With only moments before the undercard begins, I’m scrambling to get my picks out for tonight’s Strikeforce broadcast on Showtime, with preliminary fights on HDnet.
Brian Melancon (5-1) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (11-3-1)
This catchweight bout of 175 pounds is set to begin tonight’s promising Strikeforce card. Melancon has finished most of his 6 fights, with the exception of two decisions, one win and one loss. His only loss came when he fought on the card of Bellator 20, the most prestigious promotion on his resume, until of course his debut tonight inside the Strikeforce cage.
Vallie-Flagg is normally a lightweight fighting out of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico, but agreed to this 175-lb catchweight bout in hopes of picking up his 12th victory. He’ll have to look out for the submission, as that’s how he’s been defeated all three times in his career. Although he has that going against them, the losses were earlier in his career and I feel like he’s comfortable where he is now training with one of the best teams in the game.
Isaac Vallie-Flagg via Unanimous Decision
Todd Moore (13-4) vs. Mikel Bronzoulis (12-2-1)
Moore is a well-versed fighter coming out of Texas who has only lost to top competition in his career. With 3 of his 4 losses coming consecutively against the likes of Shinya Aoki, Shane Roller, and John Alessio, it’s safe to say he’s not afraid to take a challenge head on.
Mikel Bronzoulis is another experienced fighter who hasn’t been finished since his MMA debut in 2007. He fought to a draw against the tough Kamal Shalorus but is riding a four fight win streak into tonight’s fight.
I don’t really what to expect when these two step in the cage tonight, but I’m taking Bronzoulis.
Bronzoulis via 2nd rd TKO
Joe Ray (5-1) vs. Nah-Shon Burrell (5-1)
Ray is normally a welterweight at 170 while Burrell is accustomed to fighting in the 185 lb division. Tonight they’ll meet in a catchweight bout of 180 lbs. Joe Ray is a brawler and will be extremely tough for Burrell to finish as Ray’s only loss came as a decision back in December. Luckily for the fans the same can be said for Philadelphia’s Nah-Shon Burrell holding the same record and the same method of defeat. This should be a quick fight, and look for a KO from either side.
Burrell via 1st rd KO
Conor Heun (8-4) vs. Magno Almeida (9-1-1)
Each of these lightweight’s have a black belt in BJJ. Heun is coming off back-to-back losses but to top competitors KJ Noons and Jorge Gurgel. On the other hand, Almeida certainly has momentum on his side winning five straight.
Look for Heun to make a comeback statement tonight.
Heun via 3rd rd TKO
JZ Cavalcante (15-4-1) vs. Justin Wilcox (11-3)
Cavalcante has been on a serious decline lately dropping 3 out of his past 4 even though each one has been decided by the judges. Wilcox is a slight drop in opponent level for JZ though so this should be more aggressive for both fighters. Wilcox earned this match-up for coming into tonight with six straight victories.
Cavalcante via Unanimous Decision
Since the card starts in about 20 minutes, I’m just going to throw out the remainder of my predictions for tonight’s main card.
Valentijn Overeem (31-28) vs. Chad Griggs (10-1) – Griggs via 1st rd TKO
Daniel Cormier (7-0) vs. Jeff Monson (42-11) – Cormier via Unanimous Decision
KJ Noons (10-3) vs. Jorge Masvidal (21-6) – Noons via Unanimous Decision
Josh Barnett (29-5) vs. Brett Rogers (11-2) – Barnett via 1st rd Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)
Alistair Overeem (34-11) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) – Overeem via 2nd rd TKO