On Saturday afternoon at WSOF 11, undefeated Justin Gaethje looked to defend his lightweight title against the also undefeated Nick Newell.
The fight started off very competitive, with Newell throwing, and landing, combinations and even threatening with a submission at one point. As the round wore on, Gaethje began to land major power shots that slowed Newell down.
By the end of the first round, Newell was clearly exhausted, and the next round consisted of Gaethje stalking Newell around the cage, finally scoring the knockout victory at 3:09 of the second round.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
The power shots landed by Gaethje, and eventually the knockout, were the most memorable part of the bout. Gaethje was scoring some major shots to the head and body, which slowed Newell down. Most of the second round consisted of Gaethje loading up to throw one big strike at a time. He finally landed a huge right hook and ended Newell's night.
What We Learned About Newell
His striking was good, just not good enough. He was able to hang with Gaethje in the early going, even possibly rocking him at one point, but Gaethje was able to recover and hurt Newell badly with strikes.
His cardio also gave out pretty quickly. Maybe it was the body shots from Gaethje, or an adrenaline dump, but either way, Newell was exhausted by the end of the first round.
What We Learned About Gaethje
Gaethje is a serious striker in the lightweight division. With the win, his record moves to 12-0, including 10 wins by (T)KO, and seven in a row. At only 25 years old, Gaethje could be a force in the lightweight division moving forward.
What's Next for Newell
Newell has a number of options for his next fight. Dan Lauzon is 1-1 in the WSOF, having also lost to Gaethje by second-round TKO in his last fight.
If a fight with Lauzon doesn't happen, there are any number of UFC and Strikeforce veterans for Newell to face, including Jacob Volkmann, Gesias Cavalcante, Tyson Griffin or Antonio McKee.
What's Next for Gaethje
A fight with Melvin Guillard, who also scored a second-round TKO at WSOF 11, is a possibility. Guillard faced Cavalcante, and it was Guillard's first fight with the WSOF.
If not Guillard, then Gaethje may face Luiz Firmino. Firmino is 2-0 in the WSOF and has scored decision victories over UFC veterans Volkmann and Griffin.