Originally written on hov-mma  |  Last updated 6/12/13
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 submissions. 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 world.   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.
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