Event: Strikeforce: "Houston"
Date: Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. ET on Showtime
Location: Toyota Center in Houston, Texas
Main card (Showtime):
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante
Luke Thomas: I don't think Mo is just the "better" athlete, I think he's the athlete with a better sense of timing. He isn't necessarily faster than Feijao (although he might be), but Mo's got a really underrated sense of when to and when not to attack. Mo's got limited shot selection, but his accuracy striking is also underrated and often his punches come from angles where the punches have changed elevation to a strong degree. But even if Mo doesn't punch, his wrestling and sub defense could be enough to pound out the tough but perhaps not elite Feijao. I like Mo a lot in this one. Lawal by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: This is a classic wrestler vs BJJ/Muay Thai match-up. It's also a no-win for King Mo -- everyone has forgotten how hyped Feijao was before he lost to Mike Kyle but he's still a very dangerous man. Feijao has more KO power than Mousasi, but I think Mo can handle him. King Mo by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: If you could elbow on the ground in Strikeforce I'd like Feijao a little more. The way Mousasi was able to bust up Mo's face from his back could only be made more interesting if he could have thrown elbows. Regardless, Mo probably takes this although I'll be hoping for a Feijao KO. King Mo by decision.
Mike Fagan: This may end up looking like a repeat of the Mousasi fight. Regardless, legitimate world class wrestling is a huge trump card in MMA. Not only as a means for controlling the location of the fight, but also as a means for wearing your opponent out. I'll give Mo some leeway and like Muhammad Lawal by TKO, round 4.
Chris Nelson: My only apprehension here is that Mo hasn't yet taken a punch with the kind of power that "Feijao" can deliver. All other signs point to Lawal grinding Cavalcante out the way he did Mousasi. Lawal via decision.
Nick Thomas: Lawal by takedown after takedown. By the 4th and 5th round, a slower Cavalcante won't be as dangerous on the feet. Lawal by decision.
Leland Roling: Cavalcante is going to find himself on his back quite often in this fight, and I highly doubt any opponent that Strikeforce can find will challenge Mo's wrestling ability. Cavalcante has the outside chance of blasting Mo's chin to smithereens, but I think Lawal batters Cavalcante on the ground to a stoppage. Lawal via TKO.
Tim Kennedy vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
Luke Thomas: I don't have a beef with Jacare picks. And it also seems a little impulsive to pick Kennedy after stopping an aging and limited Prangley. Still, Kennedy is better athlete than he's given credit. He's a decent scrambler, he's got tight wrestling/BJJ transition fundamentals and I suspect a much harder puncher than Joey Villasenor, Mayhem Miller or other fighters Jacare has faced. Kennedy can, of course, make one small error and the fight's over, but I've been a little underwhelmed with Jacare's finishing ability when it comes to high-level opposition. In a five round fight, that's worrisome. I won't be surprised either way, but I bet Kennedy can get it done. Kennedy by TKO, round 3.
Kid Nate: Kennedy is very talented, very tough and definitely on his way up in the MMA world. But unfortunately, he's a jack-of-all trades going in against a BJJ specialist with strong wrestling. I don't see Kennedy keeping it on the feet and I don't see him surviving Jacare on the ground. Ronaldo Souza by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Kennedy is very solid and constantly improving but I think Jacare's improvements in striking are equally impressive. In his fight with Villasenor he looked good but did still have some technical holes in the stand-up. Still, on the ground Jacare is otherworldly. I don't think this is a crushing loss in Kennedy's career and I think he's good enough to not get finished but I do think it will be a loss. Big credit to Strikeforce for this fight which is very intriguing and very appropriate at this point in the career of both men. Ronaldo Souza by unanimous decision.
Mike Fagan: My first exposure to Kennedy was his fight on HDNet Fight's lone event with Jason Miller. He's impressed me with his improvement since then. This should be a good fight, but I think "Jacare's" grappling will be the big difference. Ronaldo Souza by decision.
Chris Nelson: On paper, a fantastic fight. Kennedy has looked more and more impressive with each outing since signing with Strikeforce, and "Jacare" is always a treat to watch. In reality, though, Souza's BJJ game will be too much for Kennedy's wrestling to overcome. Souza via submission, round two.
Nick Thomas: I can't wait for this fight. Jacare is just a little bit better at everything and I don't think cardio will be an issue this time around. Jacare by decision.
Leland Roling: Bunch of haters. Haters gonna hate! This is a very tough fight to call, but I'm going with Kennedy. I think he's going to be very tough for Jacare to take down consistently, and I think he has the knockout power to threaten Jacare's chin on the feet. Tim Kennedy via TKO
Karl "KJ" Noons vs. Jorge Gurgel
Luke Thomas: I have deep admiration for both fighters, but I can't pretend to be super excited about this one. Unless Gurgel does something very un-Gurgel-esque (that's a mouthful), Noons should be able to win a three round decision. Noons by decision.
