We’ve got ourselves a big MMA event coming up this weekend with the EliteXC/Strikeforce co-promoted Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le card. Some of the staff of 5 Oz. is here to give you their picks and why they think they’re winners. Let’s do the damn thing.
Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le (Strikeforce 185 lbs. Title)
Adam Morgan: If Frank Shamrock does what he says he’s going to do, which is stand with Cung Le, he may be in trouble. Frank thinks his hands and feet are better than Cung’s but he’s dead wrong. Cung is fast, unorthodox, and powerful. If Frank stands with Cung Le for too long, it could be lights out for Frank. That being said, I think Frank will test the waters on the feet and ultimately realize that Cung is too much for him there and resort to his wrestling, his ground and pound, and ultimately his submission game. Frank Shamrock via submission, round three.
Michael Huckaby: I see this fight being close but not because it’s actually close. Frank Shamrock wants to put on a show and if that means not finishing Cung Le as fast as he could or standing and taking a few shots that’s exactly what he’ll do. I think Shamrock, after some unnecessary standup, will take him down and then finish when he sees fit. I don’t give Cung much of a chance at all on the ground, we’ll call it Malaipet Syndrome. I’ll believe Cung Le’s ground game when I see it. I think Shamrock’s decision will be to end this in the third round, give or take depending on his mood. Frank Shamrock, sub, Rd3.
Sam Cupitt: Frank Shamrock is a very smart fighter but he is also a showman. In all the pre-fight talk, Shamrock has spoken openly about how he wants to stand with Le as he feels his striking is superior. Like Mike said, I believe Shamrock will stand with Le if only to provide a show for the fans but the question is if Shamrock starts to get outclassed in the stand-up will he be able to take the fight to the ground? I’m very much aware we’ve seen Shamrock take fighters down before but in recent times he has been more willing to let his opponent dictate where the fight takes place. The reason for this is partly because of Shamrock’s confidence in his striking but I think it more has to do with the fact his knees are now basically made up of balsa wood and masking tape. If you remember back to the Baroni fight, Shamrock stated he couldn’t go for a takedown due to the state of his knees.
We all probably know that if this fight hits the ground it will only be a matter of time before Shamrock finds something which he’ll be able to finish the fight with but I feel as long as Cung Le doesn’t take the fight to the ground then we won’t see any ground work. So that means as long as Le doesn’t get out struck or he doesn’t slip going for a kick then the fight is there for the taking. Shamrock may have the better hands but it’d take a long time to prepare for the kind of crazy kicks Le is bringing. Even with the Caplan curse I think Le can take this. I’ve actually seen in my mind Le landing a devastating spinning back kick. Cung Le via TKO in round 3.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Gabe Lemley (Strikeforce 155 lbs. Title)
Adam Morgan: This fight has to be the biggest no-brainer on the card for me. Melendez has a near perfect record coming into this fight and is coming off a disappointing performance in a decision loss to Mitsuhiro Ishida. Both of Melendez’s opponents fell of this card, Josh Thomson and then Jorge Masvidal, so in steps Gabe Lemley. Lemley is a natural 145 lbs. fighter. He doesn’t cut any weight. He’s never been in a high profile fight. And he’s never faced someone as tenacious and as skilled as Melendez. I think Gabe has the heart to hang around for a round, but he will eventually be overwhelmed. Melendez via TKO, round two.
Michael Huckaby: Obviously everyone plans on Melendez controlling the action and I have no evidence to argue that. Lemley is probably better than people give him credit for and he’ll hang in there as he knows this is his chance for a big breakout win. Unfortunately, Melendez is just too much. Gilbert Melendez, TKO, Rd2.
Sam Cupitt: Melendez wants to get back to his winning ways and Lemley is taking a giant step up in class above his best weight class. I fully expect that once Melendez settles after poking around for a bit then he will just explode and take out Lemley very quickly. Gilbert Melendez via TKO in round 1.
Ryan Jensen vs. Joey Villasenor
Adam Morgan: Ryan Jensen is a last second replacement here and Villasenor has been training for Cyborg for the past few weeks. This could turn out to be one of the more entertaining fights all evening with neither fighter having a chance to really train for the other’s style. Jensen likes to submit people on the ground but has problems with better grapplers. Luckily for Jensen, Villasenor is no grappling master, but he does possess knockout power and he is not afraid to stand and trade. I have to think that Villasenor has been training hard and is in good condition coming out of Greg Jackson’s camp, so he will have the edge when it comes to cardio. Plus all the top level guys that train there and that he’s been training with give him an edge as well. I like Jensen as a replacement and as a possible upset, but I think the edge goes to Villasenor in this bout due to his camp and conditioning. Joey Villasenor via unanimous decision.
