StrikeForce: Diaz vs Cyborg Breakdown
Lost within all this hubbub of Strikeforce’s heavyweight tourney is the quiet little card that could. Two entertaining championship bouts cap off this solid card that also features the return of Roger Gracie and former NFL & Winter Olympian Herschel Walker. A quick reminder to Canadian fans, you can catch all the action live on the Superchannel on Jan 29.
Nick Diaz (-500) vs. Evangelista Santos(+305)
Santos being 1 for 2 in Strikeforce appearances makes him an odd candidate for number one contender to Diaz’s Welterweight throne. Santos has only defeated Marius Zaromskis who is a fighter Diaz has also beaten; though Santos did it a full two minutes quicker. Diaz on the other hand has 9 wins in his last 10 fights and after defeating Noons conquered the only man to beat him in almost 5 years.
It’s extremely hard to find a way Santos can win this fight, but that does not mean it will not be entertaining to watch. Diaz’ pin point punching and his love to throw punches in bunches will easily overwhelm the Brazilian but Santos can stay in this fight with his zombiesque approach to eating punches. Do not expect much ground action in this tilt even though Diaz holds a tremendous advantage there. Diaz will pepper Santos with jabs and loopy hooks from the outside while Cyborg will eat them and continue to come forward looking for the power punch to put Diaz to bed. Expect this battle to go deep in the championship rounds as Santos’ durability will keep him in this fight. Cyborg will last but will eventually go down via TKO late in the 4th or 5th.
Prediction: Diaz by TKO in the 4th or 5th
Robbie Lawler (+210) vs Ronaldo Souza (-312)
On paper this is the classic striker versus grappler match up. Lawler is 7-2-1 in his last 10 winning all 7 via KO or TKO. Souza on the other hand is 13 – 2 overall with 10 of his wins coming by way of submission. Yet in Souza last outing against Tim Kennedy, Ronaldo stood and traded with the Army trained sniper and showed a new and improved penchant for boxing while shooting down Kennedy in all 5 rounds. It’s also worth mentioning that 4 of Lawler’s 6 losses have come by way of submission.
This fight should play out pretty much as expected. Robbie will come out strong looking for the big shot while Souza will keep him at bay with good head movement and tactifull combos. Early on Lawler will defend the the takedown attempts of Souza but will eventually be fallen late in the round. Lawler may be able to get through round 1 by the skin of teeth but will not get through the second as Jacare will enivitably lock in the fight ending guillotine or arm bar and continue his reign as Strikeforce’s Middleweight champion.
Prediction: Jacare by sub in Round 2
Roger Gracie vs Trevor Prangley
Up next, Rogers Gracie tries to continue his rise to be considered a legitimate MMA fighter. Only this time the journeyman he’s facing off against is not much of a journeyman but an accomplished MMA veteran. Gracie is 3-0 coming into this fight over a 3 year span. He’s defeated a string of former MMA illuminaries: Ron Waterman, Yuki Kondo and, most recently, Kevin Randleman. On the other side, Prangley has won 6 of his last 8 with his only loss coming by way of rear naked choke to Middleweight contender Tim Kennedy. Prangley also had his fight against European standout Karl Amoussou declared a technical draw after an inadvertent thumb to Amoussou eye halted the action late in the first round.
Expect to see Gracie suffer his first defeat in this one as Prangley will play the grizzled veteran spoiler. Gracie has an incredibly dominant ground game but his leg trip takedowns and weak single legs should be no match for Prangley’s takedown defense. Also Prangley’s camp at AKA should have a decent enough game plan to keep Gracie on his feet. With Prangley holding off Gracie’s takedowns, that pretty much eliminates any threat from Gracie. Prangley should have no problem using his boxing to grind out a unanimous decision or potentially earn a TKO finish late in the fight.
Prediction: Prangley by Unanimous Decision
Herschel Walker vs Scott Carson
Is Walker a legitimate fighter or will his foray into MMA be derailed by Carson. Walker scored his first professional win in his first pro fight TKOing Greg Naggy late in the third round. Carson started his career in 1999 achieving 4 straight wins before taking a 9 year hiatus from the sport. Carson made a disappointing return to MMA in 2010 being on the receiving end of a Lorenz Larkin KO punch.
This is a tough fight to call as not much is known about either fighters’ overall game. One thing is for certain, this fight will come down to how much Walker has improved during his time with AKA. Considering Walker’s athleticism and Carson’s penchant for going to the ground expect to see a dominating ground and pound victory for Walker. Hopefully AKA has done it’s job in coaching Herschel through the most basic forms of submission defense. This coupled with Herschel’s raw power and overall athleticism should allow Walker to continue on the winning path and grind out a decision victory over the game Carson.
Prediction: Walker by Unanimous Decision