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“Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg” Preview, Predictions & Discussion

strikeforce thumbWhat started out as a mind-blowing card with four championship bouts has been steadily downgraded to an awesome card with a mere three championship fights over the last month. Bummer, right? Wrong! Are you kidding me? “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg” promises to be the most electrifying, fascinating and talked about event in promotion history.

It seems like it’s been five years now that this fight between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos has been brewing. Obviously I’m exaggerating, but who won’t be excited when these two femme fatales touch gloves at the HP Pavilion in San Jose? A show of hands please……. [crickets chirping]. It’s going to be a good one fight fans.

And how can you forget Babalu vs. Mousasi, or Melendez vs. Ishida, or even Taylor vs. Hieron. My MMA faithful, come along with me as I dare to take a closer look at what promises to be one of the most exhilarating events of the year.

Gina Carano vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos

There are quite a few people out there that seem to hold the opinion that Cyborg may very well rip the flesh from Carano’s face and wear it back to Brazil with her, I’m not one of them.

Santos is a scary woman, I’ll give her that. Does she have the skills to pay the bills? Absolutely. The Chute Boxe trained assassin possesses an intimidating, somewhat masculine physique, and not only does she look the part, she drops bombs like Hiroshima.

This writer feels like many fans may be judging these books by their covers, and that could wind up being a costly mistake if you’re planning on being a betting man this Saturday evening. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times with Carano. Don’t let the pretty face fool you. She’s the goods and she will prove it against in the toughest challenge of her career up until this point.

It makes me chuckle when I hear people talk about how Cyborg is going to brutalize Carano. Do they forget how it took Santos three rounds to finally finish off an absolutely one-dimensional Hitomi Akano in the imposing Brazilian’s last bout. You know, the one where she out-weighed the poor girl by a good 10-15 pounds. The same girl that had never managed to rack up a single KO or TKO win in the course of her twenty plus fight career.

Let’s go back one bout further, when this ferocious killing machine was extended to the judges scorecards against Yoko Takahashi. Another one dimensional submission fighter, this one managing a record of 15-10-1, yet somehow she managed to make it to the final bell with this beast of a woman.

But oh yeah, Cyborg is going to maul Carano all over the cage on Saturday night and knock her senseless. Give me a break. Gina is a far cry from Yoko “Random Japanese Fighter” Takahashi. Lets just see how well Cyborg does when she’s in against a punching bag that can punch and kick back with the kind of force and velocity that only Gina can deliver.

Let’s not forget for a second folks, the only reason Carano hasn’t knocked out all of her opponents senseless is because they don’t want any part of the stand-up with her. She kicks like a man, and punches a little harder. Her technique is much more sound, compact and polished than Cyborg’s and heaven forbid they end up on the ground. Let’s not forget that Cyborg HAS lost in her career and it was by submission. I’m just saying.

Winner: Gina Carano via knockout

Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Gegard Mousasi

Without question this is the one fight I am looking forward to more than any other on this card. Mainly because me and a dear friend of mine that shall remain nameless have been vigorously debating who we feel will win this bout and why for over a month now, and I’ll be glad to put this argument to bed. Mainly beacuse I’m right.

My friend (an extremely knowledgeable guy) feels like Babalu will take Gegard’s lunch money and give him a much needed learning experience at this early point in his career. I feel as if Gegard is gong to use Sobral as a platform and highlight the fact that you CAN NOT be one dimensional in this game any longer.

Not as though Babalu is completely one-dimensional, or that he has nothing to offer in the stand-up department, but his striking game grows more and more outdated as the sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve. I’m just saying, the last time Babalu stopped anyone by legitimate knockout or TKO was when he soccer kicked Brad Kohler in the back of the head at a RINGS event way back in January of 2000. That was like a decade ago!

If Renato has shown one thing in the course of his career it’s that he can be clipped. It happened twice with Chuck Liddell, and although I know Babalu supporters would like to, how can you forget the embarrassing knockout at the hands of Jason Lambert in 2007? On that note, do not sleep on Gegard’s stand-up arsenal. A boxer by origin, Mousasi got involved with kickboxing, and eventually MMA solely due to the fact that there was no money to be made in professional boxing in the country he was from. Regardless, striking is his heart, and he showed it in his K-1 debut on New Years Eve 2008 in Japan when he demolished an enormously more experienced kickboxer in Musashi within just one round.

While Babalu’s vicious submission arsenal should present a series of problems for Mousasi, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is not the top ten light-heavyweight my good friend believes he is, and Gegard should look good while securing the biggest “name” win of his career and further establishing himself as one of the most complete fighters in the business.

Just remember when you watch Mousasi handle a dangerous veteran like Sobral on Saturday night that the newly crowned champion is a mere 24 years of age. Still a baby in this sport.

