This weekend is shaping up to be a big event for the Strikeforce promotion. With two title fights and the next cage appearance by a prominent Gracie fighter, this show has the potential to provide a lot of action for MMA fans.
Strikeforce Welterweight Championship
Nick Diaz versus Evangelista Santos
While his record may not show it, Santos is a very viable threat to Diaz. The current champion has to be certain to weather the opening storm for which Santos has become well known. The challenger often storms out of the game and tries to impose his will on his opponent; even when he was outmuscled while fighting as a middleweight. Diaz himself has also been known for pushing the pace of the fight; using his potent boxing skills to keep challengers guessing while on the feet. While his striking is more technically sound than Santos, he will still have to avoid the wild bombs that will be coming his way.
If and when then fight hits the mat, Diaz will have a large advantage. The Cesar Gracie black belt has the abilities to reach for a submission at any time. This becomes much more viable during the championship rounds, in which Diaz has been a part of during a few occasions.
On paper this seems to be a filler title matchup for Diaz; however this fight is much more dangerous than it seems. That said; look for Diaz to pull out a victory by submission.
Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Ronaldo Souza versus Robbie Lawler
Coming off of a quick knockout of Matt Lindland, Lawler has proven that he has the strength to put anyone to sleep at any moment during a fight. With this in mind, the challenger will look to keep this fight standing in hopes of landing a big blow that allows him to finish Souza.
The champion, on the other hand, will look to take this fight to the ground, where he will be able to control Lawler, while scoring points or placing him in a bad submission. A dual black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo, Souza is proficient in getting his opponents down to the mat.
Souza has stated that he has worked on his striking for this fight and will use those abilities to keep his opponent guessing. However, it would be very dangerous for Souza to stand in front of a swinging Lawler. If Lawler lands a heavy blow early in the fight, this one can be over quickly. Instead, look for Souza to take the challenger down and grind out a unanimous decision victory.
Roger Gracie versus Trevor Prangley
Gracie carries the mantle of the name that is credited with beginning the mixed martial arts craze in the United States. With a laundry list of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu victories under his belt, he is making a smooth, albeit slow, transition into MMA. His three MMA victories are each two years apart and Strikeforce has been looking to get him back into the cage. Standing opposite of him is the veteran Prangley, who has the experience to trouble Gracie in this fight.
Prangley has made it known that he plans to pressure Gracie from the opening bell and keep this fight on the feet. He believes that he will be able to out strike the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and force him into making a mistake.
Gracie is very good at getting the fight to where he wants it to be and that is on the mat. He can score a takedown from a variety of positions, plus if you take him down, that doesn’t automatically make you safe. Gracie has been working on his jab and using it to set up his takedowns for this matchup.
Expect Prangley to come out quickly and try to test Gracie’s chin. Instead, Gracie will tie up his opponent and take him to the mat where he will coax a submission victory.
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