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Breaking It Down: Strikeforce Grand Prix Final

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix is finally coming to an end tonight, and although it’s going to be a short one, it’s time for my breakdown of the card. First, some quick preliminary picks…

James Terry defeats Bobby Green via Unanimous Decision
Quinn Mulhern defeats Yuri Villefort via Submission Round 3
Gian Villante defeats Derrick Mehmen via Unanimous Decision
Virgil Zwicker defeats Guto Inocente via Knockout Round 1
Gesias Cavalcante defeats Issac Vallie-Flagg via TKO Round 2

Now it’s time to show some love to the main card…

Nah-Shon Burrell (8-1) vs. Chris Spang (4-1)

I’m surprised this bout made the main card, especially with Cavalcante/Vallie-Flagg out there for the picking. However, it should be a damn good fight, as Burrell is a tough and very solid prospect, while Spang brings a lot to the cage as well. Spang will likely pressure Burrell early, but in the end Nah-Shon is getting a TKO win and a boost in that hilariously structured Strikeforce welterweight division.

Winner – Nah-Shon Burrell defeats Chris Spang via TKO Round 2

Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (11-3) vs. Mike Kyle (19-8-1)

A rematch from an early Strikeforce bout features former champ “Feijao” taking on the hard hitting, hard headed Kyle. While both men are more than capable of stopping an opponent violently, as Kyle did to “Feijao” in their first meeting, Feijao is likely the better striker. Not to take anything away from Kyle, but Cavalcante looked terrible in that bout, and since then, he has taken training more seriously, and if he’s fully prepared, he’ll exact his revenge.

Winner – Rafael Cavalcante defeats Mike Kyle via Knockout Round 2

Gilbert Melendez (20-2) vs. Josh Thomson (19-4)

In the rubber match, “El Nino” and “The Punk” finally determine once and for all who is the better fighter. While both have improved since their previous meetings, it comes down to a question of just who is the better fight. Expect Melendez to take control early, and maintain that control for a full 25 minutes. Thomson is a fantastic fighter, and likely UFC bound in the future, but he won’t have much to offer Gil.

Winner – Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson via Unanimous Decision

Josh Barnett (31-5) vs. Daniel Cormier (9-0)

There are so many factors in this bout that could play out tonight. Will the explosiveness and speed of Cormier lead him to victory? Will the experience of Barnett give him the advantage? Who will have the better gameplan, and will it even matter? I see Cormier putting the pressure on early, but I can’t imagine Barnett fading. Josh will use his deceptive strength to trip Cormier from a clinch late in the fight, and from there, it’s all Barnett. Cormier is the future at heavyweight, but Barnett is likely just too good.

Winner – Josh Barnett defeats Daniel Cormier via Submission Round 3

Catch all the action tonight at 8:00 PM EST on Showtime Extreme for the preliminary card, and 10:00 PM EST for the main card on Showtime. Enjoy the fights!