Shamrock vs. Diaz Predictions from the BloodyElbow.com Staff
Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz
Luke Thomas: In a five round affair there'd be time for Nick to grind through Shamrock's punishment to conceivably pull out a win. But that's not going to happen here. Diaz has positively lethargic takedowns with terrible level changes. And while his chin enables him to close the distance long enough to land shots, Shamrock is quicker and can out angle Diaz for three rounds. Shamrock by unanimous decision.
Kid Nate: What ever happened to the Nick Diaz who KTFO'd Robbie Lawler lo these many years ago? What ever happened to the Frank Shamrock who was a threat in all aspects of a fight? I'm thinking we'll never know but I'm not expecting either one to return on Showtime. Nick's been throwing powder puff punches for a while and still doesn't have a strong takedown game. Frank's knees are long gone so he'll need to keep this one standing but should be able to fend off Diaz' slow-motion single legs. I'm thinkin Shamrock has the power. Shamrock by KO.
Michael Rome: I have been unimpressed by Nick Diaz since his Gomi win. His striking looks to have regressed if anything, and his wrestling too. The size isn't really a factor, I just think Frank has more power and will have enough to win a decision. I don't see him finishing it. Frank Shamrock via decision.
Mike Fagan: I like this fight because I have no idea what to expect. My first instinct leans towards Shamrock, who will be bigger/stronger and have more power. But I also thought he would walk through Cung Le. Nick unfortunately hasn't done anything recently to prove that his win over Gomi wasn't a fluke (though Gomi's done little himself). In the end, I don't think his slappy, overwhelming striking style will bother Frank, and I don't see him being able to take this to the floor often enough. I'm taking Shamrock by decision.
Cannon Jacques: When this fight was first announced, I thought it was weighted in the favor of Shamrock. Now, I'm not so sure. Diaz is tall for a guy that fights at around 160, and he has a lot of reach. In short, I don't think him fighting a middleweight (at 179) is going to be a major factor. Shamrock will probably want to stand and put on a show as he did against Cung Le. Diaz can be formidable on his feet with a strong boxing game. Renzo Gracie showed that taking Shamrock down isn't an insurmountable task, and I don't think he wants to be on the mat with Diaz. My main worry is that Diaz will hold true to his recent unimpressive form. However, I'm betting that he takes this bout against a big-name opponent seriously and displays a dangerous skillset. Diaz by submission, round 3.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Rodrigo Damm
Luke Thomas: Melendez tends to unnecessarily create scrambles instead of working linear positioning, but his submission defense and wrestling will save him here. And while we've seen Damm has considerably more power than initially thought, I don't see him doing anything more than potentially dropping Melendez once or twice. Damm can win, but shouldn't. Melendez by split decision.
Kid Nate: Damm is stepping up here big time to take this fight on short notice. Gilbert Melendez should be able to beat him 7/10 times. Gilbert has the wrestling to keep the fight standing and the boxing to win it on the feet. Damm relies on dominant position on the ground and I don't think he'll be getting that against Melendez. And Gilbert trains with some great guard players at Cesar Gracie's so I don't expect him to get subb'd. Melendez by decision.
Michael Rome: I think Gilbert can probably use his wrestling to keep this standing and win it there. There's a possibility of an upset given Damm's skill on the ground, but I don't see it happening. Melendez via decision.
Mike Fagan: Props to Strikeforce for finding a quality opponent to step in on short notice. Melendez is one of those guys who's good at everything, but not great at anything. Damm's great on the floor, and there's a serious chance for an upset if he can get it there. It's hard to pick a guy who's coming in on this short of a notice though, so Melendez by decision.
Cannon Jacques: If Damm weren't coming in on short notice, I'd be tempted to take him in the upset. Not being able to fully prepare puts him in a tough situation, especially when facing someone the caliber of Melendez. Melendez by decision.
Christiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Hitomi Akano
Luke Thomas: After the weight cutting fiasco I'm not sure what to think. Ultimately I give Akano credit for having the submission ability to give Cyborg trouble, but I'm moved by the idea that Cyborg's punishment on top (especially given how much bigger she naturally is than Akano) will likely just be too much. Cyborg, TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: I expect Cyborg to have too much power for Akano in every sense of the therm. If Hitomi can get the fight to the ground she has a subber's chance, but I don't see it happening. Cyborg by KO.
Michael Rome: Akano has skills on the ground, and Cyborg has been submitted before. Still, I believe Cyborg is on a tear and is going to plow threw Akano in the first round. Cyborg via KO round 1.
Mike Fagan: I don't watch enough women's MMA to know who Akano is. I suspect this is a tune up fight for Santos while talks with Carano continue. There will probably also be value on Akano for the betting public. Santos by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: I can't say that I'm all that knowledgeable in regard to Akano beyond the fact that she's a skilled submission player. Santos was able to fight off submission attempts against Shayna Baszler, and that's impressive to me. Santos by TKO, round 2.
