This Saturday, Nov. 2, the highly anticipated debut of the MMA World Series of Fighting will be shown live beginning at 9:30 p.m. (Central) on NBC Sports (formerly the Versus Network). Bas Rutten and Todd Harris will handle broadcast duties. The undercard, which includes six fights, will be streamed live and for free on sherdog.com.
Live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, the main event includes veteran and legendary fighter Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (17-9) vs. Devin Cole (20-9-1). Also slated for the television broadcast is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (13-4) vs. DJ Linderman (13-3); Marlon Moraes (8-4-1), who is a 2-time Muay Thai champ, vs. former WEC featherweight champion Miguel Torres (40-5); Tyson Steele (9-1) vs. BJJ black belt Gregor Gracie (7-2) and stand and bang boxer Travis Bartlett (7-2) will fight kickboxer Tyrone Spong (0-0), who makes his professional MMA debut. Spong, 27 of the Netherlands, has been training in the Blackzilians camp in Florida after going 68-6-1 in kickboxing while holding multiple titles.
WSOF will also use a 10-sided cage!!!!!
I spoke with veteran Andrei Arlovski of Minsk, Belarus earlier in the week:
How has moving to the Greg Jackson camp helped you?
It was the right move. I’ve had some injuries and things may have been a different story, but everything happens for a reason. This camp is very good and they are doing a good job to help me climb back on top. I am 100 percent for this fight. They are helping me reach my goals.
Thoughts on your opponent, Devin Cole?
Definitely a tough opponent. Going to be a big test for me. Good wrestler and always coming forward. It’s going to be interesting matchup.
Who were your heroes?
I really liked to watch Mike Tyson and Johnny Tapia box.
What is your inspiration to continue to step into the cage?
I still feel young and I have a lot of energy. I want to keep fighting and be a champion. I’ve also become a more responsible person. Some fighters say they are fighting to get to UFC, some say they are fighting for milk and bread, and this and that. It’s short and simple — I want to be a champion again. I was there one time. When I lose those four fights in a row, I was on the bottom. I took a rest and I remember the taste and want to be a champion again.
I also had the opportunity to speak with “Rumble” Johnson, who has won his last three fights after being released by the UFC earlier this year after losing to Vitor Belfort in January.
Thoughts on being on the company’s first card?
It’s an honor to be able to be one of the first fighters on the card. Not many fighters can say they are a part of the first fight of an organization. These guys have been great so far.
Your opponent Linderman has a 3-fight win streak, but those came in smaller promotions such as Legacy in Texas. What will it take to beat him?
He’s tough and has a good camp, but I don’t think he possesses the tools that I have. He can take some punishment and give some out, but we are going to see what Linderman is made of.
How has training been with the Blackzilians?
I am training with guys like Alastair (Overeem), Rashad (Evans), Michael Johnson and Thiago Silva. I face the best every day when I train. When I get into the cage now, I think, let’s do this and get it over with. If I can survive my camp, I can do anything.
Did it bother you getting hammered from all the critics about your weight and release from the UFC?
I didn’t hurt me. I don’t care what those people say. I know who I am and my family and my friends know who I am. Did I have any doubts about fighting? Yeah, it popped into my head, but I knew it was something that I had to do because God gave me a talent and I got to use it. When it comes to the media, I don’t read any of that stuff. A lot of these guys want to change because of the media, then all of a sudden they find out they are being fake and not being themselves. I’m going to continue to be myself and go out there and fight to the best of my ability. These people who say stuff about me aren’t paying my bills.