Two of the best lightweight grapplers outside the UFC will duke it out this Friday night (June 14, 2013) as Jacob Volkmann takes on Lyle Beerbohm on the World Series of Fighting 3 main card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both men are returning to the televised stage after ending their Zuffa careers and are hoping to make a big impact on NBC Sports.
Record: 15-4 overall, 0-0 in WSOF
How he got here: Volkmann got off to a promising start in his MMA career, winning his first nine fights and earning an invite to Ultimate Fighting Championship. Despite losing his first two bouts at welterweight to Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann, he was given a third chance and he made the best of it, dropping down to 155 pounds and making an immediate impact.
The chiropractor would win his first five fights at lightweight, including impressive victories over the likes of Efrain Escudero, Danny Castillo, Antonio McKee and more, all utilizing his wrestling, top control and occasional submission attempts to stifle his opponents.
That backfired against Paul Sass, who caught Volkmann in his patented triangle choke, but Volkmann bounced back against Shane Roller with his first UFC stoppage victory. He would go on to lose a tough one to Bobby Greene, just 30 seconds left in the third round and would be released from the promotion.
It didn't take long for World Series of Fighting to scoop him up, however, and he's now slated to face fellow grappler Beerbohm in his promotional debut.
How he gets it done: It's no surprise what Volkmann wants to do. He's terrific at utilizing his wrestling, timing takedowns wisely and dumping his opponents on his back. Once there, Volkmann has a very smothering style of top control that usually completely stifles his opposition and forces them to play defense rather than attack.
If he can keep Beerbohm on his back foot, he'll be in terrific shape. "Dr. Feelgood" is all about neutralization and if he can wear Beerbohm down, he can potentially secure a submission in the later stages of the fight.
Record: 22-2 overall, 0-0 in WSOF
How he got here: "Fancy Pants" was riding the momentum of a sixteen fight win streak until Pat Healy put a detour on his fast-track to a title shot back in 2011. Beerbohm was an accomplished high school wrestler who's career was side-tracked with a crippling addiction to Methamphetamine. The Washington native turned to mixed martial arts and credits the sport with saving his life. He has a knack for getting creative in the cage with unique submissions, sweeps, and reversals.
Beerbohm jumped at the opportunity to compete against a high profile opponent like Shinya Aoki in what was the biggest fight of his career on the national stage. He put up a valiant effort, but was completely overwhelmed by Aoki, losing via face crank submission.
Since then, "Fancy Pants" has been on a roll, crushing six straight opponents and scoring multiple stoppages along the way. He was picked up by World Series of Fighting and given another opportunity to shine on television, this time against UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann.
How he gets it done: Wrestling may have brought Beerbohm to this point, but it will likely be his striking that wins him this fight. "Fancy Pants" holds seven career knockouts and his opponent has been prone to having his switch flipped in the past, granted against bigger opposition.
Look for Beerbohm to either work in the pocket with his improving stand-up skills or, more likely, push Volkmann into the fence and try to work him over with his dirty boxing. Beerbohm thrives in the clinch, pressing opponents into the fence and really grinding them out in an exhausting wall-and-stall-esque attack, except much more damaging.
If the fight does go to the ground, Beerbohm needs to try to wear Volkmann out with everything he's got. Volkmann got in trouble in his last fight after fading against Bobby Greene. If Beerbohm can tire him out, he can take over late as well.
Who will come out on top at World Series of Fighting 3? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!