WSOF 7: Kalib Starnes Continues to Write Compelling Comeback Story
By Kelsey Mowatt
Any longtime fan of MMA has likely heard the somewhat tired expression “you’re only as good as your last fight”, and while there’s some merit to the saying, it cannot be universally applied. Case in point is the career of Kalib Starnes, who despite the fact he’s won four straight bouts and just knocked out Dwayne Lewis in impressive fashion at WSOF 7, is more widely remembered for his controversial exit from the UFC. This, despite the fact, that Starnes’ well documented bout with Nate Quarry took place in April, 2008.
In 2013, the 38 year-old Starnes has rebounded from consecutive losses to UFC vet Patrick Cote, Joe Doerksen and John Salter, by winning four straight. In July, Starnes took on former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague, yes at heavyweight, and scored a unanimous decision win. Before signing with WSOF Canada, the Surrey resident took out Clay Davidson in the first round at a Fivestar Fight League show in August.
It’s for reasons like this, that Chief Operating Office of WSOF Canada Darren Owen recently told Full Contact Fighter Radio that Starnes (16-8) is back.
“He’s on a resurgence; he’s motivated, he’s back,” Owen said prior to Starnes’ KO win over Lewis, which came via a brutal elbow to the head. “He’s back to that hungry Kalib. He’s fighting for, whatever he’s fighting for now, he has to keep fighting for.”
“He had an amazing fight with Joe Doerksen in Winnipeg,” Owen added, while referring to Starnes’ unanimous decision loss to Doerksen at an Aggression Fighting Championship card last September. “I think he could have won that fight, it was in Doersken’s backyard, I think Doerksen won the fight but it was super close. It probably was the Canadian fight of the year.”
Starnes recent run also includes a stoppage win over David Perron, who also fought at WSOF 7 Saturday and tapped out Matt Baker in the opening round.
“His last three fights he’s fought all top, tough competition,” Owen added. “Two fights ago he fought six time UFC vet Tim Hague, at heavyweight, just because he wanted to fight…He stood with Tim the whole fight and he put a beating on Tim Hague from bell to bell….he’s putting on some extremely exciting fights.”
Now it will be interesting to see who the WSOF matches up against Starnes next, who appears to be committed to competing at 205 pounds, rather than middleweight. After his win over Lewis Saturday night, Starnes relayed to WSOF commentator Bas Rutten:
“I want to fight for the light heavyweight title,” said Starnes, who has long been respected for his BJJ Black Belt level ground game. “I’m here to fight for the light heavyweight title. Whoever has that, wherever they have it, I want to work my way up, and I want to fight for the title.”
While it remains to be seen whether Starnes can achieve that goal, it should be an intriguing ride to watch.