On the day after the United States celebrates its 238th year of independence, World Series of Fighting will be hosting its 11th event from the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. After numerous changes to the lineup, we finally have our four-fight main card locked in.

Headlining the event will be a clash of undefeated lightweights, as Nick Newell looks to dethrone current WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. After Rousimar Palhares, Jake Shields and Josh Burkman were all removed from the event, former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch will return to action against the always dangerous Dennis Hallman. Rounding out the main card, Melvin Guillard will make his WSOF debut against Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante and bantamweights will go to battle when Pablo Alfonso faces off against Cody Bollinger.

Now, let’s take a look at how these fights should play out.

BW: Pablo Alfonso (9-5) vs. Cody Bollinger (15-2)

Pablo Alfonso, the submission expert, is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, with his latest victory coming over former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres via guillotine choke at WSOF 6. Cody Bollinger, on the other hand, has proven he can finish opponents with his hands, on the ground or by grinding out a decision. He has won his last two outings, most recently defeating Tyson Nam via unanimous decision at WSOF 8.

The ground game is going to be key in this fight. Alfonso will want to do everything he can to get the fight there, whereas Bollinger should look to keep the fight standing. Look for Bollinger, the Joe Stevenson disciple, to use his youth to his advantage and avoid Alfonso’s takedown attempts. From there, expect Bollinger to use his reach advantage to pick apart Alfonso on the feet.

Don’t expect for Bollinger to become the first person to knock out Alfonso, but do expect to see him pick up the unanimous decision in this one.

LW: Melvin Guillard (31-13-2) vs. Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (18-7-1)

This lightweight match-up features two fighters, Melvin Guillard and Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, who many believe never reached their full potential. Although he didn’t win season two of The Ultimate Fighter, Guillard was expected by many to go on to become a title contender. However, Guillard could never put everything together inside and outside of the cage, and he now finds himself in a very difficult match.

Cavalcante is another fighter who many believe did not live up to the hype surrounding him. Many expected him to make huge waves in the Dream lightweight tournament, but he was defeated by Shinya Aoki to put his dreams of winning the tournament to bed. In fact, dating back to the beginning of the Dream tourney, Cavalcante has only managed to earn four victories in his past 11 bouts. However, he will find himself with his hand raised on Saturday night.

Throughout his career, Guillard has had a huge problem against fighters with good jiu-jitsu. Unfortunately for Guillard, Cavalcante has really, really good jiu-jitsu. The only way Guillard can win this fight is if he catches Cavalcante and puts his lights out. While anything is possible, I see Cavalcante getting the early takedown, taking Guillard out of his comfort zone, and securing the first-round submission victory.

WW: Jon Fitch (25-6-1) vs. Dennis Hallman (53-14-2)

With the three-year anniversary of the most famous wardrobe malfunction in MMA history upon us, it’s only fitting that Dennis Hallman gets the last-minute call to take on Jon Fitch in the co-main event of the evening. Despite being a fourth-tier replacement opponent for Fitch, Hallman has the upper hand in this match-up.

It is no secret to anyone that Fitch wants to get his opponent down to the mat and wrestle his way to a decision everytime he enters the cage. The problem for Fitch in this bout is Hallman is a submission machine.

In 70 professional bouts, Hallman has 53 victories, with 41 of those wins coming via submission. Furthermore, he has never been submitted and has only been stopped six times. There is a chance that Hallman comes into this bout out of shape, and if he does, Fitch could “Fitch” his way to a victory. However, Fitch’s style plays right into Hallman’s strengths. Look for Hallman to pull off the quick submission victory.

LW Championship: Justin Gaethje (11-0) vs. Nick Newell (11-0)

Nick Newell has been the feel-good story of MMA this decade. What he has been able to accomplish is nothing short of incredible. With that being said, expect for the Newell Express to be derailed by Justin Gaethje on Saturday night.

By only looking at their records, it’s clear that Gaethje has faced the higher level of opposition in his career. But not only has he faced the better opponents, Gaethje has destroyed all those put in front of him. His constant pressure and punching power are going to be too much for Newell.

In the back of all of our minds, we knew there would come a point of his career where Newell’s disability would hinder him. Although Newell will continue on to be a very good fighter, his first bid at WSOF gold will not end well. He will get knocked out by Gaethje in the first round.


Be sure to check back on The MMA Corner and follow us on Twitter at @TheMMACorner for updates during all the fights coming your way this Saturday.