Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg Fight Card: Roger Gracie vs. Trevor Prangley Preview

Roger Gracie eyes continued success at the highest levels as he battles UFC veteran Trevor Prangley in light heavyweight action on Saturday night. Photo by Esther Lin, Strikeforce.

It's rare to see the kind of Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess that Roger Gracie (3-0, 1-0 SF) brings to the sport of mixed martial arts. There are only a handful of grappling phenoms in the world who have the skills that Gracie has proven time and time again can dominate lesser opponents, and there isn't anyone who has produced the results he has within the last decade.

Gracie has won the Mundials a record ten times with three of those championships inside the open weight division. He won both the 88-98kg and absolute weight divisions at the 2005 ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships, proving he could also transition his skills to a no-gi environment. It was only a matter of time before he made the jump to the premier proving ground of mixed martial arts.

Gracie made his debut in 2006, winning quickly by armbar over PRIDE and UFC veteran Ron Waterman under the now-defunct BodogFIGHT banner. Unlike most aspiring fighters, Gracie has slowly made his presence known in the world of mixed martial arts, appearing in only two more bouts since his debut. He defeated Yuki Kondo via rear naked choke in only two minutes and forty seconds at Sengoku 2 in May of 2008, and he submitted Kevin Randleman with the same choke inside two rounds at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery in May of 2010. 

He'll now hope to continue his success under the microscope of fan interest as he battles NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and UFC veteran Trevor Prangley (23-6-1, 3-2 SF). Prangley was the unfortunate lamb in a slaughter at the hands of Tim Kennedy, who showed that a full-time tag on his job title has allowed him to bring his game to a new level. Prangley returned to the cage only three months later to battle recently released UFC veteran Keith Jardine, edging out the Team Jackson fighter via split decision in a non-title affair. His sights are now set on proving that grappling alone can't produce continued success in this sport.

In theory, it sounds like a noble cause. Let's go out there and slay these wannabe fighters who think they can win with one skill. The only problem is that most of the upper-echelon fighters in this sport who have been labeled "one-dimensional" are world renowned in that one skill. It happens to be the case in this match-up.

Prangley is well-known for his toughness, durability, and stifling wrestling ability sprinkled with some respectable striking skills. The hardcore crowd may recognize him as the "town drunk", a fighter who stumbles around as if he doesn't know what's going on... but consistently proves the opposite. Prangley's solid clinch skills, strength, and extensive experience should provide a good test for the 29-year-old Gracie.

But Gracie's grappling acumen on top of his 6'4" frame should be enough to win. Gracie is creative and quick in his ability to transition to the submission, so look for him to quickly tangle Prangley up. While I do think Prangley will survive the constant barrage of submission attempts for a longer period than most of his past opponents, I think Gracie will eventually sink in a choke or armbar inside the fifteen minute time frame.

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