The Coker and crew are back with another night of exciting Strikeforce match-ups! Unlike the recent Challengers events, which have been absolutely buried since the Zuffa buy-out, this card is coming at us with all the whistles, belts, and general hooplah that we grew to love from Strikeforce! We don’t even have another major MMA event to compete with the card as Bellator is on vacation, the UFC took the week off, and Japan is waaaaay over there *points over there* in another timezone with Jewels: 17th Ring.
Despite the wide open weekend, the Strikeforce party just doesn’t seem to be bouncing around the blogosphere to our liking. So let’s kick up the Staggin’ and pump enough Strikeforce awesomeness into your domes until your livers sign a collective petition to have your decision making powers revoked! This is the Stag Party- Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal.
Mountaineer: Is there anything more exciting than a Strikeforce weekend? Yeah, sure, a few things. Like getting free food coupons in the mail or finding a dollar on the ground. (Midge: and shiny thing! Yaaay!) Yeah, there are a lot of things more exciting than a Strikeforce card. But the best part of all of this? It isn’t a Challengers card. I don’t have to see some kid coming out of collegiate wrestling take on a Toughman champion. This is actually a legitimate card, but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of hype over it! Regardless, we have a great main event slated in Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal. What do you think?
Midge: Melendez vs. Masvidal. That’s a great bout. Everyone seems to be counting Masvidal out of this one, which I understand given Gilbert’s absolute domination of his the 155 lbs division outside of the UFC over the past few years. The dude has a great wrestling game, good hands, fantastic submission defense, and is overall an extremely intelligent fighter. However, Masvidal is no joke. This dude’s last three fights had him ruining then undefeated Billy Evangelista, utterly destroying KJ Noon’s face, and giving the much larger Paul Daley everything he can handle in a super scrap at 170 lbs! Masvidal is without a doubt a UFC caliber fighter and should not be overlooked.
Mountaineer: Masvidal’s best attribute is definitely his tenacity and heart. The guy is an animal. Unfortunately, this animal is running into a savage in Melendez. Masvidal is capable in all areas, but Gilbert is just more proficient in every aspect. That, and I just saw Masvidal get dropped by Kimbo’s apprentice Ray (that is his only name. He is like the Prince of backyard fighting) in a street fight. If Ray can do that to Masvidal, imagine what Melendez will do.
Midge: Haha. I certainly wouldn’t take Masvidal’s old street fighting clips into account when assessing his current skills in the cage (although I’ll be watching that clip immediately following these sentences). However, I’m not going with Masvidal in this bout. Melendez may very well be the best lightweight in the world, but until he is tested in the shark tank of the UFC we just can’t determine that. I can determine that his wrestling trumps Masvidal’s however. So at the end of the day, Melendez has a clear shot to victory. I’m taking Melendez by Unanimous Decision.
Mountaineer: Bold. Very bold. I think Masvidal is tough, but that tough? No. Striking goes to Melendez, grappling goes to Melendez, better hair goes to Melendez. There is literally no aspect that "Gamebred" gets the nod in. I see him hanging in there for a round or two, but the savagery committed in the Hexagon (TM) on Saturday night will be akin to a John Woo wet dream. I’ll go with Melendez by TKO, Rd. 3.
Midge: Is Hexagon really trademarked? (Mountaineer: Not sure, but Strikeforce should give me a call if it isn’t. I would be a business genius to them.) I best inform Mrs. Petree’s 1st grade class at Broward Elementary. We wouldn’t want another incident with Zuffa like when they learned to make 8-sided shapes last March.
Mountaineer: I wonder if Dana actually would enforce that. My answer would be yes, but who knows? I know someone who could enforce that rule very well. Mrs. Cyborg Santos, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos! I’m sure she’d be more than willing to deliver some elbows and knees to a bunch of 1st grade rapscallions, abusing Uncle Dana’s Octagon (TM) and the new legal meaning to it. Also, Cyborg has a fight this weekend with someone who might put up as much fight as a 1st grader in Hiroko Yamanaka. If you’re interested in a private island somewhere, Cyborg has opened up as a -900 favorite on some lines. So if you lay a penny on Hiroko, you might be set for life.
Midge: Wow -900? That’s nuts. Hiroko Yamanaka is a huge, lengthy 145er who knows how to use her size. This is definitely NOT a Jan Finney or a little tiny Hitomi Akano. Yamanaka is a 5’11, 12-1 bad ass from Japan who has historically used her reach to keep her opponents at bay with jabs and kicks while on the feet, and tangled her opponents up in his massive limbs on the ground. Yamanaka has dominated the Jewels promotion since it’s inception in 2008. She is the #2 Featherweight in the world. I understand that not many people in the West pay much attention to the Japanese scene these days, but -900? That’s the type of crazy you find on the streets of West Hollywood at 3:00am on a Thursday morning.
Mountaineer: And looking at her record and accomplishments, Yamanaka has some impressive stats. Went to a losing decision with Roxanne Modafferi in a grappling match, undefeated in the Shoot Boxing promotion, and a stellar 12-1 record, with her only loss coming to that tiny girl you mentioned, Hitomi Akano. Unfortunately, I don’t see her being able to survive a Cyborg blitz or a grappling match with her either. But, as you said, it is a lot closer than casino sharks who make these odds suggest. I’ll go with a Cyborg TKO or submission, Rd. 2.
Midge: There’s a lot going against Yamanaka in this fight. Sure, she has never fought someone like Cyborg (and vice versa), but there are a lot of other variables here. Yamanaka has never fought stateside. The cage will be new. The jetlag will be new. The different food leading up to the event will be new. The press duties will be new. This big of a crowd will be new. Legal elbows will be new. Like all Asian fighters heading to America for the first time, there is a lot to overcome. But on the other hand, Cyborg hasn’t fought (or cut weight) in over a year and a half. That’s some massive ring rust. Hiroko has fought four times in this time frame (finishing 3 of the 4). If Cyborg is too rusty to get her distance down, this could be a long night for her. I’m going on a limb- a long Japanese limb. Yamanaka by RNC, Rd. 3.