Saturday night's World Series of Fighting event saw some pretty entertaining fights, a bit of questionable reffing and solidified Nick Newell as being a legitimate threat in the lightweight division. If you weren't already sure of it after his quick disposal of opponent, Keon Caldwell, you should be.
Newell's jiu jitsu was prominently displayed once again as he used a modified guillotine choke to finish off Caldwell. After the fight, he mentioned that he would stack his ground game up against anyone in the division. That kind of confidence, born from adversity, is always welcome and speaks loud and clear to my inner mouthbreathing, slobbering fangirl.
I sat down with Nick yesterday for a brief interview where he discussed his desire to keep his future exclusive to WSOF, the secret batcave where he polishes up his jiu jitsu and what's next for him. Here's what he had to say:
I'm pretty confident in my finishing skills, not only in my striking power but in my submission game. I just go for things, and I think that's the reason I finish a lot. I have a very tight grip and very good chokes, and that move I finished him with is a choke that I've gotten pretty good with over the years. Even though it looks like it was a weird position -- people didn't know if it was a gator roll or a D'arce or a guillotine -- it was just a modified version of a guillotine I developed with my coaches.
I have a great team. My main coach is Jeremy Libiszewski and he runs my whole training camp. I also go to Ultimate MMA in North Haven Connecticut. I train with a guy named Andrew Calandrelli. He has some of the best no gi out there. Everything we do is no gi and based around MMA. He's been around for a long time and knows a lot of tricks. I've been working with those two coaches since I started, and it's been fantastic.
Nobody Is Getting Cut
Before the event, Ali sat everyone down and said, 'Tomorrow night, I just want you guys to go out there and have fun. Fight like I know you can. No matter what, nobody is losing their job. Nobody is getting cut. Don't have that in the back of your mind. Just go out there and do your best. I signed you guys for a reason and you're here to stay.'
It's really refreshing to have a promoter that's on your side. I think that's the reason why the fights were so good. I think guys are so scared about losing their jobs that they fight not to lose and are overly cautious. When you're not sweating if you're going to be cut, you're more likely to go out there and fight to win big.
Level of Competition in WSOF LW Division
I absolutely think they have a great pool of quality competitors. JZ Cavalcante looked phenomenal, the guy that beat Antonio McKee looked really good, too. Tyson Griffin is still nasty. They have Justin Gaethje, Dan Lauzon and Jacob Volkmann. The talent level is so deep in this company. I don't worry at all about not having tough guys to challenge me.
Single Minded Focus on WSOF
I'm not thinking about the UFC. I'm only focusing on WSOF now. UFC is still the number one promotion in the world, but WSOF really treats their fighters well. This whole week has been phenomenal. Anything you need, they have it for you. They're friendly, and I wouldn't change a thing. Every time I had a request, they accommodated me.
They're here to stay. I've fought for other promotions, and they're definitely gonna be around for the long haul. They're so well organized and everything runs smoothly. They have a big staff that makes sure everything is running as it should.
WSOF PR Push
Yeah, I'm getting a huge push. They've put me on such a big stage and given me such a great opportunity. I couldn't be happier. I got a lot of coverage for this fight, more so than usual. I usually fly in to a fight the day before, but World Series flew me out on Monday and had media lined up for me all week. They kept me busy, for sure. I worked really hard for this, and it's good to get the recognition.
I'm going to take a week off. I'm still in California and will be until Thursday. I'll be hanging out with some friends and enjoying life. I trained so hard for these fights. If you do it the right way, it's a very draining, demanding profession. I put in the work, and now it's time to relax a little bit. I'll be back in the gym in a week, though. I want to work on my technique and address the things I might have done wrong or things I need to fix. I like to stay in shape so it's not an issue during training camps.
For further reading on Nick Newell, one of our contributors, Kevin Nicholson aka Nick PT, has done a great write up on his submission skill. Kevin is a licensed physical therapist and weighs in frequently from a medical professional's point of view. You can check that out here.
You can follow Nick via his Twitter account, @NotoriousNewell