The World Series of Fighting keeps the wheels moving with a very so-so effort in terms of big names, but very intriguing in terms of rising prospects and contenders they're grooming. Kickboxing star Tyrone Spong returns to mixed martial arts, WSOF wisely keeps Marlon Moraes busy and Nick Newell gets a chance to prove his worth on a bigger stage.
Can Newell prove he's UFC worthy? Just how good is Marlon Moraes? Can Tyrone Spong continue to do well in MMA and kickboxing? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Saturday's fights.
What: WSOF 4: Spong vs. DeAnda
Where: Citizens Bank Arena, Ontario, Calif.
When: Saturday, Aug. 10th, the main card begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
Tyrone Spong vs. Angel DeAnda
DeAnda is not a bad fighter. Sure, he's mostly faced regional-level competition and come up short when jumping up a notch, but there are worse things to be in this game. His fatal flaw is not his talent level per se. DeAnda's issue is that he's willing to stand and bang to a fault. If he really wanted to take Spong to the ground and work from there, he might be able to. I'm hoping for a surprise he does, but if past is prologue, that's not happening. And as long he decides to stand, he's basically begging Spong to light him on fire.
Brandon Hempleman vs. Marlon Moraes
Hempleman is going to be looking to mat wrestle with Moraes. It doesn't take a leap of faith to assume he wants no part of Moraes' stand-up not solely because the Brazilian is a potent kickboxer but because Hempleman is not. The American does not fight that way. Should he successfully take Moraes down and hold him there, I suppose anything is possible. The problem is Hempleman isn't exactly a devastating finisher. If Moraes can sprawl and brawl, he has all the tools to win and put his American foe away early.
Dave Huckaba vs. Ray Sefo
This is a remarkably bad fight for television. The last time I saw Sefo fight in person, he tapped to a less than impressive can opener from against Valentijn Overeem. Huckaba is the quintessential journeyman. Aside from Sefo gets the elusive 100 pro combat bout on his resume, everything else about this contest is meaningless and not particularly competitive.
Keon Caldwell vs. Nick Newell
Caldwell certainly appears to be a fighter with tremendous upside, good power, a moderately well-rounded game and youth in his side. The problem is relative to Newell, he's faced inferior competition. Newell still has quite a bit to prove despite turning heads
Gesias Cavalcante vs. Tyson Griffin
This is a tough one to call. On the one hand, Cavalcante's losses to Isaac Vallie-Flagg and Justin Gaethje is nothing to dismiss. On the other, if Griffin doesn't get tagged early, can Cavalcante keep a sustained level of offense to take a judges' decision? That's where my doubt creeps in. JZ is still more dangerous than he's given credit, particularly in defensive wrestling and counterpunching. Griffin, if nothing else, leaves himself open with his constant offense. I'm going to side with Grifin, but just barely. This one could get interesting.