Hidehiko Yoshida vs. Josh Barnett
Luke Thomas: The old judo vs. catch wrestling rivalry brought back to life. And once again, catch wrestling is about to own judo. Not only is Barnett significantly more skilled as a MMA fighter if not a grappler, he's also a big heavyweight whereas Yoshida trends toward more toward light heavyweight. Barnett is saying he wants to submit Yoshida, but he'll likely win the same way Ad Santel did after challenging the Kodokan. Barnett, TKO, round 1.
Kid Nate: Barnett just has too many advantages -- more size, better standup (neither is that good standing), more power, better submissions. Yoshida might have an advantage in takedowns but Barnett has a pretty good arsenal from his back. Barnett by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Barnett
Takanori Gomi vs. Duane Ludwig
Luke Thomas: Bang's got great strikes and works with respected MMA trainer Greg Jackson. Gomi's likely to have ring rust and a lot of question surround his mental state since losing to Nick Diaz. But Gomi's also got a lot more ways to win and Bang's been on a bit of a slide. Gomi, by KO, round 1.
Kid Nate: I love watching Bang fight. The guy earns his nickname everytime out. But if Gomi can't beat him, it'll reflect more on Gomi than on Ludwig. Gomi should have the wrestling and submission advantage plus a better chin. Bang should have only a puncher's chance. But ring rust is a bitch and Gomi just might have a bad case of it. Gomi by TKO but won't be shattered if he gets KO'd.
Brent Brookhouse: Gomi
Kazuo Misaki vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
Luke Thomas: Bahadurzada has decent power, nimble footwork and solid striking, but that's also nothing Misaki hasn't seen before. This is a big test for the Afghan native, but I doubt he's ready to pass it just yet. Misaki, by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Hard one to call. This is a big step up in competition for Bhadurzada. So normally I'd go with the proven veteran, but Misaki is so erratic both in performance and in style -- the guy fights with a unique, crazy striking style and his performances vary widely in quality. Plus I figure he's a little demoralized after this big win against Akiyama got NC'd. So I'm going out on a limb here and taking Bahadurzada by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Misaki
Rest of the card is in the extended entry.
Fabricio Monteiro vs. Nick Thompson
Luke Thomas: It may be hard for some to accept that "The Goat" is a world-class welterweight with very well-rounded skills, but he is. Monteiro's got decent BJJ and trains with a great team, but his chin is tappable and his overall game is not not pieced together well...unlike Thompson's. Thompson, by TKO, round 1.
Kid Nate: The red hot Thompson should extend his 10 win streak here. Monteiro is slumping and would likely be overmatched at his best. He's not a skilled striker and he loves to brawl. Thompson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Thompson
Ryo Kawamura vs. Antonio Braga Neto
Luke Thomas: I'm not really impressed by either fighter, to be perfectly honest. Kawamura's shine fades by the day and Neto - while promising - hasn't really fought anyone yet. But I've got to go with Neto, if for no other reason than his ground control and submission acumen are probably enough to overwhelm the struggling Japanese middleweight. Braga by decision.
Kid Nate:Not long ago Kawamura was one of the hottest prospects coming out of Pancrase. Recently he's dropped a couple he should've won. Neto is undefeated but has limited experience. One of these guys will be on the rise after this fight -- the skilled striker Kawamura or the slick BJJ man Neto. I'm going with Kawamura by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Kawamura
Makoto Takimoto vs. Cyborg Santos
Luke Thomas: Takimoto started off a little rocky in MMA, but has always shown heart and a willingness to fight tough competition. Now his MMA ability is finally catching up with his fighting spirit, not to mention how much better his ground game is than Cyborg's. Takimoto, by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: Hard one to call. Cyborg is a crazy Chute Boxe brawler with a tendency to get gassed and lose. Takimoto is a judoka with a tendency to take a lot of damage en route to winning. Guess I'll go with Takimoto by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Takimoto
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Peter Graham
Luke Thomas: Graham's MMA debut + narrow offensive skill set + Fujita's chin + Fujita's experience + Fujita's wrestling = Fujita, by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: The veteran Fujita should be able to take down the K1 kickboxer making his debut in MMA. Fujita by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Fujita