Michael Huckaby: Poor Joey, he seemingly had a different opponent every day this week. Which at times wouldn’t be a problem but at such a high level preparing for your opponent’s style is crucial. Jensen is alot better than he showed in his UFC outings but Villasenor is just at too high of a level for him. I’m just not sure if Joey can finish or not. Joey Villasenor, decision.
Sam Cupitt: When I first watched sat down to watch Villansenor against Murilo Rua I wasn’t really expecting much from him. Even though he got stopped in the second round, he showed enough in the 1st round to suggest he’d be a very tough opponent for the majority of fighters out there. Ryan Jensen is in that majority. If I remember correctly Jensen showed some decent hands against Thales Leites early before getting submitted but in this fight I think Jensen will get caught up trying to go for the takedown too much and will neglect the idea of engaging. I expect to see Villasenor hurting Jensen on his way in and out of the clinch concluding with Jensen collapsing after a good couple of knees. Villasenor via TKO in round 2.
Drew Fickett vs. Jae Suk Lim
Adam Morgan: Drew Fickett was supposed to fight Jake Shields. Jae Suk Lim was supposed to fight Nick Diaz. Both fighters pulled out so here we are with two more fighters fighting each other on short notice. Fickett is a ground wizard and a good wrestler so he will look to take the fight to the ground immediately. Lim is a good kickboxer and the current Spirit MC middleweight champion, so he’s no pushover. He has a serviceable ground game but he’s probably not ready to deal with a wrestler the caliber of Fickett. Once Fickett puts Lim on his back, it’s only a matter of time until Fickett submits him. Drew Fickett via submission, round two.
Michael Huckaby: The CSAC decision on Diaz is disappointing as I was really looking forward to his fight with Lim. Lim would have given him a great fight as he will Fickett here. After doing some research on Korean icepicks I’ve found they’re the strongest on the globe. Not strong enough to beat Drew Fickett, but strong enough to not get finished. Drew Fickett, decision.
Sam Cupitt: I’m not really fancying this fight too much. I see this fight featuring a lot of ground control by Fickett while Lim will do enough to avoid submissions and hold Fickett in place. Fickett via unanimous decision.
Mike Kyle vs. Wayne Cole
Adam Morgan: Mike Kyle’s been set free from his suspension and his first fight back is up against former IFL fighter and former NCAA All-American wrestler Wayne Cole. If Cole can use his top notch wrestling to put Kyle on his back, he has the opportunity to dominate this fight. Unfortunately for Cole, he doesn’t like to use his wrestling unless it means keeping him on his feet. He likes to strike. And he’s not very technical. That does not bode well against someone like Mike Kyle. Both these guys have a “slug it out” mentality so it should be entertaining. But Kyle has fought the tougher guys on the bigger stage and his striking is more technical and powerful than Cole’s. Mike Kyle via TKO, round one.
Michael Huckaby: Great, Mike Kyle. I just hope they pat him down extra well before he gets into the cage. I’m really torn here, I’m not familiar enough with Wayne Cole to think he’s good enough to beat Kyle but something about a two year layoff from the cage always sticks out at you. If this gets out of the first round the chances for Cole will go up exponentially but I’ll currently bank that it won’t. Mike Kyle, TKO, Rd1.
Sam Cupitt: Ugh, Mike Kyle. A part of me wonders if Kyle has only been brought in so that he can offend the general population to such a point where he will be a worthy opponent for Kimbo to destroy. Granted, I would very much like to see Kimbo or any other fighter for that matter destroy Kyle. As you can probably tell, I’m not the biggest fan of Kyle in the world and out of principle I will not pick him to win this fight. Against better judgement I will take Cole to score a takedown and work sloppy ground and pound for round 1. Then I see both fighters gassing and Cole scoring a takedown and working even sloppier ground and pound until he eventually scores himself the sloppiest of decision wins. Cole via unanimous decision.
Untelevised Bout Picks:
Luke Stewart over Tiki Ghosn via submission, round two
Darren Uyenoyama over Anthony Figueroa via submission, round two
Jesse Jones over Jesse Gillespie via experience, round one
Luke Stewart over Ghosn via TKO, Rd2
Jesse Jones over Gillespie via decision
Darren Uyenoyama over Anthony Figueroa via sub, Rd2
Luke Stewart over Tiki Ghosn via TKO in R1.
Jesse Gillespie over Jesse Jones via unanimous decision.
Darren Uyenoyama over Anthony Figueroa via unanimous decision.