Winner: Gegard Mousasi via TKO

Gilbert Melendez vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida

I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you guys this one has the potential to be the fight of the night. The first fight between the two was comparable to watching paint dry in my opinion, largely due to Ishida choosing to employ a one-dimensional, “take him down and hold him down” style. Hey, it worked for him then, but it’s not going to this time.

On the bright side of things, I definitely anticipate this bout between the two to be far more entertaining than the first based largely on what I believe to be Melendez’ evolution and progression as a mixed martial artist.

An important fact to take not of in this one is that Ishida is coming back from a TKO defeat while Melendez is returning after an impressive knockout victory. While I anticipate this one going to the distance, anything can happen, and what I mean by that is ‘Melendez might knock him out’. They’re going the distance: final answer.

Winner: Melendez via unanimous decision

Jay Hieron vs. Jesse Taylor

Would Diaz vs. Riggs have been super awesome? Of course it would have been, but there’s no use in crying over spilt milk in this world. What we do have is an extremely interesting match-up between two top flight welterweights that should end up being quite a battle.

JT Money has been on an absolute rampage since his days acting like a complete moron at The Ultimate Fighter house, winning his last seven bouts in impressive fashion. Hieron has long been considered to be a force at welterweight, but has always lacked that one big win to push him to the upper crust of the division.

This bout will be a very interesting fight as the winner automatically becomes a very relevant force in the Strikeforce welterweight division overnight.

Winner: Jesse Taylor via unanimous decision

Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Kyle

A much more dangerous fight for Werdum than may initially meet the eye. Kyle has made a career of putting fully grown men to sleep and has a reputation for punching like a Mac-Truck. Of course, Werdum is coming back from a horribly disappointing knockout loss in the UFC at the fists of Junior dos Santos and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds against a fearsome striker such as Kyle.

With that said, Werdum is on a whole different level on the ground, and he should manage to get Kyle to the canvas and have his way with him. He just can’t fool himself into thinking that he’s some sort of kickboxer any longer. If you’re good at something, stick to it. I expect for Werdum to do just that in this one.

Winner: Werdum via sumbmission

  • fraz says:

    Completely agree with all of your prediction…especially Moussasi. In many ways, Moussasi is similar to Silva or Machida. Very patient and calm in the ring (well, now the cage) and often doesn’t even seem to break a sweat.

  • dpk says:

    I agree with your picks, except for Taylor. I have a feeling that Hieron is going to be too much for him, but it will be a fun fight to watch.

  • Persian_Prince says:

    “Winner: Gina Carano via knockout”… ROFL

    lets just say i wouldn’t bet my house on the one with the pretty face 😉

  • ace328 says:

    I agree about Gina because she has faced tougher competition and is the more technical striker. It will be interesting to see what happens if the fight makes it into the later rounds. It won’t look good for female mma if they both gas out in the 3rd or 4th round.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Ace, hard to tell cause the pic is so small, but who is that? Hendo?

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Good article but the one fight I do disagree with is Babalu vs Mousasi, I think with his superior wrestling and solid chin Babalu will win this fight, not a easy win by any means but he will take this one. Cyborg vs Carano is up in the air so either way I am o.k., I did love the bit of a masculine figure for Cyborg. I really belive Herion will take this fight also just because of his experience and the timing of it all.

  • TURKISH says:

    I disagree with everyone of your picks except Werdum by submission.

    Can’t wait for the fights though.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    “I did love the bit of a masculine figure for Cyborg”

    Care to explain this? This is neither the time nor the place for a coming-out party.

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    Carano via submission
    Mousasi via submission
    Melendez via TKO
    Taylor via KO

  • danw84 says:

    Everybody by ko!


  • metalmulisha says:

    Carano by TKO in the 3rd. (This pick is more a case of just being hopeful)

    Babalu by submission in the 3rd.

    Ishida by decision. (but hopefully not a boring one)

    Hieron by TKO in the 1st.

    Kyle KO in the 1st. (yeah calling the crazy upset just a feeling)

    If I go 1 out of 5 with these predictions I won’t be shocked at all.
    Heiron pick only one I’m totally comfortable with.

  • edub says:

    Cyborg- via tko

    Babalu- via dec or sub(I wouldnt be surprised if Mousasi knocks him out though)

    Melendez- via dec

    Hieron- via late tko(this is a hard one too because I dont know how Taylors wrestling game will do against Hierons )

    Werdum sub early

  • Angry Mike says:

    I’m picking Mousasi. His upkick ko of Jacare was sick. I’m also going with Taylor over Hieron. I think Taylor’s stronger, and Hieron doesn’t have his wrestling ability.

  • metalmulisha says:

    If Jesse Taylor upsets Jay Hieron I’ll never post on this site again.

    That’s how strongly I think this fight is a mis match.

    Either people aren’t to familiar with Hieron or they have a distorted take on Taylor because he was on TUF.

