Despite some last minute concerns with cage regulations that may or may not impact the show, as of now, World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 2 is a go for 10:00 p.m. ET tonight on the NBC Sports Network. The 10-fight card goes off in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the upper half of the lineup being televised and the bottom half being unavailable for public broadcast.
Dynamic wrestler and kickboxer Anthony Johnson (14-4) has solved his past issues with making weight the old fashion way by ratcheting himself all the way up to the heavyweight class. The Blackzilians/Jaco Hybrid rep draws Belarusian Samboist and striker Andrei Arlovski (19-9) in the WSOF 2 main event.
Hot off a split-decision upset over the well respected Miguel Torres at WSOF 1, the heavy-handed Marlon Moraes (9-4) squares off with Tyson Nam (12-4), who drew attention for a recent upset of his own; a 1st-round TKO over Bellator bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas.
Former UFCers Aaron Simpson (12-4) and Josh Burkman (24-9) collide on the main card in a wrestling-centric match, while former K-1, DREAM and Strikeforce lightweight Gesias Cavalcante (17-6-1) takes on a dangerous lurker in the Grudge Training Center's Justin Gaethje (7-0). The undefeated Gaethje boasts 5 TKO's and 1 submission, and recently took out veteran Drew Fickett in the 1st round.
Note: Paulo Filho was scheduled to face David Branch on the main card but his arrival was delayed by a panic attack, and it's unclear whether he'll compete or not.
Other recognizable names punctuate the preliminary card, which is listed below and followed by a quick write-up on the main event.
WSOF 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson MAIN CARD
(NBC Sports Network at 9:30 p.m. ET)
PRELIMINARY CARD (untelevised)
Johnson's athleticism and combination of skills make him a viable threat to anyone in any weight class. At an agile and lengthy 6'2" tall, his hands are exceptionally quick and powerful, as are his kicks. Either striking tool packs fight-changing or finishing potential. AJ affords the luxury of being able to mix in or fall back on his wrestling acumen, which not only instills him with more weaponry, but disrupts his opponent's defense under the constant concern of incoming strikes or takedown attempts.
Arlovski, once among the most feared of heavyweight strikers, generally relies on crisp boxing combinations but is not devoid of the occasional low or mid-range roundhouse kick or straight push kicks from outside. "The Pitbull" is no stranger to facing wrestling threats and has shown the capability to compensate by tailoring his arsenal with an "anti-wrestling" strike selection -- he'll lower his level but still stay light on his toes to ward off takedowns and sprinkle in more uppercuts and waist- or chest-level punches.
Johnson's first run as a heavyweight should be interesting. If he's able to maintain a semblance of the agility and hand-speed he's exhibited in lower weight classes, he could prove to be a force. The betting lines have Arlovski as the narrow favorite but Johnson is definitely worth a look for you bettors out there.