WSOF 11 marks the debut of the World Series of Fighting on network television, NBC. This also marks the first time a mixed martial arts event has aired on the national network, NBC. The 4-fight main card airing on Saturday afternoon from the Ocean Center in Daytona, Florida features a headlining WSOF lightweight title fight between champion, Justin Gaethje (11-0) and challenger Nick Newell (11-0).
Justin Gaethje making the first defense of his title, after capturing the inaugural title at WSOF 8 with a TKO win over Richard Patishnock. Gaethje has gone a successful 4-0 inside WSOF–all wins coming by KO or TKO. While Nick Newell is 2-0 inside WSOF, submitting both his opponents in the first round via guillotine choke.
Justin Gaethje knocks out Nick Newell to defend lightweight title
Nick Newell came out looking to trade with the striker, Justin Gaethje and more than held his own for the first few minutes. Newell landed combinations with kicks and punches, even a flying knee at one point. But Gaethje’s superior striking would take over later in the round, landing a couple knees after a stuffing a Newell takedown attempt. Gaethje began landing heavy punches in boxing range, a few of them really taking their toll on Newell. An elbow opened up a cut over the left eye of Newell, but he would survive the round.
Justin Gaethje finished what he started in round 2, powerful left and right hooks, while Newell failed to land a single takedown in the round, and Gaethje made him pay for it. The ref paused the fight in the 2nd to check on the cut on Newell, which was now starting to pour into his left eye, but the doctors allowed it to continue. Upon resumption, Justin Gaethje landed a haymaker right hook and knocked out Nick Newell to successfully defend his lightweight title.
Justin Gaethje scored his 7th straight TKO, remains undefeated at 12-0. But take nothing away from Nick Newell, who showed incredible toughness and heart remaining in the fight and continuing to push forward while absorbing the shots from the champion.
“You know what I’ve been asking for one thing and that’s a war, and that’s what Nick just gave me, So I appreciate that and thank you,” Gaethje said post fight.
“Every time I talk about this fight, this guy’s got heart and more confidence than anybody I’ve fought,” Gaethje complimenting Newell.
Jon Fitch wins a dominant decision over Dennis Hallman
Jon Fitch’s 3rd WSOF appearance was a roller coaster ride just to find an opponent. Fitch (25-6) was originally slated to face the current welterweight champion, Rousimar Palhares, but had him and two other scheduled opponents—Jake Shields and Josh Burkman—pull out of their respective bouts against Fitch. Finally, the 4th time was the charm as WSOF found 70-fight veteran, Dennis Hallman (53-14-2) to step in and face Fitch in the middleweight class.
Taking several leg kicks from Hallman right off the bat, Jon Fitch took the fight to the ground, landing a double leg. From there, Fitch would control things grinding out the round on top in Hallman’s active guard, despite Hallman’s attempts at a leg lock. Fitch gets the fight to the ground within 10 seconds of the opening bell in round 2 with a slam, more work from inside the guard of Hallman, Fitch delivered ground and pound and easily won another round.
The domination from Jon Fitch on the mat extended to the third, where he continued to pound away on Hallman in top position for the entirety of the round. A classic Jon Fitch performance, winning all three rounds on the judges’ scorecards, improving to 2-1 inside WSOF.
Cody Bollinger Improves to 2-0 in WSOF with early a submission
Featherweight Cody Bollinger (15-2) makes his 2nd appearance after a successful debut–defeating Tyson Nam at WSOF 8. His opponent, Pablo Alfonso (9-5) was also successful in his WSOF debut, defeating Miguel Torres and comes into this bout on a 3-fight win streak.
A quick and highly entertaining ground battle didn’t last long as Cody Bollinger took the fight to the mat with a hip toss in the clinch early in the fight. This initiated a mad ground scramble, seeing Bollinger get side control, and Pablo Alfonso scrambling to get back to guard and attempt a triangle choke, where Bollinger picked him up and slammed him back onto the mat. Alfonso and Bollinger exchanged unsuccessful guillotine choke attempts from there, leading to Bollinger taking Alfonso’s back with a body triangle and quickly sinking in the rear naked choke to improve to 2-0 inside WSOF.
After missing weight and coming in more than 2 lbs over the bantamweight limit, Cody Bollinger said he was done with the 135lb division.
“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 and fight there,” Bollinger said.
Melvin Guillard TKOs JZ in WSOF Debut
Kicking off the main card on NBC, veteran UFC lightweight, Melvin Guillard (31-13-2) makes his WSOF debut against Gesias Cavalcante (18-7-1), but may not have had the best first impression, missing weight by 3 lbs for the bout. Guillard quickly found a home, signing with WSOF following his release from the UFC—where he spent 9 years of his career—in March. “JZ” returns from an 11-month layoff to face his former Blackzillians’ teammate.
Both lightweights came out to put on a show, the opening round saw both stand and trade on the feet. It was clear Melvin Guillard was getting the better of Cavalcante, throwing and landing heavy strikes first, with little answer from the Brazilian.
Cavalcante looked to switch things up in the 2nd by taking the fight to the mat, but Guillard quickly got back to his feet. A left hand from Melvin momentarily staggered ‘JZ’ on the feet, and that was all ‘The Young Assassin’ needed, sensing the finish, he unleashed a flurry of punches and knees on Cavalcante against the fence, leading to the referee stoppage in round 2. Cavalcante protested the stoppage, but nonetheless Guillard successfully wins his debut in WSOF.
Full WSOF 11 Results:
Main Card (4 PM EST, NBC)
- Lightweight title: Justin Gaethje def. Nick Newell via TKO (strikes)–Round 2, 3:09
- Jon Fitch def. Dennis Hallman via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Cody Bollinger def. Pablo Alfonso via Submission (rear-naked choke)–Round 1, 2:37
- Melvin Guillard def. Gesias Cavalcante via TKO (strikes)–Round 2, 2:36
Preliminary Card (2 PM EST, WSOF.com)
- Jake Heun def. Kendrick Miree via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- 175 lb catchweight: Neiman Gracie def. Dustin Holyko via Submission (rear-naked choke)–Round 2, 2:21
- 175 lb catchweight: Jose Caceres def. Walber Brito de Barros via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Muhammaed DeReese def. Rashaun Spencer via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)