Nick Diaz (c) vs Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos
Daniel Cassidy: While Cyborg might not be of the same calibre as the Strikeforce Champ, he is a veteran who deserves the shot as much as anyone over there. While Cyborg will look to stand, Nick is clearly the better striker. I expect Diaz to pick up the win relatively easily, using his effective boxing before looking for the bigger shot to finish it and leaving as he enters, the Welterweight Champion. Diaz via R2 TKO.
Anton Gurevich: Unlike KJ Noons, Cyborg Santos will not look to get into a stand-up war of attrition with Nick Diaz. I expect the Brazilian to pressure the Champ, be aggressive in the clinch and force Nick Diaz to take the fight to the ground. Will Nick Diaz submit Cyborg Santos? Somehow, I doubt it. I have a very strong feeling that Cyborg might pull this one off, and steal the belt from Nick Diaz. Cyborg Santos via TKO in Round 3.
Joey Santosus: Although Cyborg’s record can be deceiving, he is a legitimate threat to the Welterweight champ. Nick Diaz is known for his unmatched cardio, so the heavy-handed Brazilian will likely look to hit him hard early-on. And while Santos could find success with this strategy, it is more likely that he will tire himself out trying to put away the extremely durable Champion. Expect an accumulation of peppering shots to become to much for Cyborg as the bout progresses. Nick Diaz via 3rd Rnd TKO.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (c) vs “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
Daniel Cassidy: With the middleweight title on the line, I expect this to be a very hard fought scrap! While Jacare clearly wants the fight to hit the mat, Lawler will be trying to stand. Classic “striker vs Grappler” scenario. In this fight, I’m gonna call the upset. I honestly think the former UFC fighter has the hands to put Jacare to sleep early. I think Lawler will continue his current form, and catch Jacare. Lawler via KO R1.
Anton Gurevich: Jacare already proved himself against a top-class wrestler in Matt Lindland, and showed everyone he can fight for five rounds on his feet against Tim Kennedy. Robbie Lawler has a tough challenge ahead of him, but he definitely has the right knockout to knock the Strikeforce Middleweight Title off Souza’s waist. Lawler’s ability to defend takedowns and work in the clinch will be a crucial factor in this fight, as Jacare Souza will constantly try to take the fight into his comfort zone. It’s a very close match-up, but I will pick Jacare to get a Decision in this one.
Joey Santosus: While his dramatic 50 second knockout victory over veteran Matt Lindland was an impressive display of power, Lawler typically struggles against opponents who are crafty enough to avoid his heavy hands. I suspect Souza will be one of those opponents. Jacare’s stand-up has come along well enough to hold his own and once things hit the ground it won’t take long for the Brazilian to find an opening. Ronaldo Souza via 2nd Rnd Submission.
Herschel Walker vs Scott Carson
Daniel Cassidy: With Walker being such a big draw for Strikeforce, I’d be shocked to see them put him against someone he couldn’t beat. Even at 48, Walker looks well rounded and will finish the fight with Ground and Pound. Walker via R2 TKO.
Anton Gurevich: Both fighters have not much to sell in terms of records and accomplishments in Mixed Martial Arts. However, I think that Herschel Walker’s excellent physical shape and the fact that he trains at the American Kickboxing Academy will help him to win this fight. Walker via TKO in Round 3.
Joey Santosus: At nearly 50 years old, Walker appears to be well conditioned and confident in his abilities. His opponent, Scott Carson, is 40 years old and outside of a one-sided TKO loss, has not fought in almost a decade. Carson does however, have a few submission victories under his belt. With that said, as long as Walker doesn’t leave himself vulnerable to being caught in a hold, he should make it out of this one with his second professional victory. Herschel Walker via Decision.
Trevor Prangley vs Roger Gracie
Daniel Cassidy: It’s really hard to pick against a Gracie, especially arguably the greatest BJJ practitioner the family has produced. While Prangley might be coming off the biggest win of his career, I believe if Tim Kennedy can choke out the South African, so too can Gracie. Gracie via R2 Sub.
Anton Gurevich: Trevor Prangley is a well-rounded fighter, who fought against some of the best in the sport. Experience will play a key factor in this bout, as I expected Prangley to be successful in his mission to keep the fight on the feet. Roger Gracie had a great performance against Kevin Randleman in his last fight, but in my opinion Prangley is a whole different story. My pick is Prangley via TKO in Round 3.
Joey Santosus: Trevor Prangley is a tough competitor with a well-rounded skill-set. Against Roger Gracie however, he will have to do his best to ensure he does not end up in a grappling match with the world-class BJJ black-belt. This will be easier said then done though, as Prangley’s striking has never been his primary weapon. Expect Gracie to take his back and cut off his air supply sooner rather than later. Roger Gracie via 1st Round Submission.
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