WSOF 8: Patishnock Hopes to Have “Fun” in Title Fight With Gaethje, VP And Matchmaker Abdelaziz Expects “Bloodbath”
By Kelsey Mowatt
A few weeks ago, Rich Patishnock was scheduled to fight Luis Palomino at WSOF 8, and while fighting the established vet was a key opportunity, it doesn’t rival what’s next for the 6-1 fighter now. After “JZ” Cavalcante and Lewis Gonzalez had to pull out of a January 18th bout with Justin Gaethje, Patishnock was tapped to fight the undefeated fighter for the inaugural, WSOF lightweight title. While it’s an intriguing match-up, chances are it’s not a fight many observers saw coming as 2013 came to a close.
“I want to thank WSOF for the opportunity…,” the 26 year-old Patishnock said on a recent media call. “My thoughts going into this fight are to stay calm and have fun, give fans hopefully a great show, and live up to my potential at a new weight class.”
Although Gaethje has been capturing headlines since his WSOF arrival, and is widely considered to be one of the sport’s fastest rising 155’ers, Patishnock has also impressed. The former welterweight is coming off wins over Igor and Gregor Gracie under the WSOF banner, after losing for the first and only time in 2012.
“Rich was a guy that we brought in and he fought at 170 pounds, Igor Gracie, and we didn’t know how good Rich was,” WSOF Executive Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz relayed on the call, when asked why the promotion decided to go with Patishnock for the title fight. “He held his ground with Igor, and it was a freak injury, but after that he fought Gregor Gracie, who’s a 170 pounder, and personally I know how tough Gregor is; he’s big, strong, and he took the fight and he beat Gregor. It was a great fight.”
In addition to Patishnock’s WSOF record, however, Abdelaziz cited the fighter’s aggressive style as another reason why he’s been awarded a title shot.
“The kid has nothing but heart and he’s 2-0 in the World Series of Fighting,” Abdelaziz added. “Justin Gaethje’s 3-0, and the fight stylistically, the winner is the fan. Both guys come forward; they throw big punches, they throw bombs. Justin Gaethje is a guy, he doesn’t really care if he gets punched or gets kicked…he’s coming to finish you.”
“I can see this fight really, five rounds of a brutal, blood bath, and the fans are going to be the winners for this one.”
Since the new match-up didn’t get booked until recently, neither Patishnock or Gaethje will have much time to tailor their camps or strategy for the other.
“I felt great. I was happy I was given the opportunity and I was getting ready for a fight anyways,” said Patishnock, while discussing the short-notice side of the bout. “I didn’t really feel much pressure, taking it on such short notice…you don’t fight for a certain person, you have to concentrate on what you’re good at and how you move.”
“You come up with a game plan but it doesn’t stick, it really doesn’t stick during a fight,” Patishnock added. “You just have to concentrate on what you’re good at, so win, lose or draw, I’m glad I got the opportunity and I’m going to give it my best.”
WSOF 8 will be hosted by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and the main card will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network.