(Well that’s pretty much the greatest photo I’ve ever seen. / Props: Nick’s Facebook page.)
World Series of Fighting executive vice president Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed with Yahoo! Sports yesterday that undefeated lightweight Nick Newell will finally get his shot at the WSOF lightweight title this July, when he faces incumbent champion Justin Gaethje. The exact date and venue for the match are still TBA. MMAFighting adds that ”The promotion is expected to make its NBC debut this summer, but Abdel-Aziz wouldn’t disclose whether the title fight would air on the broadcast network.”
On paper, Newell and Gaethje have identical records of 11-0 with 10 wins by stoppage. Arguably, Gaethje’s level of competition during his WSOF stint has been higher than Newell’s, as the champ’s list of TKO-victims has included Gesias Cavacante, Brian Cobb, and Dan Lauzon (i.e., guys you’ve actually heard of). Of course, finding decent opponents has always been a challenge for Newell, who left the XFC and signed with WSOF last May specifically to fight world-class opponents — but has only been able to squash journeymen so far.
Still, it’s better late than never. Newell’s fight against Gaethje is the big opportunity that the one-handed fighter has been begging for, and could lift his already-expanding profile in a major way, especially if the event is indeed aired on NBC. It’s also simply one of the greatest lightweight matchups you’ll see outside the UFC, and we’re psyched for it. Your predictions, please.
Semi-related: In case you forgot, Rousimar Palhares is fighting Steve Carl for the WSOF welterweight title this Saturday at WSOF 9. Ray Sefo says people are underestimating Steve Carl, which is surprising, because I had no idea that people had any opinions about Steve Carl whatsoever. Anyway, RIP that guy’s ankles.