Strikeforce: Houston. Scott Coker and his marketing team have done it again! That clever title should drive casual fans in by the sevens. Does Strikeforce do any actual marketing? I watch some Showtime and, while I've seen a thousand commercials for The Big C, I haven't seen any mention of tomorrow's event. I'm pretty sure Ariel Helwani has done more to hype this fight card than Strikeforce. Anyway, it's MMA and it looks like a fun card. Of course, I'm probably biased because I'm a fan of Jacare and any Jorge Grugel fight. Plus King Mo is fighting so Strikeforce will actually spend more than $100 on someone's ring entrance.
I'm riding high on my predictions after going 5-5 at UFC 117 which probably spells a 1-3 night for me tomorrow. My picks are in bold and I'll keep using Bodog's lines until they send me some cash or a T-shirt.
“King Mo” Lawal -575 vs. “Feijao” Cavalcante +375
This will be King Mo's first defense of the Light Heavyweight Championship. The unusually humble Lawal claims to be the underdog in this fight but everyone in Vegas strongly disagrees. I expect King Mo will have the same wrestling-centric strategy that he applied in the shocking defeat of Gegard Mousasi. It may not be the most exciting game plan in the sport but it is effective. Hopefully Feijao will be more active in attempting submissions than Mousasi was or the most interesting part of this fight will be King Mo's entrance. King Mo via decision.
“Jacare” Souza -250 vs. Tim Kennedy +190
The winner of this fight claims Jake Shields' vacated Middleweight Championship belt. This should be a great fight both on the ground and standing. Kennedy was a former Green Beret who served in the 7th Special Forces Group. Jacare is Portuguese for alligator. I think that's a push. Kennedy is a good grappler as well as a good striker. And did I mention he was a sniper? Jacare is one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters on the planet. Jacare isn't Anderson Silva on his feet but he can still hold his own in the striking game. I can't wait for this fight. Jacare via 2nd round submission.
Bobby Lashley -600 vs. Chad Griggs +400
Griggs might be one of Lashley's tougher opponents to date. The striker has put together an 8-1 record mainly via knockouts in a career scattered around the IFL and some Rage in the Cages. So, nothing to get real excited about. Former WWE/TNA star Bobby Lashley has beaten the likes of Wes Sims and Bob Sapp in his young MMA career. Lashley does have a strong amateur wrestling background that will be too much for Griggs. After Lashley rolls, you'd hope Strikeforce would keep elevating his competition to see if he can eventually carry a show. Or they could feed him Dave Bautista so the MMA media and Dana White could mock Strikeforce some more. Lashley via 2nd round TKO.
K.J. Noons -340 vs. Jorge Gurgel +260
This is where I get in trouble in predictions. I enjoy most Gurgel fights and because he's a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I usually end up picking him. But he's 4-5 in his last 9 fights between the UFC and Showtime/Strikeforce. He also hasn't been using much of that BJJ as he's easily drawn into brawls. Gurgel claims he's going back to a BJJ gameplan but Noons should be able to coax Gurgel into standing and swinging wildly. If that's the case, Noons will probably win in a unanimous decision. But I'm calling for the upset. Gurgel via 3rd round submission.
Alright kids, enjoy the violence. If you'd like, we can banter during the fights over at Twitter. You can find me @MnkysThrwngDrts. Don't like MMA? Well, I'm not sure why you read this far but you can check out my baseball musings at Off Base Percentage.