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World Series of Fighting Debut Features Several Florida Fighters

This Saturday NBC Sports throws their hat into the MMA ring, or cage, with their first installment of the World Series of Fighting. This Las Vegas card is stacked with talent, both veteran MMA fighters and new comers. It features a plethora of Florida based fighters and is headlined by a heavyweight match between former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and Devin Cole.

Florida native and Blackzilian fighter Anthony Johnson (13-4), will be taking on D.J. Linderman (13-3). Johnson was once a highly coveted welterweight prospect in the UFC due to his wrestling background and powerful striking. Johnson went 7-4 in the promotion, but was released due to problems making weight. Johnson has since move up to Light Heavyweight and has worked through his weight cutting problems. Linderman promises to be a favorable match for Johnson as both are primarily stand up fighters, and Johnson thrives in striking wars.

When it comes to striking there are few better than kickboxing champion Tyrone Sponge (0-0). After compiling a 68-6 record in professional kickboxing, Sponge has decided to move into MMA and has been training in Miami with the Blackzilians. Success in pure striking has not always translated into success in MMA, but it will most likely hinge on how much skill he has acquired on the ground during his time in Miami. Sponge has been matched with Travis Bartlett (7-2), who is also primarily striker, and it is good fight for him to cut his teeth and promises to be crowd pleasing.

Also fighting from the Blackzilians camp is JZ Cavalcante (16-6-1), a veteran of K-1 MMA, Dream and Strikeforce. Cavalcante has been a slump recently but is looking to rebound against midwestern warrior T.J. O'Brien (18-5). Finally on the first fight of the card two Coconut Creek residents will clash as Waylon Lowe (13-4) of American Top Team will take on Fabio Mello (11-6) of Imperial Athletics.

The card will air live on NBC sports starting at 7pm this Saturday and is the network's first foray into Mixed Martial Arts.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.