Tomorrow night’s Strikeforce event seemed to come up fast as shit, probably because there’s been barely any advertising of it, which naturally makes us forget. Either way, the card’s got some very interesting bouts, including the main event between "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and Renato "Babalu" Sobral, which will take place at a 195lb. catchweight. The winner of this fight will receive the next title shot in their respected weight divisions (Lawler normally fights at 185lbs, Sobral at 205lbs). Needless to say, the stakes are at an all time high for these two fighters, who obviously want to get back to the top of their weight class.
The co-main event is a stand-up-fighting fans wet dream; a welterweight clash between DREAM champion Marius Zaromskis and Chute Boxe brawler Evangalista "Cyborg" Santos. Both of these strikers desperately need this win to remain relevant in Strikeforce’s 170lb. division. Zaromskis, the 2009 DREAM Welterweight Grand-Prix champion was recently battered and beaten in under one round by Nick Diaz last January at Strikeforce: Miami. Santos’ last Strikeforce appearance was a split decision loss to Joey Villasenor last June, but has since rebounded with a first round knockout victory over MMA newcomer Daniel Zarate in a smaller show down in Brazil this past December. Santos is going to look to improve his win-streak to two, something he hasn’t done since 2006, and Zaromskis will look to put his disappointing last performance on the back-burner and re-establish himself in the organization as a front runner for a title shot.
Also on the main card is the long-awaited return of US Army Special Forces middleweight Tim Kennedy, who will be taking on the very tough South-African Trevor Prangley, as well as the Strikeforce debut of former EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons, who will take on Conor Heun at 155lbs. After the jump you’ll find my predictions (which have been shit recently).
195lb Catchweight Match: Robbie Lawler vs. Renato Sobral
- Babalu’s willingness to engage on the feet instead of taking the fight to the ground where he would be vastly superior leads me to think that Robbie Lawler will end up knocking him out. Babalu’s stand-up is shit compared to Robbie’s, and he’s going to realize that the longer he decides to strike with him. Babalu’s got some solid wrestling skills, but so does Lawler, and I think Robbie will have no problem stuffing the takedown and then following it up with some of his trademark bombs. If Babalu does get Lawler to the ground, he’s going to get the submission. Babalu’s grappling is still amazing, and I have no doubt he could submit his H.I.T. Squad opponent. Will Babalu take the fight to the ground and play it safe? I don’t think so. I’m picking Robbie Lawler via knockout, round 2.
Welterweight Match: Marius Zaromskis vs. Evangalista Santos
- First things first, I love watching both of these guys fight. They’re strikers, I love strikers, and I especially love seeing two strikers stand and strike with one-another. Anybody who misses this fight fucking sucks, you’d be a fool not to catch it. Now, with that out of the way, I think that this is anyone’s fight. Although Zaromskis dominated the DREAM Welterweight Grand-Prix last year, he got his ass whooped by Nick Diaz, plain and simple. I think his chin is suspect, and considering the knockout power that Santos packs, I won’t be shocked if Zaromskis gets put to sleep. The same can be said for Santos though, who’s lost 8 times via (T)KO (one due to injury), his chin isn’t the best, and anyone who’s seen Zaromskis fight in DREAM knows that the Lithuanian has the ability to fuck anyone up with all of his appendages (minus his junk, which I hope to never see). Whomever is the more aggressive fighter will win this fight, as neither guy are known for their counter-striking. We haven’t really seen how Zaromskis returns from a devestating loss, and Santos is probably going to come into this fight psychotic and ready to eat a baby. Still, I gotta go with the Lithuanian. Marius Zaromskis via TKO, round 1.
Middleweight Match: Trevor Prangley vs. Tim Kennedy
- As a former member of the military, I’m rooting for Tim Kennedy all the way. I’ve been a fan of his for years, he’s a great role model, leader, and a true American who can also blow the fuck out of terrorist scum without thinking twice. He looks better and better each time he fights, which was evident with his TKO victory over veteran Nick Thompson, and his submission win over Zak Cummings. He’s taking a big step up in competition though with Prangley, who’s fought all over the world, including the UFC, and brings a bigger wealth of experience to the table. Kennedy loves rising to the occassion though, his warrior mindset and will to survive makes him one of the most promotable up-and-coming fighters that Strikeforce has. He’s got all the tools to be something great, and could do big things for Strikeforce if he gets past Trevor. I think that this fight will be a very close, back and forth battle between two fighters who have very equal skill-sets. I gotta give the edge to Prangley though, who’s powerful wrestling skills and durability make him one dangerous bastard. I’m taking Prangley via split decision.
Lightweight Match: KJ Noons vs. Conor Heun
- I think I might be one of the only KJ Noons fans out there. He’s not a well-liked guy, probably because of his unwillingness to grant former opponent Nick Diaz a rematch when EliteXC was still around. This decision ultimately led to KJ being stripped of his championship, and sent him off to professional boxing for some time. He returned to MMA last March, taking on Andre Amade a DREAM.13, where swept the Brazilian via unanimous decision and looked great doing it. Personally, I think KJ could easily compete with the top lightweights in Strikeforce, and I expect him to blow through Heun and make a big statement to officially kick the main card off. KJ Noons via TKO, round 2.
Enjoy tomorrow nights event, which airs on Showtime at 11 P.M. eastern time. Oh, don’t forget to stop by our forums and talk about the fights as they go down!