Brett Rogers vs. Ron Humphries
Luke Thomas: The talk on the Internet about Abongo being a legitimate heavyweight threat are grossly exaggerated. Yes, he is of considerable size and power, but his cardio is very questionable and Rogers doesn't get credit for being able to absorb punishment. This is Rogers's fight to lose. Rogers by KO, round 1.
Kid Nate: Humphries is making a big step up in competition and I don't think he's going to do well. Rogers is quick for a heavyweight and very powerful. I think they're building up Brett. Too bad Antonio Silva and Dave Herman didn't make the transition to Strikeforce from EliteXC. Rogers by KO.
Michael Rome: This is Rogers' fight to lose. Rogers via TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Brett Rogers, from Sam's Club tire installation to beating up cans. Rogers by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: It's difficult to know where Rogers is as a heavyweight since he really hasn't fought any top competition. This shouldn't be a fight that will put him to the test, either. It looks like Strikeforce is trying get some push behind "The Grim." Rogers by TKO, round 1.
Benji Radach vs. Scott Smith
Luke Thomas: There are a lot of ways to slice and dice this, but ultimately, Radach is the more likely of the two to get dropped in an exchange. Smith, generally speaking, takes punishment far better and that will be enough. Just ask Matt Horwich or Danny LaFever. Smith by KO, round 1.
Kid Nate: I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that Radach has the power to KO Smith, but I do all the same. Smith does have concrete in his gloves, but so does Radach and I've seen Smith get pressured into brawling and that will favor Benji. Radach by KO.
Michael Rome: Radach is supposedly training with Bas now, but I don't think it's going to be enough. He hasn't looked good to me in a long time, and his wild swinging battle with Ninja did nothing to assuage my doubts. Smith throws straighter punches, and I think he's more likely to catch Radach in the exchanges than vice versa. Smith via KO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Smith's more technical standing, and as Joe Rogan likes to say "is a tough dude." Expect a slugfest, and expect Smith to be left standing when the dust clears. Smith by decision.
Cannon Jacques: I certainly don't look at Smith as a top middleweight, but I do think he's good enough to pull out this fight. In the end, Smith's heavy hands will be the difference. Smith by TKO, round 3.
Preliminary Card Bouts:
Luke Rockhold vs. Buck Meredith
Luke Thomas: I expect Rockhold - a very talented up and coming fighter with noticably good ground skills - to run right over the out of practice Meredith. Strikeforce would want it no other way. Rockhold by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: I'm surprised that Strikeforce is dusting off Meredith -- a guy I'd thought retired. Rockhold has good jiu jitsu and Meredith trains with Team Quest. Say no more. Rockhold by submission.
Michael Rome: I like Ruckhold's sub skills here, Ruckhold via submission in round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Meredith hasn't fought in nearly three years. Rockhold looks to be a pretty good grappler and is an up-and-comer with Strikeforce. It's not unheard of for a Team Quest guy to take a fight where it shouldn't go, and Meredith, in fact, trains with Quest. Rockhold by submission, round 2.
Eric Lawson vs. Waylon Kennell
Luke Thomas: Lawson is going to shoot in, take Kennell down, press up up against the cage and either submit him or GNP until the referee steps in. That's his M.O. and I don't see Kennell having the skills to push Lawson off of his game. Lawson by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: Lawson should be able to win this by whatever he wants. Lawson by TKO.
Michael Rome: This looks like a beatdown on paper. Lawson by submission, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Kennell is stepping in as a replacement against one of Strikeforce's better young fighters. Lawson has shown some power and the ability to finish with submissions or striking. Lawson by TKO, round 1.
Raul Castillo vs. Brandon Michaels
Luke Thomas: Michaels is being fed to the wolves against Castillo, who can finish this fight standing or on the ground. Michaels is likely to get steamrolled. Castillo by TKO, round 1.
Kid Nate: I don't know if Michaels is ready for the big leagues and Castillo is an up and comer. Castillo by highlight reel KO.
Michael Rome: Castillo via TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Castillo is an undefeated fighter who looks to be pretty strong in top position. Michaels has a 1-2 record; this seems to be Castillo's fight to lose. Castillo by TKO, round 1.
James Terry vs. Zak Bucia
Luke Thomas: The Cung Le product has more technical tools to win. Terry by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Terry should have the experience edge on Bucia so I'll go with him. Terry by KO.
Michael Rome: Terry via KO.
Cannon Jacques: I haven't found much information on either guy, but it appears that Terry trains out of Cung Le's school in San Jose. He also has more MMA fights than Bucia. Terry by decision.
Jeremy Tavares vs. Shingo Kohara
Luke Thomas: While Kohara is making his debut here, he's doing so against a downright terrible fighter. He's also a Golden Gloves champion and has some admittedly flashy striking. Kohara by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: These guys are more what you'd expect to see on a local show than on a Strikeforce on Showtime card. Kohara by decision.
Cannon Jacques: Saying I'm in the weeds here is an enormous understatement. Tavares has an 0-3 MMA record, Kohara has no record at all. I'm looking for Kohara to remain undefeated. Kohara by decision.