Strikeforce is ready to blow the roof off the Toyota Center as it invades "Houston" for its latest Showtime offering scheduled for this Saturday (August 21) at 10 p.m. ET.
Strikeforce "Houston" will feature a light heavyweight title fight between current 205-pound champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and hard-hitting Brazilian contender Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante in the main event of the evening.
Also battling for gold will be Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a bid to claim the promotion's vacant middleweight title.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of Strikeforce: "Houston," beginning with the Showtime telecast at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, we will deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the under card action much earlier on fight night.
To help get you better prepared for the festivities I've given some analysis and predictions for the main card below.
Check it out:
205 lbs.: Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante
Can "Feijao" stop "King Mo" from taking him down?
If he can, he'll have a great shot at capturing the title, because his striking is good enough to beat the champ. But that's an enormous if. Nobody has been able to stop the wrestling attack of "King Mo" since he started fighting professionally a little less than two years ago.
Two years and this guy is already a Strikeforce world champion. That speaks volumes about his drive and talent level. He hasn't been fighting bums either. Travis Wiuff, Mousasi, Mike Whitehead, Mark Kerr: These are all experienced mixed martial artists with credible resumes, and with the exception of Mousasi, Mo beat all of them inside the first round.
"Feijao's" no bum either. He's been very impressive with TKO wins over two very tough opponents (Antwain Britt and Aaron Rosa) since the setback to Kyle. You can be sure that he'll come into this fight well prepared with a solid gameplan, but I just can't see him being able to keep Mo off the top of him, regardless of how much he's been training takedown defense for this fight.
And once Mo's on top of him, I have serious doubts that "Feijao" can defend his ground and pound for five rounds like Mousasi was able to. I just don't trust his ability to withstand punishment. I know he's a black belt in jiu jitsu, but I still think it's bad news for him if he's fighting off his back.
My money is on "King Mo."
Final prediction: Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal via technical knockout
185 lbs.: Tim Kennedy vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
I'm taking the Brazilian. I've seen him fight and win against guys that are very similar to Kennedy, mainly Jason Miller. He knows what Kennedy has to offer, and he knows what it's going to take to deal with him.
Kennedy, on the other hand, has never faced a guy like "Jacare," who is dangerous in every aspect of the fight. He's better on his feet and his jiu jitsu is on another level. And while Kennedy usually relies on his strength, "Jacare" is a freakishly strong guy, too, and can match him in that area. Souza simply has more weapons and more ways to win.
He did appear to wear down in his last fight against Joey Villasenor, and that is something that Kennedy can certainly look to exploit. I can definitely envision a scenario where Kennedy gets a late TKO from ground and pound or something like that, but in all likelihood, "Jacare" is going to have his cardio tightened up and he's going to be too technical to be overpowered.
But, the longer the fight goes, the more I like Kennedy's chances to pull something off. The truth is, though, we haven't really seen his cardio get tested all that much yet either. He's only gone to the scorecards twice in fourteen fights.
Like I said, there are just more ways for "Jacare" to win, so I'm going with him. Kennedy has been one of the most impressive fighters on the Strikeforce roster over the last year, but I think he's going to come up a little bit short in this one.
Final prediction: "Jacare" Souza via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Karl "KJ" Noons vs. Jorge Gurgel
Gurgel would be smart to try and get this fight to the ground if possible, but I think we all know that's not likely to happen. For one thing, Noons' takedown defense is fantastic. And for another, Gurgel usually elects to stand and trade, anyway, despite being a highly respected black belt in jiu jitsu.
That doesn't seem like the greatest of gameplans to bring into a fight against KJ, but that's what we've come to expect from a Jorge Gurgel fight. Like I said, though, I don't think it's smart, at all.
Noons is a high level striker with great boxing, solid kicks and knockout power from everywhere. I know Conor Huen had a fair amount of success in the stand up against him, but nobody really expected Huen to come out firing like that. He knows he has to be prepared to bang with Gurgel, and I think we'll see a much better KJ Noons because of that.
Counter punching will be big for Noons in this fight. I can definitely see him being the first one to stop Jorge with strikes. If not though, he'll take the decision. There's a lot on the line for both guys, so expect a barn burner either way.
Final prediction: KJ Noons via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Bobby "Dominator" Lashley vs. Chad "The Grave Digger" Griggs
Griggs has been doing his best Chael Sonnen impersonation leading up to this fight. Okay, maybe not to that extent, but still, he's done a decent job of hyping up a fight that at first glance appeared to be nothing more than another walk in the park for Lashley.
Still, I'm having a hard time buying what he's selling.
He's been out of action for over 15 months, and the last two opponents he's faced have a combined record of 1-2. He trains with a good camp at APEX, but that's still a long time to go without really being tested in a fight, especially when you're about to face a physically imposing wrestler like Lashley.
I see Lashley winning this fight by submission in one of the first two rounds. He's been training hard with the American Top Team crew for a while now, and I have to believe that his submission game has taken a big step forward during that time.
Griggs will give up a decent amount of weight on fight night, and I don't think he'll be able to deal with "The Dominator" once they lock up.
Final prediction: Bobby Lashley via submission
That's a wrap. Sound off with your predictions in the comments section below.