Thursday, April 18, 2013

UFC on Fox 7: Strikeforce VS UFC

Even though it is not official, Strikeforce vs
the UFC is the main theme of UFC on Fox 7.
On Saturday, April 20, the UFC will do its 7th broadcast on national television and they are going to put on a show.  The UFC is putting on a Fox card that is arguably better than any Pay Per View card so far this year.  The theme of Strikeforce vs UFC on all four of the main card fights and the majority of preliminary fights adds an extra element of excitement to a card that guarantees fireworks.  The night starts on Facebook, moves to FX, and finishes on Fox.  Strikeforce has had so many of its events from San Jose so it is only fitting that HP Pavilion be the site for this event.


  • The night starts on Facebook with what else but a Strikeforce vs UFC middleweight bout.  Clifford Starks came in to his UFC 143 bout with Ed Herman with an undefeated record before being submitted.  His opponent Yoel Romero is in the same situation.  He was undefeated before his first and only Stikeforce fight which saw Feijao knock him out in the second round.  He held his own in that fight before a crazy spinning back fist caught him.  Romero will be fighting for the first time since September of 2011, and will be doing so in a lower weight class.  I see him being bigger at middleweight and knocking Clifford Starks out despite the ring rust.  Romero via KO.
  • Following this match, Anthony Njokuani and Roger Bowling will go at it.  The UFC veteran Njokuani will have his hands full representing the UFC against yet another Strikeforce guy in Bowling.  And when I say he will have his hands full, I mean he has an easy opponent.  The only thing guaranteed with this fight is that the loser will be unemployed.  Bowling has recently dropped a fight to Tarec Saffiedine and his last 2 fights in the Bobby Voelker trilogy.  Njokuani has an unimpressive 15-7 record with a no contest heading into this fight, but won many WEC knockout of the night bonuses in wins.  Despite only having 3 losses, I do not like Bowling in this fight.  He has beaten nobody worth noting and although he has a bunch of losses, Njokuani has some decent names on his hit list.  Anthony has been in there with some veterans, including the current lightweight champion, and I see Njokuani winning this with a decision.
I must say I was disappointed Jon Tuck was injured and his fight with Norman Parke was scrapped.  This could have been a great fight between two of the more promising prospects in the UFC.  It must have been a serious injury because Tuck had no problem fighting with a broken toe before.
  • The FX portion of the night is one of just a few fights without a Strikeforce guy fighting a UFC guy.  T.J. Dillashaw is the first of 3 fighters on this card coming into this fight fresh off a win in Canada at UFC 158.  His opponent, Hugo Viana, is coming into his fight with a perfect record yet only 1 finish.  He knocked out Ruben Duran in his last fight but is stepping up in talent to take on the talented Dillashaw.  Last time I picked Dillashaw to win with a submission and he surprised us all with a knockout victory. His game is ever expanding and has looked like a totally different fighter since his first and only loss to John Dodson in the TUF 14 Finale.  I see him sinking in a choke on Saturday night.  Dillashaw via submission (RNC).
  • Back to UFC vs Strikeforce we go, Tim Means (UFC) will be taking on Jorge Masvidal (Strikeforce).  Means is on quite the unbeaten streak since his last loss in March of 2010.  Masvidal has won 3 of his last 4 with his only loss being to Gilbert Melendez, the man challenging Henderson for the belt in Saturday's main event.  Means is a scary guy with plenty of TKO finishes, but Masvidal is the more experienced fighter who is going to try his best to keep the Strikeforce train rolling.  I think Masvidal can use his boxing to beat up on Means and take home a victory.  Masvidal via decision.
  • Joe Benavidez has had an extremely interesting career so far.  He has only lost to the bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz twice and the flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.  Two of those 3 losses were via split decision.  He has gone from being scheduled as the headliner of UFC 152 (before the Jon Jones fiasco made that the co-main event) to being in the middle of a preliminary card.  Despite this, he is still one of the best fighters on the UFC roster today.  His opponent Darren Uyenoyama is no slouch either.  He has a solid 8-3 record and won his flyweight debut with an impressive submission.  It is worth noting that even though he has been with the UFC for a while, he does have some Strikeforce bouts under his belt.  Despite his talents, Joe Benavidez should outclass him and take home a decision victory.  Benavidez wants that rematch with DJ for the title and will keep beating up on a bunch of flyweights until he gets it.
