WSOF 10 Results: Burning Questions Heading into WSOF 11

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2014

WSOF 10 Results: Burning Questions Heading into WSOF 11

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    Photo by WSOF.com/Lucas Noonan

    WSOF 10 is in the books. The results from Saturday are as follows:

    Main Card

    • David Branch def. Jesse Taylor via submission (D’Arce choke) at 1:41 of Round 1
    • Rick Glenn def. Georgi Karakhanyan via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 2
    • Jessica Aguilar def. Emi Fujino via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) 
    • Luiz Firmino def. Tyson Griffin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) 
    • Lance Palmer def. Nick LoBosco via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:15 of Round 1


    Undercard

    • Derrick Mehmen def. Dave Huckaba via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-27)
    • Timur Valiev def. Adam Acquaviva via TKO (flying knee) at 1:35 of Round 3
    • Krasimir Mladenov def. Angel DeAnda via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Marciea Allen via TKO (elbows) at 3:01 of Round 3
    • Jimmy Spicuzza def. Justin Jaynes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • A.J. Williams def. Tanner Cowan via TKO (strikes) at 0:44 of Round 1

    Next up? World Series of Fighting 11 on July 5.

    Being held just a couple of weeks away and getting shown on the real NBC, WSOF might just be facing a make-or-break night. With that in mind, the promotion has pulled together some of the biggest names it can muster, including a lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell and featuring UFC veterans like Melvin Guillard, Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman.

    So what topics are worth considering for the next two weeks? Find out right here!

So Is WSOF Done Being Nice?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Fight: WSOF vs. The World
    The Real Fight: Idealism vs. Reality

    The Stakes

    Anthony Johnson is back in the UFC. So is Andrei Arlovski. Tyrone Spong, meanwhile, is out indefinitely with a snapped shin. A must-watch fight in Rousimar Palhares vs. Jon Fitch was axed when Palhares said he needed to spend time with his ailing mommy. 

    Time and again, WSOF's "I'm your buddy, guy" approach to the fight game has cost it. With Ali Abdelaziz's recent feuding with Josh Burkman and his recent "No More Mr. Nice Guy" speech (and I'd assume no more Mr. Cle-e-e-ean, either), we might be seeing a grittier, 1980s comic book-type of promotion.

    The Question

    So is WSOF done being nice?

    Analysis

    In the fight game, as in all walks of life, there are givers and takers. And of course, when a giver gives an inch, a taker will take a mile. While that works out reasonably fine when your friend asks you for a ride but refuses to chip in for gas, it doesn't work out so well when you have investors looking over your shoulder and eyeing your financials on a daily basis.

    If you're an MMA promotion that doesn't have a casino mogul or major mass media company willing to dump millions into a pit with no guaranteed return, it's pretty darn scary. Every step takes place on eggshells, and the Sword of Damocles is ever-present in every dealing. A small misstep—be it an ugly first show on television, signing the wrong guy to a big fight or letting the wrong guy into the cage to cut a promocan put you on an irreversible death spiral.

    Being the nice guy rarely pays off, and it will be interesting to see if WSOF completely forsakes that billing in the coming months.

Does the UFC Regret Booting Cody Bollinger Yet?

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    The Fight: Pablo Alfonso vs. Cody Bollinger 
    The Real Fight: UFC's Policies on Missing Weight vs. Fairness/Logic

    The Stakes

    While fans and the UFC became smitten by the ladies of The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, the men are the ones who have shown themselves to be the truly skilled fighters thus far. Chris Beal, Anthony Gutierrez and Chris Holdsworth have a combined 4-0 record, but it's Cody Bollinger who has a clear shot at a title with a major MMA promotion. That's right, the guy who "flushed his dream down the toilet" could be wearing the WSOF bantamweight strap in the near future.  

    The Question

    Does the UFC regret booting Cody Bollinger yet?

