The rapidly rising World Series of Fighting promotion returns this weekend with a live card on NBC Sports. The promotion has put on some exciting fights so far, and this card will likely not be an exception.

The card is interesting because the president of the company, Ray Sefo, has put aside his duties to compete. He will be taking on seasoned MMA veteran Dave Huckaba, who has had a well-traveled career.

The company has placed a ton of eggs in the basket of Tyrone Spong, a kickboxing star it is hoping can become its poster boy. He faces an intriguing test when he takes on Angel DeAnda in the main feature.

Let’s take a look at the 10-fight card. The fights will take place this Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The main card airs live on NBC Sports Network at 10:30 p.m. ET, with the five-fight preliminary card set to stream live on the MMA Junkie website at 8 p.m. ET.

LHW: Tyrone Spong (1-0) vs. Angel DeAnda (11-2)

Tyrone Spong returns to the World Series of Fighting on the heels of his successful debut against Travis Bartlett to take on Angel DeAnda, a top light heavyweight prospect. This main event presents an exotic challenge for Spong, who can really show his ability to hang in the sport despite being just a high-level striker.

Spong has been staying busy in the kickboxing circuit since his MMA debut. His aura as a killer striker has scared away plenty of opponents before he settled on Bartlett for his debut. In that fight, Spong showed why he is such a devastating striker en route to a one-punch knockout victory. What makes him even more dangerous is that he is training with the Blackzilian team, which allows him to work with top-level wrestlers and grapplers to complete his game.

All the hype surrounds Spong, but DeAnda is no pushover. He has shown that he has power in his hands and is surprisingly quick on his feet. The one concerning thing about DeAnda is that he is mainly a striker going against a man whose bread and butter is on the feet. Plus, DeAnda’s only two losses have come via knockout, including a 2010 setback against James Irvin.

DeAnda’s best chance of winning is on the ground, but can he get Spong down? He is not nearly as physically strong as Spong, and he needs to get inside his wheelhouse to drag him down. This match-up is almost tailor-made for Spong, despite all of DeAnda’s promise. Spong should be able to dazzle the masses with another fun knockout to further the brightening of his star.

LW: Tyson Griffin (16-6) vs. Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (17-7-1)

A battle of UFC and Strikeforce veterans is afoot. Tyson Griffin, whose recent dismissal from the UFC ended a 14-fight stint with the company, takes on Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, whose longtime consideration as a top lightweight in the world has taken a hit in recent times.

Griffin started his career off as a wrestler, but has developed his all-around arsenal as the years have gone by. He has very violent leg kicks that allow him to set up takedowns and keep opponents at bay. He earned some redemption by beating UFC veteran Efrain Escudero in his last bout, but has not finished a man since knocking out Hermes Franca back in 2009.

Cavalcante used to be a top lightweight before he hit some hard times. He is 2-3 in his last five, and was finished by Justin Gaethje and Luis Palomino, the latter of which could be considered a huge upset. While Cavalcante does have some striking, his best attribute is his ground game. The biggest feather in his cap is his submission victory over highly regarded grappler and UFC veteran Rani Yahya in 2006.

If Cavalcante wants to force a ground battle, he is going to have to take down a well-balanced, superior wrestler in Griffin. That’s not likely to happen, instead allowing Griffin to work leg kicks and superior striking. That attack will carry Griffin to a convincing decision, which will continue his road to redemption.

HW: Ray Sefo (2-1) vs. Dave Huckaba (20-5)

Pro kickboxing stud and occasional mixed martial artist Ray Sefo will put himself in his company’s cage when he takes on veteran Dave Huckaba. This should be an exciting match-up, as both men love to stand and trade, which will likely pump up the crowd.

Sefo has had a sporadic MMA career thus far, but there is no doubt he is a legend in kickboxing. He was 56-21-1 as a pro kickboxer and held numerous titles in his time. He transitioned over to MMA in 2005, but has only taken three fights in the time since. He knocked out Min-Soo Kim with a vicious head kick, took a victory over Kevin Jordan when Jordan got injured and lost via submission to mid-level journeyman Valentijn Overeem two years ago. Of course, the knock on Sefo is his ground game, which can be attributed to a career of standing and fighting.

Although Huckaba is also a striker, one would think he would try to get this fight to the ground. Sure, Huckaba has taken 16 of his 20 wins via knockout, but he also has three submission wins, something that would come in handy against a guy who is sheepish on the ground.

Sefo likely signed up to fight a guy he knew would stand and bang with him, but Huckaba is probably more concerned with putting food on his table in the future. Although a win over Sefo wouldn’t be earth-shattering, it would give him the credibility of beating a top-level kickboxer. Look for Huckaba to strike with Sefo early, hunt for the takedown and secure a ground-and-pound submission victory.

BW: Marlon Moraes (10-4-1) vs. Brendan Hempleman (9-1)

Marlon Moraes was not supposed to be the star of World Series of Fighting’s bantamweight division. That spot was supposed to be left for Tyson Nam and Miguel Torres. Two fights later, the Brazilian has disposed of both of those men and has become the top 135er in the company. He now must welcome tough young stud Brendan Hempleman to the cage. Hempleman will seek to tarnish the shining star in his promotional debut.

Hempleman has stayed quiet in his 10 career fights, but made the most noise in his most recent outing. Going up against an Ultimate Fighter alum and UK staple in Paul McVeigh, Hempleman was able to win a convincing decision over the hometown fighter to help push his name up the ladder. Working with Team Sklavos, Hempleman has turned some solid wrestling skills into an all-around impressive grappling regiment. One-third of his wins have come via tapout, showing that he has evolved since his beginnings.

