cage.
Since the loss to Fitch, Okami, a veteran of the UFC as well as PRIDE, has since reeled off two consecutive victories in his home country – a second round (4:23) TKO (corner stoppage) of Ryuta Sakurai in Tokyo on February 27, and a first round (2:06) submission (rear-naked choke) of Shingo Suzuki on July 24.