    Analysis

    The UFC's inconsistent reactions to missing weight tend to be hilarious, especially when it comes to The Ultimate Fighter. When Miesha Tate's top male pick, Cody Bollinger, quit on cutting down to 135 pounds ahead of his fight with Anthony Gutierrez, White took the opportunity to shame a grown-ass man on national television to make up for the season's general lack of drama.

    This, of course, was preceded by the UFC saying "no biggie" to James Vainikolo on TUF: The Smashes, who missed weight but was allowed to stick around. It was then followed by the UFC giving a free pass to the Octagon to Claudia Gadelha, who was originally signed to compete on Season 20, but withdrew because she didn't want to cut weight multiple times.

    Regardless, when Bollinger was brushed aside by the UFC, WSOF was happy to pick him up. He debuted with a win over the underappreciated Tyson Nam, and should he beat Pablo Alfonso at WSOF 11, it's hard to imagine him fighting anybody other than the bantamweight champ, Marlon Moraes. If that's the case and he actually winds up winning the belt down the line, the UFC ought to kick itself for cutting him loose.

Can Melvin Guillard Get Back on Track?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Fight: Melvin Guillard vs. Gesias Cavalcante
    The Real Fight: Melvin Guillard vs. Himself

    The Stakes

    A new promotion, a new set of opportunities for Melvin "The Adult Assassin" Guillard. After being booted from the UFC, the hard-punching, high-flying, hair-dying veteran quickly found himself with a new home and, surprisingly, a clear shot at the title. If he can beat former training partner Gesias Cavalcante, he will go on to fight the winner of Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell.

    The Question

    Can Melvin Guillard get back on track?

    Analysis

    Melvin Guillard, at times, looks like one of the best lightweights in MMA. His heavy, accurate hands can floor any hypothetical opponent, and he owns wins over some solid names like Evan Dunham, Gleison Tibau, Dennis Siver and Jeremy Stephens. Man, oh man, though, he is a headcase like none other.

    He sometimes looks utterly indifferent when fighting, and he was completely content in coasting to a decision loss against Michael Johnson. That got him booted from the UFC, despite his status as a "Just Bleed" favorite, but set him up for redemption with WSOF.

    The only thing stopping him from beating Gesias Cavalcante is his own psyche. If he can put that aside, expect his highlight reel to expand by one knockout by night's end.

Can Gesias Cavalcante Get His First Big Win?

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    The Fight: Melvin Guillard vs. Gesias Cavalcante
    The Real Fight: Gesias Cavalcante vs. Impotence Against Good Fighters

    The Stakes

    As stated, Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante faces off with Melvin Guillard in a top contender's bout on July 5. Cavalcante was a staple midcard lightweight for Japanese promotions but finds himself competing in his native hemisphere with WSOF. He has gone 2-1 with WSOF thus far, with wins over Tyson Griffin and T.J. O'Brien and the one loss coming to Justin Gaethje via cuts. This fight is Cavalcante's opportunity to show that he isn't just a stepping stone, and is a legitimate 155-pound talent.

    The Question

    Can Gesias Cavalcante get his first big win?

    Analysis

    Cavalcante has been around for a long time and lost to many great fighters...and also Isaac Vallie-Flagg. He has a few good names on his resume, sure, like Bobby Green and the 2006 model of Caol Uno, but the list of people who have beaten him is far more illustrious than the people he has beaten.

    A win over Guillard would be a legacy-maker for him and could mark him as one of the best lightweights outside the UFC. A loss, however, would be par for his mediocre course.

Can Jon Fitch Start Putting a Streak Together?

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The Fight: Jon Fitch vs. Dennis Hallman
    The Real Fight: Jon Fitch vs. Winning Streaks

    The Stakes

    Jon Fitch went from possible top contender in the welterweight division to reeling veteran really fast. After being infamously cut from the UFC for being boring, he suffered a shocking submission loss to Josh Burkman in his debut with WSOF.