Moraes is the polar opposite. He is a powerful, technical striker that looks for the kill shot when in the cage. He benefits from training jiu-jitsu with Ricardo Almeida, but don’t be fooled: this man loves the knockout. Look no further than his last outing, where he kicked Tyson Nam’s head into a dreary state of sleep. The chink in his armor has been submission defense against high-level tapout artists, but you have to get in his wheelhouse to take him down.

Hempleman has a bright future in MMA and should keep working at his game. However, many men have attempted to get inside against Moraes and paid the ultimate price. Hempleman will not like getting his chin touched by Moraes, and after some failed takedown attempts, he should take a nap. The Brazilian will get a finish with his hands.

LW: Nick Newell (9-0) vs. Keon Caldwell (9-1)

One-armed superstar Nick Newell will finally get his run at one of the bigger shows in MMA when he steps in the World Series of Fighting cage. The former XFC poster boy took a pink slip from his former employer when he refused to take a fight and was also stripped of his title belt. When he debuts, he will take on Ultimate Fighter castoff Keon Caldwell, who dropped out of the competition due to a self-inflicted leave of absence.

Caldwell is a finisher, but has not gotten that keynote victory he has been searching for. He got a step up in competition when he took on Dhiego Lima, but was promptly submitted by the superior ground fighter. Caldwell is definitely a striker, with eight of his nine wins (all stoppages) have come via knockout. He would be wise to stay off the ground against a surprisingly competent ground worker in Newell.

Newell is undefeated in pro competition and impressed onlookers in those outings. He has only one decision victory, proving that his disability does not hold him back from finishing opponents. His ground game is his hallmark. He has pulled off wild submissions, including a heel hook of Denis Hernandez, armbar of Anthony Kaponis and, most recently, a rear-naked choke of big-show veteran Eric Reynolds.

Caldwell has been impressive in his career, but he has not fought too many high-level guys. Newell’s star is still on the rise and he has the jiu-jitsu to expose Caldwell on the ground. Newell will close the distance, snag Caldwell to the ground and display his superior ground game en route to a flashy submission win.

Preliminary Card

WW: Gerald Harris (21-5) vs. Jorge Santiago (25-11)

UFC castoffs meet at welterweight when wrestler Gerald Harris takes on debuting striker Jorge Santiago. Harris’s dismissal from the UFC was a bit cold, but the wrestler looks to reverse a debut with WSOF that saw him take a decision loss to new company poster boy Josh Burkman. Harris’s method isn’t a secret; he wants to close the distance, put opponents on their butts and work his heavy top game. Santiago is known for his deadly striking and suspect chin. He does own a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but his takedown defense was exposed by Demian Maia in the UFC. Expect Harris to drag him down and beat him up with ground-and-pound until the ref has seen enough.

LHW: Lew Polley (12-4) vs. Hans Stringer (21-5-2)

Lew Polley is probably best remembered as the coach let go by Junior dos Santos on The Ultimate Fighter 13. However, Polley is a power wrestler who plants opponents on the mat and finishes with his underrated submission arsenal. He takes on a well-rounded Dutchman in Hans Stringer, who has taken his game to the Blackzilian camp. Stringer is an accurate striker, but his takedown defense is going to be tested again and again in this fight. Polley should grab a decision win in what could be a snoozer.

LW: Antonio McKee (28-5-2) vs. Lewis Gonzalez (8-0)

Antonio McKee is probably one of the best lightweights in the world not currently in the UFC. Somehow he finds himself on the preliminary card here, as he takes on undefeated prospect Lewis Gonzalez. McKee banks on superior cardio and power wrestling to get him through fights. He looks to break opoonents mentally and often times does it for all 15 minutes. Gonzalez is a well-rounded guy whose biggest win to date is over War MMA headliner and current Bellator tournament competitor Justin Baesman. Gonzalez relies on a top game to punish opponents, but his wrestling is not on McKee’s level. The older dog should grab a decision in this one.

BW: Jared Papazian (15-10) vs. John Robles (7-1)

Jared Papazian steps in on late notice to take on his friend, John Robles, in what could be a wild all-out brawl. Papazian is known for an aggressive brawling style that earned him many fans in the UFC. He does have good knockout power for a little guy, which he will try to display. Robles holds a similar style that has seen him knock out a majority of his opponents. Both men’s weakness lies in their ground game, so prepare to see the two friends punch each other in the face for a while. Papazian’s experience should carry him here.

Catchweight (150 lbs.): Isaac Gutierrez (5-3) vs. Victor Valenzuela (12-6-2)

Regularly featherweights, Isaac Gutierrez and Victor Valenzuela have agreed to meet at 150 pounds for this preliminary fight. Valenzuela is the more experienced fighter and will look to use his boxing skills and knockout ability to try to fend off his opponent. Gutierrez is inconsistent in his fights, as he has solid submission skills, but has been tapped out a couple times. Valenzuela’s experience and overall killer instinct will likely have him pounding Gutierrez until the referee stops the fight.

Photo: Tyrone Spong (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.

  • .

    You obviously know nothing about gonzalez’s wrestling background! Lol two time california highs school champ and JC state camp. Mckee one time california state champ and JC state champ so pretty much even on the wrestling if not gonzalez better at wrestling

  • Cameron

    I love everything about this card, Spong vs DeAnda is going to be a war