The World Series of Fighting decagon was in town at he Ocean Center in Daytona, Florida today for what was an afternoon delight of sorts. The main event pitted two undefeated lightweights, Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell, going to war for the strap Gaethje won earlier this year against Richard Patishnock. Gaethje would finish his opponent via TKO, his fourth in as many fights as a WSOF fighter.
Newell got his shot for the same reason Gaethje did. His perfect record of 11-0 earned him the spot opposite the champ and both men left it all inside of the cage on this day.
Gaethje was able to land multiple clean shots that Newell in the first round which eventually resulted in a nasty gash on the side of Newell’s head. Newell was able to land some shots of his own on Gaethje early but it didn’t take long before the champ started to land with regularity.
Newell answered the bell in second round bleeding profusely from his skull. It was more of the same in the second, Gaethje lands, Newell grabs a leg, and Gaethje asks for him to get back up and stand with him. Referee Telis Assimenios would call for the doctor to check the wound on the side of Newell’s head after Gaethje’s elbows opened it up even more. After a short stoppage both men would engage once again.
Newell continued to use his offense to score in this one but Gaethje, who looked visibly tired midway through the second, was just too much. It would be a right hand to the jaw that would spell the end for Newell. Gaethje loaded up to cement it but Assimenios would step in and the champ would politely hold back and do some celebrating. After a short lap around the cage, Gaethje would come back to embrace the visibly shaken Newell. He would then go back to the other side of the ring and shed some tears in what had to have been a deeply emotional moment.
Gaethje moves his record up to a healthy 12-0 career and is now 5-0 with 5 finishes in WSOF. Newell suffers his first defeat and moves to 11-1. The fight ended via KO at the 3:09 marker of the second round.
The majority of the co-main event between former UFC mainstays Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman was spent on the mat. Fitch took full advantage, out landing his opponent to the tune of 157-3 in the ground striking category. The scorecards would award his dominance; all three judges scored it 30-27 for the always busy Fort Wayne, Indiana born fighter.
Fitch moves to 26-6-1 career with a 2-1 record for WSOF. Hallman falls to 53-15-2 and has still never been submitted in his lengthy career.
The catchweight tilt between Cody Bollinger (who came in over at 138 lbs) and Pablo Alfonso left no doubt who the more polished fighter was. Bollinger put it on Alfonso from the word go. In just 2 minutes and 37 seconds Bollinger was able to hit a throw, score a slam, land some knees to the body and eventually find himself in perfect position for to score his fourth career RNC finish. Now if he could only work out that weight problem.
“The Cali Cowboy” moves to 16-2 career with a perfect 2-0 record for WSOF while Alfonso falls to 9-6. Alfonso is now 1-1 as a WSOF employee. His win came over the former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres.
The main card on NBC started with an exciting throwdown starring our old friends Melvin Guillard and JZ Cavalcante. This one went down at a catchweight of 157 lbs due to, surprise, Guillard missing weight.
The first round was action packed with Melvin playing the role of the aggressor looking to end the fight with his nasty combos. JZ was able to fire back but for the most part Melvin was nowhere to be found. Both gentlemen went for broke with just over a handful of seconds left on the clock and both would survive to fight another round.
Cavalcante was able to score an early takedown on Melvin in the second after being instructed to by his corner during the break. Guillard got back to his feet after a wall walk. The finishing sequence was kicked off with a right hand that had JZ visibly wobbled. Once Guillard recognized that he had his opponent on thin ice he pounced. Guillard was able to pick every single shot he threw until the referee had seen enough. Elbows, uppercuts, and knees were all in play. JZ protested the stoppage but all the referee did was save him from losing his consciousness on network television.
Guillard is now 32-13-2 after scoring the TKO finish at the 2:36 marker of the 2nd round in his WSOF debut. This should be more than enough to get him a shot against Gaethje for the lightweight title on what remains a relatively shallow roster for the young promotion. Cavalcante moves to 18-8-1 career with a 2-2 record for WSOF.
Here are the quick results for the preliminary portion of today’s card. The Gracie-Holyko bout aired after Gaethje-Newell since there was time to spare due to the quick finish of the title fight.
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Jake Heun (6-3) defeats Kendrick Miree (5-2) via UD (30-27 x 3)
• Catchweight Bout (175 lbs): Neiman Gracie (2-0) defeats Dustin Holyko (2-1) via submission (RNC) – Round 2, 2:21
• Catchweight Bout (175 lbs): Jose Caceres (8-5) defeats Walber Brito De Barros (6-6) via UD (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Muhammed De’Reese (2-0) defeats Rashuan Spencer (4-7) via UD (30-27, 29-28 x 2)