Two talented young welterweights eager to make their mark will battle for supremacy on Friday night (June 14, 2013) as Tyson Steele takes on Steve Carl in the co-main event of World Series of Fighting 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both 170-pounders made a good first impression, winning their WSOF debuts, and now they nearly have the spotlight.
Record: 10-1 overall, 1-0 in WSOF
Key Wins: Gregor Gracie (WSOF 1)
Key Losses: Curtice DeMarce (MFC 26)
How he got here: Tyson Steele is still relatively new to the game, beginning his mixed martial arts career in 2008 and sticking with the local Canadian circuit as he moved up the ranks. He was given a shot in Canada's MMA promotion MFC for his seventh professional fight, but came up short against veteran Curtice DeMarce.
He would win his next three bouts convincingly and earned another shot at the big time as he was scooped up by World Series of Fighting to compete on the promotion's debut show against Gregor Grecie. Despite getting in trouble early against the talented grappler, Steele would turn the tables on Gracie, blasting the Brazilian with heavy elbows and punches, eventually finishing him with strikes at the end of the first round.
The victory put him in position to be in title contention and he's getting the opportunity of a lifetime this Friday night.
How he gets it done:Steele is all about pure aggression, sometimes to the point where that's more important than being super technical. He was in a bad spot against Gracie in his last fight but he gutted through it, found some breathing room and then just started blasting his opponent with punches and elbows until he couldn't take it anymore.
That won't be as easy to do against Carl, who can take a shot and has very good wrestling, but the mindset could come in handy. Steele is capable of forcing some fun scrambles on the canvas and won't shy away from submission attempts.
On the feet, look for Steele to press forward aggressively with punches, kicks and elbows if the fight gets up close and personal in the clinch. If at all possible, he'd love to take this fight to the ground where he can put a hurting on Carl with strikes from above, potentially softening him up enough to open up an opportunity to score a submission.
Record: 19-3 overall, 1-0 in WSOF
How he got here: Carl got off to an early start, competing in the Army combatives during his military service career. The Iowa native began his professional career in 2005 and made a big splash, winning 12 of his first 13 fights to earn an invite to the second Bellator welterweight tournament.
After a hard-fought decision over Brett Cooper, Carl would suffer a submission loss to Dan Hornbuckle in the semifinals to be eliminated. He earned another tournament bid by submitting Tyler Stinson, but a horrific thumb injury kept him out of action for over a year.
His return bout was a quarterfinal match-up against Douglas Lima and despite dropping "The Phenom" with his opening punch, he wasn't able to follow up and was beaten via decision, ending his run with the promotion.
Since then, Carl has found success with his ground game, racking up five straight submission victories including his World Series of Fighting debut last November. The performance put him in a position to contend for the title and a victory over Tyson Steele this Friday will cement. it.
How he gets it done: Carl is at his best when he shows no respect for his opponents' skill and just tries to bulldoze them with pure overwhelming power. He's been able to steamroll everyone in his path in his last five fights, scoring five first round submissions in a row.
He's got to bring that mentality into the cage against Tyson Steele, that he can go in there, impose his will, overwhelm Steele's defenses and finish him, whether it's via TKO or submission. Takedowns will be key, and Carl is a powerful wrestler with a solid ability to dictate where the fight takes place.
If he can shoot in and dump Steele on his back, force the Canadian to play defense, he'll be well on his way.
Who will come out on top at World Series of Fighting 3? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!