World Series of Fighting produced its 11th event on Saturday afternoon, and it aired live and free on network television.
The four-fight main card was on NBC for the first time, and the action was headlined by a lightweight title bout between Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell.
It was a successful card for the promotion and a quality primer for the upcoming night of MMA action for fans. It was a fun appetizer before UFC 175 kicked off. Let's have a quick recap of the event from Daytona.
|Melvin Guillard def. Gesias Cavalcante||TKO||2||2:36|
|Cody Bollinger def. Pablo Alfonso||Submission (rear-naked choke)||1||2:37|
|Jon Fitch def. Dennis Hallman||Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)||3||5:00|
|Justin Gaethje def. Nick Newell||KO||2||3:09|
World Series of Fighting
Melvin Guillard vs. Gesias Cavalcante
Guillard and Cavalcante used to be training partners, and both dynamic lightweights love to scrap. It was almost assured to be a fun bout, and it delivered.
Guillard was active early, and Cavalcante tried to respond. Both men landed several big strikes in the first round, but it was Guillard who had the edge. He continued that in the second frame before staggering JZ on the feet.
Guillard was measuring Cavalcante with punches and elbows when the referee stepped in. Cavalcante was still on his feet when the stoppage occurred. While Guillard was in control, it would have been nice to see the referee give Cavalcante more of a chance.
Regardless, Guillard picks up the victory and could be placed in a WSOF title tilt sooner rather than later.
Cody Bollinger vs. Pablo Alfonso
Bollinger missed weight, but he looked fantastic in the catchweight bout.
Bollinger out-grappled Alfonso. There were several nice transitions on the mat, but Bollinger was the one who got into better position time and again. He went for a guillotine, but he didn't have it. Shortly after that submission attempt, he got Alfonso's back to choke him out with the rear-naked choke.
Bollinger: "I’d love to fight Marlon (Moraes), but I’m done fighting at 135. My body just can’t take it. I’m going to go up to 145.”— Dann Stupp (@MMAjunkieDann) July 5, 2014
He will be moving up to 145 pounds for his next bout, and if he continues to perform like this, he should be able to compete against the featherweights under the WSOF banner.
Jon Fitch vs. Dennis Hallman
Fitch and Hallman had the fight you would expect.
Fitch landed 167 strikes, Hallman landed 8. Fitch's ground-and-pound was like a young Joe Riggs at times, Ricardo Arona at others. Spazzin'.— Jordan Breen (@jordanbreen) July 5, 2014
Fitch took Hallman down and controlled him. The former UFC title contender would stay active on the mat with strikes but not do too much damage. Hallman tried his same old techniques, and they were never close to catching Fitch.
It was a runaway. Fitch continues to grind out fights wherever he is fighting. There was nothing surprising about the bout.
Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell
The main event was for the WSOF lightweight championship. The champion, Gaethje, was a strong favorite heading into the bout against one of the feel-good stories in MMA, Newell.
The feel-good story would stop at WSOF 11.
Watching this fight at family reunion thing before I head home to cover UFC. People who know nothing about MMA are horrified right now— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) July 5, 2014
Gaethje had no problems handling Newell and finished by TKO in the second round.
Newell was game early on, but it was quickly evident that he was out of his depth against Gaethje. The champion was able to do what he wanted on the feet. He had the space to work. When Newell was on his back, Gaethje was on top delivering big ground-and-pound.
Newell was a bloody mess by the end of the fight, and it proved he is not a top-tier fighter. He is a good story and a tough guy, but he cannot compete against the lethal lightweights of the world. He will get brutalized each and every time.
Gaethje's performance showed that he may be one of the best lightweights who is not in the UFC. It will be interesting to see where he goes next.
That was what happened at WSOF 11, but the bigger story may be yet to come. How did the general public catching this on NBC view the main event with Newell? It may not have been the best look for WSOF or the sport at large.
I explained that Newell has been really impressive, is legit, etc. But hard to convince people who don't know better that this is "fine"— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) July 5, 2014
All these people in this Sears look horrified. Some soccer mom is demanding I change the channel. #WSOF11— McKinley Noble (@KenTheGreat1) July 5, 2014
WSOF will return to Las Vegas for their next fight card on Aug. 2.