    And trust me I’m not a JT Money hater I personally think he got a raw deal from the UFC but that’s another topic. However Hieron is probably one of the two or three best 170lb. fighters outside of the UFC, and he’s going to land a lot of heavy punches on Taylor.

  • JollyDV says:

    I disagree with all of your picks except Werdum. Can’t wait to see how right I am. lol.

  • edub says:

    You know Mulisha im thinkin the same thing. Especially with the top two wws outside of the UFC thing(Him and Shields)(Again thats why they should have been looking for them two to fight for the title in the first place, but i digress…).

    I just dont know if Hieron can stop taylor from taking him down. CB Dollaway is the same caliber wrestler Hieron is and Taylor put him on his back a few times. Taylor being a massive ww also has me scratchin my head on this one.

  • Angry Mike says:

    No, really, I have heard of Hieron, and I’m not poor-mouthing him as a fighter. And I couldn’t care less whether Taylor was on TUF or whether he did or did not get a raw deal from UFC. He has less experience than Hieron, but imo, he’s got more raw talent. Whether he ever harnesses it is an open question, but I still think he can take Hieron. But I’ll accept your challenge. If Hieron wins, I promise never to read one of your posts on this site again.

  • Cyborg via R4 TKO – Fight of the Night
    Mousasi via UD
    Ishia via SD
    Hieron via R2 Sub
    Werdum via R1 Sub

  • metalmulisha says:

    Angry Mike to be honest my post was more or less directed at Cory’s prediction in his article. To be quite honest I had to go back and read your post again to see
    what you posted before.

    So your attempt at humor in regards to my post was not only dumb is was pointless.

    But if it makes you feel better to think your post has an impact on me leaving the comments to others on this site if Mousasi KO’s Babalu with a upkick I’ll also never post another comment. Feel included now.

  • shotokai_ says:

    Gina Carano via TKO Round 3

    Renato Sobral via RNC Round 2

    Gilbert Melendez via Unaminous Decision (FOTN)

    Jay Hieron via TKO Round 2

    Fabricio Werdum via Kimura Round 2

  • By the way, if anyone bets, Kyle is a huuuuuuge dog.

    It’s worth throwing 20, 25 bucks.

  • shotokai_ says:

    Whoever said above that they have a feeling Kyle could KO Werdum – I somewhat agree. Despite my above pick I’ve got visions of Kyle catching him in the opening minute, hard.

    metalmulisha for your sake I hope Taylor doesn’t hold Hieron down for 3 rounds. Although by no means probable, I do think that it is a bit more likely than you seem to think.

  • BigDave says:

    After tonight Gina Carano will be able to use one of the book names that forest griffin didn’t,”Who Moved my Nose?”

    Gina will not make it out of rd 1. CYBORG by KO.
    I saw Jesse Taylor outside after the way in kicking out car windows trying to get booted out of another organization.

    Jay hieron by 2nd round sub
    Ok now I got that out of my system on to the real fights.

    Babalu vs. Musasi is gonna be fight of the night. These two are both great fighters and I’m not sure which way it will go. I think it will come down to who makes the first mistake. I do have a feeling musasi may be just a tad better and may catch a arm or leg and end it.

    Musasi by 3rd round sub.

    Melendez vs. Ishida You may need to wake me up a few times during this one. I’m not sure Who will win but I predict it will be the guy laying on top of the other at the end of the fight.

    Melendez by split decision.

    Werdum vs. Kyle This is my candidate for knockout of the night.Werdum looked in shape. Kyle is a beast with heavy hands. Someone will be going to sleep and I think Werdum’s Experience against much better compation will take it.

    Werdum by KO rd 2

    Thats the card the way I see it feel free to agree. ;)jk!

  • edub says:

    “Cyborg- via tko

    Babalu- via dec or sub(I wouldnt be surprised if Mousasi knocks him out though)

    Melendez- via dec

    Hieron- via late tko(this is a hard one too because I dont know how Taylors wrestling game will do against Hierons )

    Werdum sub early”

    Im changing my Babalu pick to Mousasi. ko rd 2

  • shotokai_ says:

    @ BigDave: “Musasi by 3rd round sub.” You kiddin me bro?

    Subbing Manhoef and Hunt from the top is one thing but subbing Babalu Sobral – decorated BJJ black belt with 18 wins by sub – is another.
    That’s a brave pick right there man. If it happens I’ll have to force a spoon through my laptop screen and eat this comment.

  • Josh_Kahn says:

    This piece doesn’t make you look very good in retrospect, Cory.

  • Cory Brady says:

    3 for 5. Never claimed to be perfect.

  • BigDave says:

    5 for 5 but only called the main events rd and manner of victory. I’ll do better next time;)

  • 4/5. Although I’m glad to have picked Melendez/Ishida wrong.

    Big Dave looks to be the overall winnner here!


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