World Series of Fighting 11 is headlined by a lightweight championship bout with the exciting Justin Gaethje (11-0) putting his belt on the line against the extremely tough and talented “Notorious” Nick Newell (11-0). Also on the card, a highly anticipated welterweight rubber match takes place as we see Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) take on Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (27-10). Both Fitch and Burkman boast a win over each other, so this bout is for bragging rights.
Additionally, newly signed lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (31-13-2) debuts against Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (18-7-1) and Cody “Bam Bam” Bollinger (15-2, 1 NC) faces a dangerous 14-year veteran in Pablo Alfonso (9-5) in an intriguing bantamweight contest.
“We’ve been talking about it for some time now, and we’re thrilled to see all of the pieces falling perfectly into place for our first show on NBC,” said World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo. “With World Series of Fighting 11 taking place over the holiday weekend in Daytona, the world’s most famous beach, we are anticipating fireworks from the Fourth to continue in the cage. I know that it will be another great night of fights for all of our fans.”
Lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is a member of Colorado’s Grudge Training Center and has already earned World Series of Fighting wins over Rich Patishnock, Dan Lauzon, Brian Cobb and Gesias Cavalcante. Fighting professionally since 2011, the 25-year-old is undefeated in his first 11 career fights, and 10 of those have ended via stoppage, including nine by knockout.
“Notorious” Nick Newell will be challenging Gaethje for his lightweight championship when the cage doors close. The inspirational Newell, who shares an identical record (11-0) with his opponent, last defeated Sabah Fadai at World Series of Fighting 7. It was his second submission victory in as many fights under the World Series of Fighting banner, having previously dispatched of Keon Caldwell at World Series of Fighting 4 with a modified guillotine choke that earned him a top play on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
When Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) and Josh Burkman (27-10) met for the second time in their careers at World Series of Fighting 3 event Las Vegas, Burkman was determined to return the favor from when Fitch submitted him with a rear-naked choke seven years earlier. Despite being the underdog going into the fight, Burkman succeeded in a victory that earned him a “Submission of the Year” nomination at the World MMA Awards. Both fighters have earned victories since World Series of Fighting 3, with Burkman scoring an impressive first-round knockout over Tyler Stinson on March 9 and Fitch beating Marcelo Alfaya at World Series of Fighting 6.
Melvin Guillard is well-known as one of the most explosive and dangerous knockout artists in all of combat sports. Fighting professionally since he was just a teenager, Guillard is one of the most athletically gifted strikers in the sport today and is capable of ending any fight in a single punch. Meanwhile, Gesias Cavalcante is a well-respected veteran of the sport who has fought previously for Strikeforce and DREAM and now competes for the fourth time under the World Series of Fighting banner. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 2-1 with the promotion with stoppage victories over T.J. O’Brien and Tyson Griffin, and his only loss in that span came due to a cut against current champ Gaethje.
Bollinger made his promotional debut at World Series of Fighting 8 in January and took a unanimous decision against Tyson Nam, giving him back-to-back wins. Alfonso brings a three-fight winning streak to the bout, including a first-round submission of former WEC champ Miguel Torres at World Series of Fighting 6 this past October.