  • In the next fight, Ramsey Nijem will be looking to take out another TUF Live guy in Myles Jury.  Jury is undefeated in his professional career but lost to TUF Live finalist Al Iaquinta on the show via split decision.  He entered his UFC 155 bout with all first round finishes, but won that fight with a decision.  He has well rounded his game and could look to make a statement on Saturday.  As for Nijem, I was more unimpressed with Proctor than I was impressed with him in his last win.  I know MMA math is not an exact science but Nijem lost the Ultimate Fighter 13 to Tony Ferguson.  Tony Ferguson lost to Michael Johnson.  Michael Johnson lost to Myles Jury.  Therefore, I am taking Jury to win this fight via TKO.
  • Middleweight Francis Carmont is looking to keep his controversial winning streak alive against Lorenz Larkin of Strikeforce.  Larkin has one career loss, which became a no contest after King Mo tested positive for steroids.  You cannot really take that fight into consideration because he was fighting a fighter on steroids at a weight class he did not belong at.  Since then he has dropped to middleweight he won his only fight against Robbie Lawler (who now fights at welterweight).  Speaking of Lawler, a man with a very similar name of Tom Lawlor was the victim of a controversial split decision in Carmont's last win.  The Canadian judges robbed Lawlor when the hometown boy Carmont received a split decision nod.  Carmont is a giant middleweight who has serious potential, but Larkin has just as much potential.  He was schedule to fight Luke Rockhold at Strikeforce's last event to challenge him for the title but Rockhold had to pull out due to an injury.  Larkin has been off for a while, but he is motivated and talented.  Strikeforce should win another fight as I see Larkin winning via KO.
  • Last but not least, Chad Mendes looks to keep his winning ways alive with a win over Darren Elkins in a UFC vs UFC battle..  Elkins boasts a 16-2 record and is on a 5 fight winning streak but this is a huge step up in talent.   He also had a win early in his career against Bellator champ Pat Curran who is tearing it up at 145 in his organization.  Elkins is the 2nd guy from UFC 158 taking a fight on short notice.  This is a situation where Elkins can move from nowhere all the way up to the top 5 in the featherweight division with a win.  Mendes just wants a fight because everyone keeps pulling out of fights with him due to mysterious injuries.  If Elkins actually shows up and does not magically get injured this week, I see Mendes winning a decision.
  • Jordan Mein is the 3rd man from UFC 158 that has saved this card by fighting on short notice.  He filled in for Dan Hardy who has a rare heart condition that could end his career.  Matt Brown is probably wishing that Hardy was still 100% healthy because Mein is a very promising prospect.  This youngster has the ability to end the fight wherever it takes place.  At age 23, Mein is already a veteran of the game with a solid 27-8 record in his professional career.  Mein won his last fight being the first man to finish Dan Miller.  He has won 9 of his last 10 with the only loss being a split decision loss to top welterweight Tyron Woodley.  Matt Brown is on a 4 fight winning streak and has had ups and downs throughout his career.  He thinks he finally has put it all together entering his fight with Mein.  I picked both of these guys to lose their last fights, but now I realize just how good they are.  Mein should be able to pick Brown apart with his reach advantage so I am taking the youngster in a huge fight for the future of the welterweight division.  Mein impresses again with a KO of the Night bonus.
