Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal LowKick.com Staff PredictionsPosted on December 17, 2011, 12:06 PM by Anton Gurevich
Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal
Top Prediction: Melendez via TKO in Round 3
Anton Gurevich: Obviously, Gilbert Melendez is a clear favorite in this fight. The reigning Strikeforce Lightweight champ paid his dues against some of the best fighters this division has to offer, proving he’s one of the best 155’ers on the planet. Yet, I feel like Masvidal is the man to defeat “El Nino”. Masvidal has an excellent striking game and in-cage tactics that could cause troubles even to some of the most experienced fighters in the game. I’ll roll the dice for an upset here, Jorge Masvidal via KO/TKO in Round 4.
Trent Reinsmith: Many see Jorge Masvidal as the biggest test of Gilbert Melendez’s Strikeforce Lightweight title reign. While this may be true, I just don’t see Masvidal getting past Melendez. Masvidal is the stronger of the two fighters, but his striking style is a counter striking style and that will not bode well for him if Melendez comes out and sets a relentless pace. Add to that, the only advantage that Masvidal has is in striking, which leads one to believe that Melendez will look to take this fight to the ground via his wrestling. Melendez by decision.
Cristiane Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka
Top Prediction: Cyborg via TKO in Round 1
Anton Gurevich: Yamanaka is a very interesting challenge for the female MMA bulldozer in Cris Cyborg. She has an excellent striking game, fantastic submission skills, and a very good clinch that could frustrate Cyborg at the fence. But at the end of the day, Cyborg is Cybog, and Hiroko Yamanaka knows just like anyone else that she has to fight the best fight of her life to defeat the Brazilian legend. I like surprises, but I don’t think we’ll get one here. Cris Santos via TKO in Round 2.
Trent Reinsmith: The odds in this fight are pretty ridiculous. Cyborg is coming in at -1000, while Yamanaka is +600. Cyborg has not fought since June of last year, while Yamanaka is coming off a July 9 victory. Yamanaka has one advantage in this bout and that is her height and reach. With that being said, despite the fact that she may be one of the top fighters in the 145-pound division, she doesn’t stand much of a chance against Cyborg’s powerful striking. Santos by second round TKO.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux
Top Prediction: Mousasi via KO/TKO in Round 3
Anton Gurevich: Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi is without a doubt one of the best Light Heavyweights on the planet. The Dutchman is a well-rounded fighter with a skillset that could challenge anyone of the current 205 elite. To prove his worth, Gegard Mousasi will have to defeat the physically stronger Ovince St. Preux, who will be looking to make a statement against the former Strikeforce champion. OSP’s wrestling makes him a very tough match-up for Mousasi, but I believe that “The Dreamcatcher’s” experience will be a deciding factor in this encounter. This is a very tough fight to pick, and I won’t be surprised if OSP gets the “W” here, but I’ll go with the betting lines picking Gegard Mousasi via TKO in Round 3.
Trent Reinsmith: It’s hard to believe that Mousasi, with his record of 31-3-2 is still only 26 years old. Mousasi is one of the most relaxed and detached fighters this side of Fedor. His calm and cool nature allows him to react well and thing through his options. He’ll need that when he faces OSP who will most likely look to avoid the stand-up of Mousasi by taking him to the mat where he may have more of a chance. However, I don’t see him able to grind the victory out over Mousasi, who has 10 submission wins to his name. Mousasi by second round submission.
KJ Noons vs. Billy Evangelista
Top Prediction: Noons via Decision
Anton Gurevich: I think KJ Noons will look to prove a point after a disappointing defeat to Jorge Masvidal. With a third consecutive defeat on his record, Noons would find himself far, far away from the mix for a shot at the Strikeforce Lightweight title, and perhaps an opportunity to redeem himself against Jorge Masvidal. Billy Evangelista is more than a game opponent for KJ Noons, but I’ll go with the favorite in this one as well. Noons via a dominant decision.
Trent Reinsmith: In an interesting turn, both of these fighters are coming off unanimous decision losses to the man that will be fighting in the main event Jorge Masvidal. Odds are that this one will stay standing since neither fighter has ever pulled out a submission victory. Of the two Noons is the more accomplished striker, so look for him to take the win, but don’t expect a (T)KO. Noons by decision.