The World Series of Fighting has been quick to find another opponent for Jon Fitch for their July 5 event in the wake of the unfortunate injury withdrawal of Jake Shields. Fitch will now have a rubber match against fellow veteran Josh Burkman at WSOF 11.
Shields had been slated to make his promotional debut against Fitch in what shaped up as an intriguing grappling battle between two former UFC welterweight title challengers. The first bout for Shields under his new multi-fight contract will now have to wait a few months after he sustained a shoulder injury while training.
It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for Fitch, who is now on his third opponent for this event. He was originally slated to fight for the title against newly-minted welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares. However, the Brazilian submission specialist withdrew to tend to his ailing mother. Now after the withdrawal of Shields, he gets an opportunity for revenge against Burkman.
Fitch was given a rude awakening in his promotional debut, after a lengthy 18-fight UFC tenure, when he was submitted by “The People’s Warrior” in just 41 seconds at WSOF 3. Fitch rebounded from that disappointing setback by earning a split-decision victory over Marcelo Alfaya in his last fight at WSOF 6.
Burkman, a fellow UFC alum of 10 Octagon appearances, has gone 4-1 during his WSOF tenure. That lone loss came in a title fight when he was submitted by Steve Carl. The victory over Fitch has been the highlight so far. Burkman was able to even the score for a submission loss suffered against Fitch back in 2006 when they were competing in the UFC. Burkman’s last effort was an explosive first-round knockout of Tyler Stinson at WSOF 9.
This should be a solid matchup between two seasoned veterans who have a combined 70 career fights between them. They’ve faced top competition during their respective careers and are very familiar with one another. The winner of this contest will have a serious claim to earning a future WSOF title shot.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports