Gaethje tipped the scales at 154.8 in advance of his five-round title defense against Newell (155) in the WSOF 11 main attraction on Saturday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Co-headliners Jon Fitch (183) and Dennis Hallman (181.2) were originally scheduled to meet at 170 pounds, but both combatants agreed to fight at a catch-weight just prior to Friday’s official weigh-in, according to a WSOF official.
A potent and aggressive striker, Grudge Training Center’s Gaehtje has secured nine of his 11 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout. The 25-year-old Safford, Ariz., native captured the vacant World Series of Fighting lightweight championship at WSOF 8 in January, when he wiped out Richard Patishnock with elbows and punches 69 seconds into the first round of their encounter. Gaethje has gone the distance just once and has never fought beyond 15 minutes.
A congenital amputee whose left arm ends just below the elbow, Newell staked his claim as the No. 1 contender at 155 pounds with consecutive guillotine choke submissions. The 24-year-old sports 10 first-round finishes among his 11 career wins. Newell last competed at WSOF 7 in December, when his first-round guillotine stopped Sabah Fadai at the PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Like Gaethje, he has never had a fight go past three rounds.
WSOF “Gaethje vs. Newell” -- which will air live on NBC at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT -- will also feature a lightweight clash pitting American Top Team’s Melvin Guillard (*157.2) against two-time K-1 Hero’s grand prix winner Gesias Cavalcante (155.6) and a bantamweight scrap pairing Pablo Alfonso (136) with Cody Bollinger (138.4). Two hours prior, NBCSports.com will stream four preliminary bouts: Jake Heun (205) vs. Kendrick Miree (204.8), Neiman Gracie (176) vs. Dustin Holyko (175.8), Jose Caceres (173.6) vs. Walber Brito de Barros (174.8) and Muhammed DeReese (206.2) vs. Rashaun Spencer (200.8).
WSOF 11 ‘GAETHJE VS. NEWELL’ WEIGH-IN RESULTS:
Justin Gaethje (154.8) vs. Nick Newell (155)
*Jon Fitch (183) vs. Dennis Hallman (181.2)
Melvin Guillard (**157.2) vs. Gesias Cavalcante (155.6)
Pablo Alfonso (136) vs. Cody Bollinger (***138.4)
Jake Heun (205) vs. Kendrick Miree (204.8)
Neiman Gracie (176) vs. Dustin Holyko (175.8)
Jose Caceres (173.6) vs. Walber Brito de Barros (174.8)
Muhammed DeReese (206.2) vs. Rashaun Spencer (200.8)
*Fitch and Hallman agreed to meet at a catch-weight ahead of weigh-ins
** Guillard failed to make weight and will forfeit a percentage of his purse
*** Bollinger failed to make weight and will forfeit a percentage of his purse