  • Strikeforce has done nothing but impress entering the Fox 7 event and there seems to be no reason why this trend should stop on this huge stage.  I find it incredibly interesting that Josh Thomson lost to Gilbert Melendez in his last fight and Nate Diaz lost to Benson Henderson in his last fight.  Had those 2 fights been different, this would be the main event fight for the title.  Obviously that is not the case so instead these two guys are trying to prove they still belong in the top 10 of the division.  Diaz used boxing and submissions to get his title shot, but did nothing to threaten Henderson at all in that fight.  He needs to utilize his boxing like he did in the Cerrone fight if he wants to get back on the winning track.  Thomson is only 3-3 in his last 6, but two of those were to Melendez.  He has had a trilogy with Gilbert, winning the first, dropping the second, and barely losing a split decision in the rubber match.  I look for him to use that wrestling to give Diaz fits.  The Diaz brothers have struggled as of late, and this might continue if Thomson can execute his gameplan.  Keep in mind that Diaz and Melendez are training partners, so Melendez has likely given Diaz plenty of advise on what to expect on Saturday night.  All of this being said, I am taking another Strikeforce guy, Thomson via decision.
  • I have to say at this point I am already second guessing every single pick I have made, and I am unsure about the co-main and main event as well.  Frank Mir will be taking on undefeated Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.  DC is an unreal Olympic caliber wrestler who has taking the MMA world by storm with incredible athleticism.  Like Brock Lesnar, he is making his debut against Frank Mir with high expectations.  The difference is, he has experience and he has striking.  Brock came into the UFC with almost no MMA experience.  DC has been fighting for a while and proved himself with wins over Barnett, Bigfoot, and Palelei.  Bigfoot is currently set to fight DC's training partner Cain Velasquez for the title, so that shows just how good Daniel is.  Daniel dominated Bigfoot with strikes despite a huge reach disadvantage.  Frank Mir will have a 79 inch reach to Cormier's 71 inch reach.  Frank Mir is a guy that has done it all.  He rose to the top to win the title, then saw a knee injury shatter his career.  He came back from the injury and worked his way back to becoming the interim champ.  He lost his last fight to, at the time champion, Junior Dos Santos despite his best efforts.  He has never lost two fights in a row his entire career.  He is the best submission artist in the division and has used this to defeat wrestlers before.  All of this being known, I still have no idea who could possibly win.  I guess that means it is coin flip time.  Heads for DC, tails for Mir.  Tails never fails, I am picking Frank Mir to pull of the upset and submit Daniel Cormier (armbar).
  • Now on to the main event:  San Jose has been the backyard to Strikeforce and is home to nobody more than Gilbert Melendez.  Many consider this top lightweight to be in the top 10 pound for pound best fighters on the planet today.  He has devastated his opponents with striking, grappling, and wrestling.  Back in 2006 he won the lightweight championship in an exciting fight with Clay Guida.  As I mentioned earlier, Thomson is the only guy who was able to take that strap away from him, and only for a moment as he avenged that loss.  Gil will be put to his toughest test yet when he faces off with former WEC and current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson.  Neither of these guys are proven finishers, so expect a decision.  Not finishing fights does not mean these guys aren't the two best lightweights on the planet today.  Henderson has won all 6 of his UFC fights via decision and is favorite to do just that again on Saturday.  I honestly think Henderson has the ability to wrestle Melendez to a decision win.  BUT, Henderson is an arrogant man and is trying to pick a fight with Aldo, Pettis, and GSP.  He is overlooking Melendez without a doubt and Melendez could pull of the upset.  Again I am torn as I think Henderson will win but I really hate that guy, and love Gilbert.  I guess it is coin flipping time again but Henderson is tails and Melendez is heads.  Tails never fails.  Henderson takes home a decision and keeps that belt.  Nonetheless your favorite "unbiased" blogger will be rooting for Melendez to knock this guy unconscious on Saturday.  Sharks fan vs Ben Henderson, come on of course I want Gilbert to win!

I might have all 4 of these fights wrong, but I do see the main card being a 2-2 split between the UFC and Strikeforce.  I also have the preliminary fights scored a 3-1 record in favor of Strikeforce.  (3-1.5 if you count Uyenoyama as 1/2 Strikeforce since he has 3 fights with both organizations)  The thing is that when I say I very well could be wrong on every single pick I have made, all that means is the fights are incredible.  Every single fight on this card could go either way and outside of Joe Benavidez and Chad Mendes, I have little confidence in any of my picks.  Tune in on Saturday and see how it all goes down.

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