All eyes will be on Tyrone Spong. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
No fighter on the World Series of Fighting roster inspires more intrigue than Tyrone Spong, a seasoned and decorated kickboxer who has brought his world-class striking skills to the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Spong will meet reigning Tachi Palace Fights light heavyweight champion Angel DeAnda in the WSOF 4 main event on Saturday at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The 27-year-old Suriname-born Dutchman made his mixed martial arts debut in November, when he knocked out Travis Bartlett in a little more than three minutes.
Nicknamed “King of the Ring,” Spong trains out of the star-studded Blackzilians camp in Florida. The Ernesto Hoost protégé owns a 72-6-1 record as a professional kickboxer.
“At the age of 13, I started kickboxing in Amsterdam,” Spong told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” program in June. “It was actually by coincidence. I was walking down the street in my neighborhood. I was living in a pretty rough neighborhood and I heard some noise. I was walking by a garage, and I heard a guy straining and I walked in, and that was the first time that I saw kickboxing training. I looked for a while and I went home and grabbed some shorts. I thought, ‘I can do this.’ I was a pretty tough kid. I liked fighting on the street. I would always end up in fights on the street, and I thought it was the same thing, but I got my ass whooped and I couldn’t take that.
“Actually, that’s how my motivation started out for kickboxing,” he added. “From that day on, I didn’t miss practice [for] a year, and after a year, I had my first fight. I was 15 when I had my first fight and I won by knockout in the first round.”
DeAnda will carry a four-fight winning streak into his promotional debut. He last appeared at Tachi Palace Fights 15 in November, when he put away Anthony Ruiz with third-round punches at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif. A Last Stand Fight Team representative, DeAnda has secured 10 of his 11 career wins by knockout or technical knockout.
With the Spong-DeAnda showdown as the centerpiece and the undercard streaming live on Sherdog.com, here are 15 facts surrounding World Series of Fighting 4:
FACT: The Citizens Bank Arena, which can seat more than 11,000 people, opened on Oct. 18, 2008 at a cost of $130 million. It was designed by Rossetti, the same Michigan-based architectural firm behind Ford Field -- the 65,000-seat home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
FACT: Spong was born in Suriname, a country in South American which encompasses roughly 63,000 square miles and hugs the northern border of Brazil.
FACT: DeAnda has finished eight fights inside one round, four of them in less than a minute.
FACT: Tyson Griffin was the first man to ever defeat former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber, having done so under the Gladiator Challenge banner in September 2005.
FACT: Blackzilians representative Gesias Cavalcante has not won back-to-back fights since beating Vitor Ribeiro and Andre Amado on the same day -- Sept. 27, 2007 -- to capture his second straight K-1 Hero’s middleweight grand prix title. The 30-year-old has gone 3-6 with two no-contests in 11 appearances since.
FACT: At age 42, Ray Sefo is not the oldest fighter on the WSOF 4 roster. That distinction belongs to former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Antonio McKee, who was born 11 months and three days before him.
FACT: Heavyweight Dave Huckaba has competed for 12 different promotions during his 25-bout career: Gladiator Challenge, Xtreme International Kombat, EliteXC, Palace Fighting Championship, King of the Cage, International Fighting Championship, Rebel Fighter, Shark Fights, Tachi Palace Fights, Bellator MMA, Cage Combat Fighting Championships and West Coast Fighting Championship.
FACT: Onetime Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago has been cut loose by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on three different occasions.
FACT: Gerald Harris has held titles in the Shark Fights and Freestyle Cage Fighting organizations.
FACT: Fast-rising bantamweight Marlon Moraes is one of two World Series of Fighting competitors currently ranked in the top 10 in the world at their chosen weight. Josh Burkman is the other, at 170 pounds.
FACT: Despite a congenital amputation -- his left arm ends just after the elbow -- undefeated lightweight Nick Newell wrestled collegiately at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., where he captained the team twice.
FACT: Idaho-based newcomer Brandon Hempleman has a background in gymnastics.
FACT: “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 alum Keon Caldwell has not fought in two years and 11 days.
FACT: A former King of the Cage champion, Jared Papazian has gone five rounds three times in his career, losing to Jimmie Rivera before beating Abel Cullum and Marvin Garcia back in 2011.
FACT: Hans Stringer battled current Bellator light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh to a draw in February 2011. The 27-year-old Vegh has gone 9-0 since.