The red-hot Smith has won 10 consecutive bouts – 7 by way of submission – since suffering a lone defeat in his professional debut on Aug. 21, 2009. In his last start on July 14, 2012, Smith earned a unanimous decision over D’Juan Owens.
Born in Sarasota, Fla., Smith is a lifelong athlete who competed in both wrestling and football before turning down several offers from NCAA Division II schools that would allow him to continue his football career.
In 2007, Smith turned shifted his focus exclusively to MMA with dreams of becoming a champion. After amassing a 5-1 record under amateur status, he turned pro and hasn’t look back since.
Smith’s opponent, Sanders, will put a nine-fight win streak on the line. The 33-year-old has finished his last three opponents – two by way of submission and the third via TKO.
Tickets for the star-studded, 10-bout World Series of Fighting event, priced from $29 (plus applicable service fees), are on sale at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.
The four-bout main card will air live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
In the welterweight (170 pounds) main event and a long-awaited rematch, Jon Fitch (24-5) of Fort Wayne, Ind., will square off with fellow superstar Josh Burkman (25-9) of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The second meeting between the 35-year-old Fitch, a member of San Jose, Calif.-based Team AKA, and the 32-year-old Burkman, a winner of four consecutive fights, comes slightly more than seven years after Fitch submitted Burkman with a rear-naked choke in the second round (4:57) of their initial encounter that, coincidentally, also took place at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, streaking stars and fearsome submission aces Tyson Steele (10-1) of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada and Steve Carl (19-3) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa will face off at welterweight.
Also slated for battle on the main card is heavyweight rising star and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Rolles Gracie (8-1) of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, who will face off with hard-hitting KO artist Dave Huckaba (20-5) of Sacramento, Calif. All 8 of Gracie’s career victories have come by way of submission and 16 of Huckaba’s 20 career wins have come by way of (T)KO.
Undefeated prospect Justin Gaethje (8-0) of Denver, Colo. will collide with Brian Cobb (20-7) of Bakersfield, Calif., in a lightweight (155 pounds) contest and the first televised main card bout of the night.
In preliminary card action, battle-tested submission specialist John Gunderson (34-14) of Houston, Tex. will be pitted against Dan Lauzon (16-4) of Bridgewater, Mass. in another lightweight tilt. All 16 of Lauzon’s professional career victories have come by way of (T)KO or submission.
Grappling wizards Lyle Beerbohm (21-2) of Spokane, Wash. and Jacob Volkmann (15-4) of White Bear Lake, Minn. will meet at lightweight.
Carson Beebe (13-2) of Schaumburg, Ill. will face undefeated submission ace Joe Murphy (6-0) of Huntington Beach, Calif. in a bantamweight (135 pounds) tilt.
Fellow undefeated prospects Krasimir Mladenov (9-0) of Borica, Bulgaria and Kendrick Miree (5-0) of Atlanta, Ga., will square off at middleweight (185 pounds).
Brenson Hansen (4-1) of Las Vegas will battle Josh Montalvo (2-1) of San Benito, Texas in a featherweight matchup.
Doors at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open at 4:30 p.m. PT and the first preliminary card bout will begin at 5:30 p.m.
ABOUT WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING Based in Las Vegas, Nev., the fight capital of the world, World Series of Fighting is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight promotion dedicated to delivering an incredible, action-packed entertainment experience for fight fans by producing the best possible matchups between elite fighters from around the globe. For more information please visit www.WSOF.com. Follow World Series of Fighting on Twitter @MMAWorldSeries and World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo @SugarRaySefo.
About The Joint The Joint is a 4,000-person capacity venue that serves as a sophisticated, intimate and unparalleled entertainment destination. The Joint features seven Luxury Suites, a VIP Studio Level, state-of-the-art sound system, superior video system and a production package tailor-made for artist comfort. It has received numerous accolades including “Best Concert Venue” in Las Vegas Review – Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards 2010 – 2012, “Best Music Venue” in 2012 Las Vegas Weekly Awards, “No. 1 Hottest Club in America” award by Billboard Magazine in 2011, “Best Live Music Venue in Las Vegas” by MetroWize.com in 2011, “Best New Major Concert Venue” at the 2010 Pollstar Awards, and “Best Live Music Venue” in AOL City’s Best 2010 awards. The Joint delivers unforgettable live music experiences with performances by both legendary and ground-breaking artists including Paul McCartney, The Killers, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Arcade Fire, Avenged Sevenfold, Rise Against, Paramore, Muse, Drake and No Doubt. The venue created the successful concept of rock ‘n’ roll residencies with Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits, Mötley Crüe in Sin City, Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Democracy and Def Leppard VIVA Hysteria! as well as Tiësto In Concert, featuring the world’s No. 1 electronic DJ and producer Tiësto. For additional information, visit www.thejointlasvegas.comor call 702.693.5583 or 702.693.5000.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS NETWORK NBC Sports Network, part of the NBC Sports Group, is dedicated to serving passionate sports fans. Now in more than 80 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the Summer and Winter Olympics, National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France and the 34th America’s Cup, and beginning in 2013, the Premier League and Formula One. In addition, NBC Sports Network features college football, college basketball, college hockey, outdoor programming, horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup, Fight Night boxing, Ironman, the Dew Action Sports Tour and USA Sevens Rugby. The network is also home to original programs such as Costas Tonight, The Crossover, NFL Turning Point, Pro Football Talk and The Dan Patrick Show. NBC Sports Network is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.