Strikeforce will present Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on Saturday, August 15th from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. It will air on Showtime at 10:30 PM EST/9:30 CST. The card's main event will feature a women's division championship bout between Gina Carano (7-0) and Christiane "Cyborg" Santos (7-1) in what will be the first-ever major MMA promotion women's headliner. The card also features a light heavyweight tilt between Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1) and Renato "Babalu" Sobral (35-8), and a lightweight interim title showdown between Gilbert Melendez (15-2) and Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-5-1).
There is some incredible value on this card for MMA bettors out there looking to capitalize on the lines. Most notably, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Gina Carano, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, and Jesse Taylor have some solid lines that fans can cash in on.
The lines aren't looking too bad for this clash of technique vs. power. Carano will have the technical advantage in the striking department as Santos likes to load up punches and use powerful overhands to overwhelm opponents. Gina may be at a disadvantage on the floor, but she could also outlast Santos in this five-round bout. It's a tough call to make, and I haven't really made my mind up about either fighter yet. My gut tells me Santos, but I'd rather see Carano's striking acumen punish the brute. I like Carano at +160 though, and I'd be willing to take the chance.
Light Heavyweight Title Bout (205 lbs.): Gegard Mousasi (-220, BetCRIS & 5Dimes) vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (+200, Sportsbook)
This is one of the best values on the card by far. Mousasi definitely has an impressive record that he's recorded over the past year against some quality opponents, but those opponents weren't the type of fighter that Sobral represents. He's a tenacious fighter that has the ground acumen to put Mousasi in danger from both a beating and a submission. He'll have the experience advantage in both quality of competition and in the cage environment, and he could Mousasi in some "bloody" danger if he can throw the elbows in the clinch. At +200, I think the bettors are giving the Mousasi hype a little bit too much credit. I'll play on Sobral.
Lightweight Interim Title Bout (155 lbs.): Mitsuhiro Ishida (+190, BetUS) vs. Gilbert Melendez (-185, Sportsbook)
Another incredible line for bettors, and a line that a lot of fans have been talking about within the BloodyElbow.com community over the last few days. Melendez at -185 isn't a bad bet at all, and he'll have the experience in the cage along with going five rounds in that environment. The issue is that Melendez was overwhelmed by Ishida in their first match-up, and it was evident that Ishida had the speed and takedown ability to keep from having to stand and trade with Melendez. If he can manage to pull off the same type of gameplan, this could be a repeat performance. It will, however, be a longer fight for Ishida if he puts on a decision performance, and that may work to Melendez's advantage. In any case, +190 on a former top five lightweight is tough to pass up.
Heavyweight Bout: Fabricio Werdum (-500, Sportsbook) vs. Mike Kyle (+425, 5Dimes)
With all the recent upsets including the upset special in WEC 42, it's tough not to believe the trend will continue. Kyle has heavy, heavy hands, and as we saw in the Junior Dos Santos vs. Fabricio Werdum bout in the UFC -- Werdum's night can be ended quickly with a powerful blow. Kyle has a puncher's chance in this match-up, and Werdum's ground game is the huge difference here. I wouldn't bet on Werdum at -500, but who knows... maybe putting a few bucks on Kyle at +425 might make this a fun bout to watch.
Welterweight Bout: Jay Hieron (-190, Sportsbook) vs. Jesse Taylor (+160, Sportsbook)
Sportsbook is the only site with the lines for the match-up currently, but that may change. At +160, Taylor is actually a solid bet here. He has immense size for a welterweight, and his wrestling can be overwhelming on the floor. The only real problem for Taylor is Hieron's developing striking game and power. He has landed some vicious knockout blows in recent memory, and he has a solid wrestling background coupled with a great wrestling program at Xtreme Couture. Taylor is still a solid upset bet here though.