World Series of Fighting announced today a new co-main event matchup between streaking, prolific welterweight (170 pounds) rising stars and fearsome submission aces Tyson “Man of” Steele (10-1) of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada and Steve Carl (19-3) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion’s highly-anticipated fight card at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Friday, June 14, live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
The announcement comes in the wake of the withdrawal of Tyrone “King of the Ring” Spong (1-0) of Boca Raton, Fla. via Suriname from his scheduled light heavyweight (205 pounds) co-main event matchup with Angel “The Dream” DeAnda (11-2) of Oakdale, Calif. due to Spong’s inability to return from the Netherlands to his Boca Raton-based MMA training camp Blackzilians in time to prepare adequately for his second-career MMA-rules bout.
Additionally, a lightweight (155 pounds) contest between grappling wizards Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (21-2) of Spokane, Wash. and Jacob Volkmann (15-4) of White Bear Lake, Minn. has been added to the event’s preliminary card.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to replace the original co-main event with a matchup between two of MMA’s fastest rising stars who are both on course to become future champions,” said World Series of Fighting President and six-time world kickboxing champion Ray Sefo. “Losing Tyrone from this card is unfortunate, but our fighters need to prepare sufficiently to compete at this level, and we are certainly not going to take any shortcuts or try to rush a matchup if one or both fighters are not ready to compete. We will move forward and look forward to seeing Tyrone back in the World Series of Fighting cage very soon.”
A former oil industry laborer, the 26-year-old Steele, who is riding a four-fight win streak, found greater opportunity in the sport of MMA after discovering the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and hasn’t turned back since. On Nov. 3, he notched his greatest victory to date in his first start outside of Canada, a first round (4:52) TKO (knee and punches) of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Gregor Gracie at the inaugural World Series of Fighting event in Las Vegas.
Thus far, 7 of Steele’s 10 professional career victories have come by way of submission and 2 of the other 3 have come by way of TKO.
The 28-year-old Carl is a U.S. Army veteran who, likewise, found his calling in life in the world’s fastest growing sport after taking up Army Combatives. Of his 19 professional career victories to date, 14 have come by way of submission.
Against Steele, Carl will put a five-fight winning streak on the line. He earned his latest victory at the World Series of Fighting event on Nov. 3, submitting Ramico Blackmon with a rear-naked choke in the first round (2:11) of their matchup.
The 34-year-old Beerbohm, a former meth addict who discovered MMA while watching television from a prison sofa, later became an inspiration, taking up MMA training the same day he was released from incarceration. After just two amateur fights in which he stopped both of his opponents, Beerbohm made his professional debut in 2007 and ran to 15 consecutive victories over the course of the next three years.
Beerbohm, whose nickname originated as a result of the colorful fight shorts that his mother sews for him, holds notable wins over the likes of former Muay Thai champion and KO artist Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro and former PRIDE star Marcus Aurelio.
Volkmann is a 32-year-old, three-time NCAA Division I All-American and former Big 10 Conference wrestling champion for University of Minnesota. Since turning pro in 2007, he has earned 7 of his 15 career victories by way of submission.
Volkmann boasts wins over fellow stars Danny Castillo, Bobby Voelker, Ronys Torres and Antonio McKee.
Tickets for the World Series of Fighting event, priced from $29 (plus applicable service fees), are on sale at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.
In the welterweight main event and long-awaited rematch, Jon Fitch (24-5) of Fort Wayne, Ind., will square off with fellow superstar Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (25-9) of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The second meeting between the 35-year-old Fitch, a member of San Jose, Calif.-based Team AKA, and the 32-year-old Burkman, a winner of four consecutive fights, comes slightly more than seven years after Fitch submitted Burkman with a rear-naked choke in the second round (4:57) of their initial encounter that, coincidentally, also took place at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Also slated for battle on the four-bout TV card is heavyweight rising star and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Rolles Gracie (8-1) of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, who will face off with Dave Huckaba (21-4) of Sacramento, Calif.
Undefeated prospect Justin Gaethje (8-0) of Denver, Colo. will collide with Brian Cobb (20-7) of Bakersfield, Calif., in a lightweight contest.
In preliminary card action, battle-tested submission specialist John Gunderson (34-14) of Houston, Tex. will be pitted against Dan “The Upgrade” Lauzon (16-4) of Bridgewater, Mass. in another lightweight tilt. All 16 of Lauzon’s professional career victories have come by way of (T)KO or submission.
Fellow undefeated prospects Krasimir Mladenov (8-0) of Borica, Bulgaria and Kendrick Miree (5-0) of Atlanta, Ga., will square off at middleweight (185 pounds).
Additional preliminary card bouts will be announced soon.
Doors at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open at 4:30 p.m. PT and the first preliminary card bout will begin at 5 p.m.