Kid Nate: I think Gurgel's knees are shot and that's why he never shoots in for take downs. But the last time I saw him use his jiu jitsu in the cage (against Alvin Robinson in the UFC) he acted like he was in a BJJ tournament and didn't integrate strikes into his ground game at all. Noons on the other hand is very good at his speciality and should batter Gurgel on the feet. Noons by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: We can talk all day long about how "if only Gurgel would use his strengths!" It doesn't matter in this fight. Noons is too good for Jorge regardless of what Jorge comes in and tries to get done. KJ Noons by decision.
Mike Fagan: Jeez, do I pick the guy who used the phrase "lay and gay" or the guy who fights against his strengths? I'm still waiting for the day that Gurgel says, "Gotcha!" and takes a fight to the ground. Until then, K.J. Noons by decision.
Chris Nelson: Noons will absolutely batter Gurgel's face for three rounds. Noons via decision.
Nick Thomas: Will Gurgel get this to the ground? I don't think so. Noons by decision.
Leland Roling: Gurgel might actually try to take this to the ground for once. Unfortunately, he hasn't really had a whole lot of practice in the past. Noons stuffs his takedowns and throws quick jabs into Gurgel's soon to be cracked jaw. Noons via decision.
Bobby "Dominator" Lashley vs. Chad "The Grave Digger" Griggs
Luke Thomas: In terms of where Lashley's ability really is, I don't think this is necessarily the worst fight ever. But that's sort of sad, isn't it? Lashley by decision.
Kid Nate: Hard to get too pumped about this bout which should be a gimme for Lashley. Lashley by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Other than this fight this is a really great card filled with some intriguing bouts and what should be a good amount of action. If Lashley doesn't run through Griggs it's going to be a real issue. Bobby Lashley by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Hopefully Bobby is serious about taking some better fights after this. And Coker, keep Batista out of this. Bobby Lashley by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: I've seen very little of Griggs, but I have no reason not to go with Lashley via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Poor Griggs. Lashley's insta-takedown means Lashley by TKO.
Leland Roling: Griggs' horrible strength of record just confirms the obvious. Strikeforce is feeding him a victory. Bobby Lashley via TKO.
Streamed Under card (Sherdog.com):
Daniel Cormier vs. Jason Riley
Luke Thomas: I worry about Cormier's health and his cardio fighting 3 times in 22 days, but Riley is probably not the guy to make Cormier pay for shortcomings in either department. Cormier by submission, round 2.
Kid Nate: Another squash match, but that's fine, Cormier is a prospect and he's not on the main card. Cormier by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Riley's 10-3 record looks pretty impressive until you notice that in those three losses he was TKO'ed in 35 seconds, 14 seconds and 2 minutes 32 seconds. You can take your Cole Konrad and keep him, I'm really liking what I'm seeing from Cormier in his run against lessar opponents. Daniel Cormier by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Looks like a pretty obvious squash match. Daniel Cormier by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Cormier's development is one of the most exciting things happening in MMA right now. Stringing all these fights together could catch up with him eventually, but he should be too powerful for Riley here. Cormier via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Cormier by TKO.
Leland Roling: Seriously? World-class wrestler versus good ol' Midwestern boy? Daniel Cormier via TKO.
Andre Galvao vs. Jorge "Macaco" Patino
Luke Thomas: Macaco is older and coming in on short notice, but I've been less than impressed with Galvao's transition to MMA. He just doesn't fight with the intensity and urgency that is required for full contact fighting. He also seems asleep at the wheel when he feels he's in advantageous positions. I'm not saying Macaco is a wrecking machine, but he's beaten respectable fighters in his career. I'll give Galvao the nod, but I would not be the least bit surprised for him to give Galvao fits or even win. Galvao by split decision.
Kid Nate: Macaco was too small for this division ten years ago. He's also giving up an immense BJJ deficit to Galvao and coming in on short notice. Galvao by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Short notice, shouldn't be too hard of a fight for Galvao. Andre Galvao by decision.
Mike Fagan: Galvao would take this even if "Macaco" wasn't fighting on short notice. Andre Galvao by decision.
Chris Nelson: Patino can (and probably will) drag this to the scorecards, but it'll be Galvao all the way. Galvao via decision.
Nick Thomas: Galvao by decision.
Leland Roling: All this fight needs is Jorge Pereira as the referee. Galvao via decision.