This Saturday, the World Series of Fighting returns to NBC Sports with its 12th card to date. Headlined by lightweights Luis Palomino and Lewis Gonzalez, the card is looking to entertain fans and further draw attention.
The card also possesses names like UFC veteran Ronny Markes, Bellator vet Alexis Vila and WSOF middleweight tournament participant Elvis Mutapcic. Though these aren't the biggest names, it's usually these types of cards that lead to great fights.
So, what should you expect from this weekend's WSOF 12? Let's take a look at the card and give you some insight.
||Danny Davis Jr.
Top Contender on the Horizon
Though it's not confirmed, one has to assume the winner of a non-title lightweight main event in WSOF would become the top contender to Justin Gaethje's title. With that in mind, the bout between Lewis Gonzalez and Luis Palomino is extremely important.
Neither man is a huge name in this sport. Palomino is best known for his stint in Bellator, while Gonzalez was an unknown before beating down Antonio McKee.
Both men are now front and center on the national stage. It's a bout that many people question as the main event of a major organization, but it is likely to be entertaining.
This fight will be exciting and important to the WSOF's lightweight division going forward.
Established Vets vs. Hungry Up-and-Comers
UFC vet Ronny Markes and WSOF vet Elvis Mutapcic are established vets set to take on hungry up-and-comers Cully Butterfield and Kelvin Tiller, respectively. They are interesting matchups that could have some big implications in their divisions.
It's organizations like WSOF that make stars in this sport, as they turn little-known fighters into widely known commodities. Guys like Gaethje, Marlon Moraes and others are just a couple of the fighters who have gained great momentum since starting with the company.
Now, fighters like Butterfield, Tiller and Mutapcic have a chance to push their stock through the ceiling. Impressive performances and big wins are ways for these guys to get their names more recognized.
Strong at 43
Cuban-born fighter Alexis Vila is a professional MMA fighter. He is also 43 years old. That is astonishing, considering MMA is a young man's game.
He has fought several times in WSOF, but his biggest claim to fame is knocking Joe Warren senseless in Bellator. Since then, he has failed to find great consistency, but he has still been a strong competitor.
He now takes on Brandon Hempleman, a tough-as-nails fighter who earned his WSOF spot with a gritty performance. He took some of Moraes's best shots and kept coming back for more.
Vila's combination of wrestling and power punching is vital to his game. Can he put down Hempleman, or will the younger buck get a major win on his resume?
Weak TV Ratings
Unfortunately, WSOF should expect some low TV ratings Saturday night. Even with the UFC not holding a show until the 16th, the lack of name recognition really hurts WSOF.
It's a horrible way to look at things, but it's true. UFC has a bigger reach on Fox Sports 1 than WSOF has on NBC Sports, and the UFC only pulls around half a million viewers per show. WSOF will have a much grimmer outlook.
Full Card Predictions
Lewis Gonzalez over Luis Palomino
Ronny Markes over Cully Butterfield
Alexis Vila over Brandon Hempleman
Elvis Mutapcic over Kelvin Tiller
Bryson Hansen over Matt Sayles
Jimmy Spicuzza over Lucas Montoya
Jorge Lopez over Danny Davis Jr.
Cody Maltais over Adam Acquaviva
Soslan Abanakov over Bryson Gutches