The World Series of Fighting promotion brings their cage to
Sin City for the first time, in only their third event since inception. Las Vegas is, as Dana White likes to claim, “The
fight capital of the world”, and if the WSOF is rolling the dice and hoping to
cash in on the strip. Jon Fitch is the
big fish in the smaller pond, after years of being a shark in shark infested
waters. He’ll go toe to toe with Josh
Burkman Friday night, but there’s more happening than just that one fight. Let’s start at the beginning.
Lyle Beerbohm vs. Jacob Volkmann
This fight is going to be a damn good tussle between two
quality fighters. In Lyle you have a
fighter who is 21-2, with his losses coming back to back to Pat Healy and
Shinya Aoki, no shame in either of those losses. Lyle is an intense and exciting fighter,
whose fights have resulted in finishes in 20 of 24 cases. He has serviceable standup, and tremendous
Jacob Volkmann, when not threatening Obama, is a talented
Welterweight who experienced some success in the UFC. He did however tend to stumble when he faced
the upper half of the division. He has a
top notch wrestling/smother game, and will look to take Lyle down and control him
for three rounds to earn a decision victory.
While that might not make the Las Vegas crowd happy, it is a dangerous
style to compete against and Beerbohm knows that.
This fight, like most fights, can be broken down and looked at where a fighter
holds advantages over the other.
However, in a fight where a wrestler hopes to hold down a submission
stylist, one of two results is damn near certain. Either Volkmann will smother Beerbohm on his
way to a lackluster victory, or, in trying to smother, will leave an arm of
neck available, and be submitted. It
just comes down to who is more likely to make their game-plan stick.
Another note, that is important, and often overlooked, is that Lyle has filthy
elbows from the top, and can cut and slice like chainsaw with his top
game. If Jacob gets caught in a scramble
and winds up on his back, he could paint the canvas red in a hurry, as Lyle’s
elbows are sharp and accurate.
In the end, I feel like Beerbohm is the more dangerous
fighter, who has more tools to actually bring the fight to conclusion. He may have to do some time on his back, getting
controlled, but his opportunity comes to light in the scrambles, in the
exchanges where Jacob gets tired, lazy and leaves something to be submitted
with. I’m going with Lyle Beerbohm by
second or third round submission. Let’s
call it a choke.
Brian Cobb vs. Justin Gaethje
Brian Cobb is a talented fighter who carries a 20-7 record
into this fight with Gaethje. He has
some decent submission skills, and is coming off of a win over Ronys Torres at
WSOF 1, in a hotly contested split decision victory. He has a solid base in MMA, but in my
opinion, he’s facing a challenge he’s just not quite ready for in this one.
Justin Gaethje is an up and coming star. He’s 8-0 and defeated JC Cavalcante in his
last outing. Back in October, he knocked
out UFC veteran Drew Fickett in 12 seconds.
Not too shabby. Justin has a
wrestling base, and very heavy hands. He
throws bombs, but sets them up nicely with good footwork and technique. He’s not just a brawler, but if he hits you clean,
you go night-night. I think he’s currently
the rising star on the roster for WSOF, and they are excited about his
prospects. In his eight fights, he has
seven stoppages, six by KO. If he
continues to look impressive, the World Series of Fighting will have a hard
time holding on to him, as the UFC will come calling. For now however, he’s a shining jewel in the
WSOF crown, and will look to again win in impressive factor Friday night.
This fight, will likely go only one round. While I do believe that Brian Cobb is
talented, and is a veteran of the sport, I think he gets swarmed here. I like Gaethje to land some solid strikes
standing, mix in a couple of big takedowns and near the end of the round,
finish him via some good old fashioned ground and pound. A signature first round stoppage here over
Cobb will once and for all put Justin Gaethje on the map as a legitimate rising
star at Lightweight.
Tyson Steele vs. Steve Carl
Tyson Steele, aside from having a marvelous MMA name, is a
talented up and coming Welterweight who brings a 10-1 record into this
fight. He’s only lost once in his career,
and currently is on a four fight winning streak, with his last win being over
Gregor Gracie at WSOF 1. Steele likes to
utilize the Rear Naked Choke, and has done so in six of his ten victories.
Steve Carl is a veteran of Bellator, having fought for the
promotion on numerous occasions. He
brings an impressive 19-3 record into this scrap, and even more impressive are
his 15 submissions in this 19 victories.
Carl is a good grappler, with a strong submission game, but he’ll have
to be careful on his feet, where he’ll be at a slight disadvantage.
This fight will likely be fought equally standing and on the mat. On the mat Carl holds and advantage and
standing, the advantage slides to Steele.
Bottom line is, will Carl be able to submit the crafty Tyson Steele on
the mat. If you recall, Gregor Gracie
had Steele in trouble in their fight, twice.
Once with an arm triangle and then with an armbar. Steele was able to fight through both of
those submission attempts, so there’s hope here that he can do the same. I say Carl gets the best of the ground, but
Steele gets the best of the feet, and when it’s all said and done, Tyson Steele
wins a split decision.
Jon Fitch vs. Justin Burkman
Main event time, and this is a pretty damn good one. Jon Fitch, the best fighter not under the Zuffa
umbrella, and Justin Burkman, who looked AMAZING in taking apart Aaron Simpson
at WSOF 2. Burkman has been on a major
roll lately, and has fought and won on both WSOF cards so far. He beat Simpson in the first round by TKO,
and won a decision over Gerald Harris at WSOF 1. Since leaving the UFC Josh has gone 7-1, and
finds himself in line to win a championship here.
Jon Fitch is free from his Zuffa contract, and finds himself
in line to win a world title here in his first fight with World Series of
Fighting. What can you say about Jon
Fitch? He’s a fighter, a warrior who has
been in the cage with the best of the best of the best, and has won many more
than he’s lost. His record of 24-5
features a who’s who of MMA royalty, and he was unceremoniously dumped by the
UFC in an effort to cut cost and trim the fat.
At what point Jon Fitch, was considered “the fat” is an argument for
another day. He’s among the best in the
world, was ranked in the top five at the time of his being cut, and had won the
Fight of the Night award in his previous effort. It’s a
head scratcher. Most believe it was due
to his lackluster finishing ratio and how many fans consider his style
boring. Well, you can’t brag about the
best in the world, and cut the best to make room for Ultimate Fighter alum who
on their best day, couldn’t beat Fitch. It’s a shortcut to thinking, and in the end,
wrong. That being said, we are where we
are now, and Fitch is about to fight Burkman for the WSOF championship.
Jon Fitch is a grinder, and that’s putting it mildly. He will wrestle you to the ground, hold you
there, and rinse/repeat for 15 or 25 minutes, whatever the fight calls
for. He’s not going to be doing any “Spinning
******* or “Superman Kicks”, or Superman punches for that matter. He has an agenda. He sees in front of him a huge brick wall,
and he’s the swinging hammer. Love him,
hate him, up to you; just don’t knock the man’s hustle. He’s a fighter, and one of the best in the
Burkman looked so good in his last outing, I’m almost
considering him in this fight.
Almost. I think when the rubber
meets the road, the fact is Aaron Simpson isn’t Jon Fitch. Either are the other seven fighters Josh has
beaten since leaving the UFC. Fitch is
just too good.
Josh will make it interesting, and might even hurt Fitch
standing, but I think Fitch will get the needed takedowns, and spend the necessary
time on top, doing what he does, controlling the fight. In the end, Jon Fitch walks out of the cage
with a shiny new World Title, and a new lease on life.
The third installment of the World Series of Fighting airs
Friday night at 8PM PST on NBC Sports Network.