The fireworks won't stop for World Series of Fighting (WSOF) on the Fourth of July weekend.
The promotion made its debut earlier today (Sat., July 5, 2014) on NBC with WSOF 11: "Gaethje vs. Newell," which took place inside Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Despite almost the entire main card coming in over weight for their bouts, the show was highly entertaining. The pacing was great, the fights were exciting (about three quarters of them), and the organization definitely delivered by having these contests air in the afternoon to not coincide with UFC 175 later on tonight.
In the main event, Justin Gaethje destroyed Nick Newell, stopping the latter in the second round to keep his lightweight belt.
"Notorious" surprised the champion in the opening seconds, stringing together combinations and was eager to keep the battle standing. Newell found Gaethje's chin often, too, and the Colorado-based combatant knew he was in for a fight. Gaethje's game plan was to wear down his foe by going to the body, and it was working. Newell tried shooting for takedowns, but they were getting stuffed. Gaethje then decided to lay the pressure on his opponent by joining Newell on the mat when the latter shot in, and nailed him with a plethora of knees and head strikes.
There was a gnarly cut over Newell's left eye at the beginning of the second round, and his strategy was to get the takedown by any means necessary. Unfortunately for him, the champion kept blasting him, and Newell was completely exhausted. Gaethje didn't look troubled at all, with the finish looming. As Newell relentlessly tried to go for the takedown, Gaethje joined him at one point, but the referee intervened to check the cut. After it took about four doctors to come in and examine Newell, the action resumed.
It wasn't long after that Gaethje decked Newell with a right hand, dropping him and forcing the referee to intervene.
Gaethje moves to 12-0 after defending the championship, while Newell suffered the first defeat of his career while showing immense heart.
But thank God the referee stopped it, because it was becoming a tad difficult to watch.
In the co-main event, Jon Fitch dominated Dennis Hallman in a one-sided affair, and it went down exactly how you'd expect it to.
All three rounds looked almost identical to each other, with Fitch's striking looking crisp and improved. He wasn't on his feet for long, though, as he used his punches to set up his takedowns. Hallman, a seasoned veteran when it comes to wrestling, didn't have an answer for the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product, and spent nearly the entire 15 minutes on his back.
Fitch landed an abundance of strikes on the mat, keeping busy with his punches and elbows, too. The win moves him to 2-1 in the promotion, which means he'll probably get a welterweight title fight as his next bout -- even though this battle was contested at middleweight.
Cody Bollinger may be absolutely untrustworthy when it comes to making weight, yet he made up for his blemishes by tapping Pablo Alfonso in the first round of their main card contest.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 cast member traded with the Brazilian to open the round, with both competitors landing until the "Cali Cowboy" scored a takedown by slamming Alfonso to the mat. After avoiding a multiple submission attempts from Alfonso, Bollinger attacked with a guillotine choke, but he was unsuccessful. After improving his positioning, he trapped his foe in a rear naked choke, obtaining the tap after a few seconds.
He moves to 2-0 in the promotion, eyeing a match up with bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes.
Opening up the action on NBC was exiled UFC veteran Melvin Guillard against Gesias Cavalcante, with the "Young Assassin" getting the stoppage victory in the second round due to strikes.
Both combatants were down to trade ferociously, and the first round proved to be an exciting one. Guillard has success with his counter strikes, clocking "JZ" with uppercuts every time the Brazilian came forward. Cavalcante had more success towards the end of the round, yet Guillard turned it up a notch with a flying knee and a flurry to close out the round.
Guillard put away the Brazilian in the second round, staggering him with a right hand and followed up when smelling blood. "JZ" was against the cage, trying to cover up while Guillard kept the punches coming. The referee stepped in while the Brazilian was still on his feet, and some may have thought it was an early stoppage.
On the flip side, if you're one who doesn't want to see a fighter risk brain damage, then it was completely fine.
Here are the full WSOF 11 quick results below:
155 lbs.: Justin Gaethje def. Nick Newell via TKO (strikes) at 3:09 of R2
170 lbs.: Jon Fitch def. Dennis Hallman via unanimous decision (30-27x3)
155 lbs.: Melvin Guillard def. Gesias Cavalcante by TKO (strikes) at 2:36 of R2
145 lbs.: Cody Bollinger def. Pablo Alfonso via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:37 of R1
175 lbs.: Jose Caceres def. Walber Brito De Barros via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27x2)
205 lbs.: Muhammed Dereese def. Rashaun Spencer via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
175 lbs.: Neiman Gracie def. Dustin Holyko via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:21 of R2
205 lbs.: Jake Heun def. Kendrick Miree via unanimous decision (29-28x3)
For full WSOF 11 play-by-play coverage, click here.