What started out as a mind-blowing card with four championship bouts has been steadily downgraded to an awesome card with a mere three championship fights over the last month. Bummer, right? Wrong! Are you kidding me? “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg” promises to be the most electrifying, fascinating and talked about event in promotion history.
It seems like it’s been five years now that this fight between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos has been brewing. Obviously I’m exaggerating, but who won’t be excited when these two femme fatales touch gloves at the HP Pavilion in San Jose? A show of hands please……. [crickets chirping]. It’s going to be a good one fight fans.
And how can you forget Babalu vs. Mousasi, or Melendez vs. Ishida, or even Taylor vs. Hieron. My MMA faithful, come along with me as I dare to take a closer look at what promises to be one of the most exhilarating events of the year.
Gina Carano vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos
There are quite a few people out there that seem to hold the opinion that Cyborg may very well rip the flesh from Carano’s face and wear it back to Brazil with her, I’m not one of them.
Santos is a scary woman, I’ll give her that. Does she have the skills to pay the bills? Absolutely. The Chute Boxe trained assassin possesses an intimidating, somewhat masculine physique, and not only does she look the part, she drops bombs like Hiroshima.
This writer feels like many fans may be judging these books by their covers, and that could wind up being a costly mistake if you’re planning on being a betting man this Saturday evening. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times with Carano. Don’t let the pretty face fool you. She’s the goods and she will prove it against in the toughest challenge of her career up until this point.
It makes me chuckle when I hear people talk about how Cyborg is going to brutalize Carano. Do they forget how it took Santos three rounds to finally finish off an absolutely one-dimensional Hitomi Akano in the imposing Brazilian’s last bout. You know, the one where she out-weighed the poor girl by a good 10-15 pounds. The same girl that had never managed to rack up a single KO or TKO win in the course of her twenty plus fight career.
Let’s go back one bout further, when this ferocious killing machine was extended to the judges scorecards against Yoko Takahashi. Another one dimensional submission fighter, this one managing a record of 15-10-1, yet somehow she managed to make it to the final bell with this beast of a woman.
But oh yeah, Cyborg is going to maul Carano all over the cage on Saturday night and knock her senseless. Give me a break. Gina is a far cry from Yoko “Random Japanese Fighter” Takahashi. Lets just see how well Cyborg does when she’s in against a punching bag that can punch and kick back with the kind of force and velocity that only Gina can deliver.
Let’s not forget for a second folks, the only reason Carano hasn’t knocked out all of her opponents senseless is because they don’t want any part of the stand-up with her. She kicks like a man, and punches a little harder. Her technique is much more sound, compact and polished than Cyborg’s and heaven forbid they end up on the ground. Let’s not forget that Cyborg HAS lost in her career and it was by submission. I’m just saying.
Winner: Gina Carano via knockout
Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Gegard Mousasi
Without question this is the one fight I am looking forward to more than any other on this card. Mainly because me and a dear friend of mine that shall remain nameless have been vigorously debating who we feel will win this bout and why for over a month now, and I’ll be glad to put this argument to bed. Mainly beacuse I’m right.
My friend (an extremely knowledgeable guy) feels like Babalu will take Gegard’s lunch money and give him a much needed learning experience at this early point in his career. I feel as if Gegard is gong to use Sobral as a platform and highlight the fact that you CAN NOT be one dimensional in this game any longer.
Not as though Babalu is completely one-dimensional, or that he has nothing to offer in the stand-up department, but his striking game grows more and more outdated as the sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve. I’m just saying, the last time Babalu stopped anyone by legitimate knockout or TKO was when he soccer kicked Brad Kohler in the back of the head at a RINGS event way back in January of 2000. That was like a decade ago!
If Renato has shown one thing in the course of his career it’s that he can be clipped. It happened twice with Chuck Liddell, and although I know Babalu supporters would like to, how can you forget the embarrassing knockout at the hands of Jason Lambert in 2007? On that note, do not sleep on Gegard’s stand-up arsenal. A boxer by origin, Mousasi got involved with kickboxing, and eventually MMA solely due to the fact that there was no money to be made in professional boxing in the country he was from. Regardless, striking is his heart, and he showed it in his K-1 debut on New Years Eve 2008 in Japan when he demolished an enormously more experienced kickboxer in Musashi within just one round.
While Babalu’s vicious submission arsenal should present a series of problems for Mousasi, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is not the top ten light-heavyweight my good friend believes he is, and Gegard should look good while securing the biggest “name” win of his career and further establishing himself as one of the most complete fighters in the business.
Just remember when you watch Mousasi handle a dangerous veteran like Sobral on Saturday night that the newly crowned champion is a mere 24 years of age. Still a baby in this sport.
Winner: Gegard Mousasi via TKO
Gilbert Melendez vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida
I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you guys this one has the potential to be the fight of the night. The first fight between the two was comparable to watching paint dry in my opinion, largely due to Ishida choosing to employ a one-dimensional, “take him down and hold him down” style. Hey, it worked for him then, but it’s not going to this time.
On the bright side of things, I definitely anticipate this bout between the two to be far more entertaining than the first based largely on what I believe to be Melendez’ evolution and progression as a mixed martial artist.
An important fact to take not of in this one is that Ishida is coming back from a TKO defeat while Melendez is returning after an impressive knockout victory. While I anticipate this one going to the distance, anything can happen, and what I mean by that is ‘Melendez might knock him out’. They’re going the distance: final answer.
Winner: Melendez via unanimous decision
Jay Hieron vs. Jesse Taylor
Would Diaz vs. Riggs have been super awesome? Of course it would have been, but there’s no use in crying over spilt milk in this world. What we do have is an extremely interesting match-up between two top flight welterweights that should end up being quite a battle.
JT Money has been on an absolute rampage since his days acting like a complete moron at The Ultimate Fighter house, winning his last seven bouts in impressive fashion. Hieron has long been considered to be a force at welterweight, but has always lacked that one big win to push him to the upper crust of the division.
This bout will be a very interesting fight as the winner automatically becomes a very relevant force in the Strikeforce welterweight division overnight.
Winner: Jesse Taylor via unanimous decision
Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Kyle
A much more dangerous fight for Werdum than may initially meet the eye. Kyle has made a career of putting fully grown men to sleep and has a reputation for punching like a Mac-Truck. Of course, Werdum is coming back from a horribly disappointing knockout loss in the UFC at the fists of Junior dos Santos and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds against a fearsome striker such as Kyle.
With that said, Werdum is on a whole different level on the ground, and he should manage to get Kyle to the canvas and have his way with him. He just can’t fool himself into thinking that he’s some sort of kickboxer any longer. If you’re good at something, stick to it. I expect for Werdum to do just that in this one.
Winner: Werdum via sumbmission