Strikeforce Heavy Artillery Preview: Rafael Cavalcante, Antwain Britt Battle for Divisional Relevance

Britt_cavalcante_medium In the first main card battle of the evening, Strikeforce and EliteXC veteran Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (8-2, 1-1 SF) will look to regain some of the hype he had garnered in the past as he battles heavy-handed puncher Antwain Britt (11-3, 1-0 SF) in a contest that will surely produce explosive action. Cavalcante is coming off of a technical knockout victory over Aaron Rosa at Strikeforce Challengers V back in November while Britt defeated Scott Lighty at Strikeforce: Evolution in December.

Both Britt and Cavalcante have had their ups and downs. Britt was on the verge of a potential UFC berth during the Vendetta Fighting Championships' light heavyweight tournament in Aruba back in September of 2009, but fell short as he lost via submission to Rodney Wallace in the tournament final. Wallace went on to sign with the UFC, but Britt did manage to sign a contract with Strikeforce following the defeat.

Cavalcante also received a heavy dose of failure when he was knocked out by Mike Kyle at Strikeforce's Lawler vs. Shields event on June 6th, 2009. In the lead-up to the event , Cavalcante was being touted as one of the next big stars in the light heavyweight division, but Kyle was able to derail his chances with the win. Both fighters have rebounded since those losses, and this clash should push one of these talents into the upper echelon of Strikeforce's light heavyweight division.

Stylistically, this battle has the makings to be a highly entertaining, heavily abusive conflict between two fighters who tend to stand and trade blows rather than hit the floor. Britt is easily the quicker, heavier puncher in this fight, and one heavy overhand could flip the switch on Cavalcante's chances in this encounter. If "Feijao" intends to keep this battle on the feet, he'll need to have improved footwork and a solid jab to keep Britt at bay.

Cavalcante probably has the edge in the clinch as his Muay Thai abilities have been his bread and butter against lesser competitors. Unfortunately, Britt's strength is immense and explosive. I have a feeling that if Cavalcante tries to initiate the clinch and pummel Britt with knees, he's going to pay for it with Britt breaking the clinch and unloading his hands.

Britt is currently the underdog in this fight, and I'd expect Cavalcante to come into the match-up as an improved fighter. I'm not exactly sure I see top-tier skills in "Feijao", but he has a chance to prove a lot of doubters wrong on Saturday if he can impressive put away a beast like Britt. But this doubter will remain a doubter until Cavalcante knocks off a powerhouse like Britt. I'll go with Antwain Britt via TKO.

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