    He bounced back with a less-than-emphatic win over Marcelo Alfaya, which was apparently enough to earn him a title shot opposite generally crappy human being Rousimar Palhares. The Brazilian would pull out of the fight, but Fitch would opt to remain on the card and (eventually) was matched against fellow UFC outcast Dennis Hallman. 

    The Question

    Can Jon Fitch start putting a streak together?

    Analysis

    Fitch was quite possibly the best welterweight in MMA not named "George" or any similar iteration from 2006 through 2010. Then, suddenly, he wasn't.

    While it feels like just yesterday, he is nearly four years separated from his last winning streak. Many still remember him as a top-level welterweight, and some still regard him as such. If he wants to start his climb back toward the top, it would start in earnest by beating Hallman.

Can Nick Newell Compete Against High-Level Competition?

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    The Fight: Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell
    The Real Fight: Nick Newell vs. Doubters

    The Stakes

    Nick Newell finally gets what he has wanted all along: a chance to prove he is one of the best lightweights in MMA. While Justin Gaethje isn't a household name for MMA fans, he is a legitimate talent. If Newell can win, it will be hard to deny his status as a top lightweight.

    The Question

    Can Nick Newell compete against high-level competition?

    Analysis

    As you probably know, Newell is missing half his left arm. It's a fact that many dwell on. Whether consciously or subconsciously, the vast majority of his accomplishments end up framed in fans' minds as "look what he did despite his handicap" as opposed to "look how damn good he is at fighting."

    That, unfortunately, is unlikely to ever change. He could become the UFC's lightweight champion, and the perception wouldn't change a bit. There is one perception, however, that he can change here.

    That is the prevailing thought that, sooner or later, his handicap will prove to be an insurmountable weakness. Something a savvy opponent, most likely a hard-hitting striker, would be able to exploit, no matter how padded his record gets.

    This is his chance to silence some of those critics. A win over Gaethje would show that he is capable of competing with some of the best fighters in the world.

Will Fans Start Taking Notice of Justin Gaethje?

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    The Fight: Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell
    The Real Fight: Nick Newell vs. Who?

    The Stakes

    Justin Gaethje looks for his first title defense opposite fan favorite Nick Newell. Gaethje has already shown himself to be one of the hardest hitters at 155 pounds and has demonstrated the wrestling to keep things standing long enough for a knockout. That's a winning combination, no matter how you slice it.

    Now he just needs to start building a brand...

    The Question

    Will fans start taking notice of Justin Gaethje?

    Analysis

    "Justin who?"

    That was the reaction from most MMA fans reading about this character. Sure, hardcore MMA fans know that Gaethje is really good. We at Bleacher Report do, too (we have him sitting at No. 16 in the lightweight division in the MMA 125 ratings).

    Still, he is fighting irrelevancy more than he is fighting Nick Newell. In fact, it's almost certain that more MMA fans are familiar with Newell than Gaethje. This is his chance to start building his own brand.

What Will the Ratings Be Like?

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    Photo by WSOF.com/Adam Honig

    The Fight: World Series of Fighting Versus Fans Not Watching
    The Real Fight: WSOF 11 vs. UFC 175

    The Stakes

    WSOF has come a long way, very quickly. With just 10 events to its name, it is poised to join the UFC, EliteXC and Strikeforce on the list of MMA promotions that have appeared on a major TV network. While that is impressive, WSOF faces steep competition on July 5 in the form of the UFC's biggest card of 2014 thus far.

    The Question

    What will the ratings be like?

    Analysis

    TV stations care about ratings...or so I hear. Well, WSOF now has its chance to prove its worth to NBC by filling in the always dreary Saturday afternoon timeslot. Unfortunately for WSOF, NBC seems to be committed to its refusal to actually promote any WSOF events...oh, and UFC 175 is going down immediately after. I doubt that helps.

    Needless to say, the success of this event is critical for WSOF going forward, and if it flops, it could be the beginning of the end for WSOF.