The one who doesn't fall, doesn't stand up ...
After recent strings of misfortune that led to their dismissal from the big stage, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contenders Tyson Griffin and Efrain Escudero will look to rebuild and restart their careers at one another's expense, going toe-to-toe in the main event of Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) 4 event.
RFA 4 is set to pop off tomorrow night (Fri., Nov. 2, 2012) from the Dallas Event Center inside Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Griffin and Escudero are far from the only attractions -- the card is loaded top-to-bottom with talent, from veterans looking to regain lost luster to prospects itching to take the next big step.
Follow me for a closer look at RFA 4: "Griffin vs. Escudero" below.
155 lbs.: Tyson Griffin vs. Efrain Escudero
Honestly, I'm not too sure what to make of this one -- it's a guy on a marked downswing against a guy who I'm not convinced was ever really that good to begin with. In short, it's a fight with a lot of questions, which is one of my favorite types to watch, but one of my least favorite to write about.
Nonetheless, a poor recent run (1-4) and year of inactivity be damned, I'm taking Tyson Griffin (15-6).
When looking at Griffin's losses, it strikes me that Efrain Escudero (18-5) has pretty much none of the attributes that have recently sunk Griffin. He doesn't have the wrestling of Nik Lentz or Evan Dunham nor the hellacious power of Takanori Gomi and Bart Palaszewski. His stand up is pretty darn limited, and while Griffin did somehow get outboxed by Sean Sherk, he's a solid striker in his own right.
If Escudero can get Griffin on his back with regularity, this is winnable, but even with Griffin's decline, I don't see it happening. Griffin dictates where and how the fight takes place, stuffing Efrain's shots and steadily outworking him for a clear, if uninspiring victory.
Prediction: Griffin by unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Chidi Njokuani vs. Phil Dace
Chidi Njokuani (8-3) fights about how you'd expect him to -- real big, real long, real fast, real nasty on the feet. Phil Dace (8-2) is primarily a stand up fighter, which is primarily the reason I need to say no more. Njokuani's takedown defense and grappling have looked solid so far; I'd like to see him against a wrestler, but Dace isn't the sort to exploit that potential hole.
I just don't see how Dace wins this aside from holding him against the fence for dear life, and considering that Njokuani broke the ribs of one of the last guys to try that, things aren't looking too bright for the Team Tompkins representative.
Njokuani by beatdown.
Prediction: Njokuani by first round technical knockout
205 lbs.: Joe Yager vs. Marcio Cruz
Look, I'm picking Marcio Cruz (7-3) anyway, but you couldn't pay me to take Joe Yager (5-0). That's because every time somebody with a nickname like "Yagerbombz" wins a fight, God kills a kitten.
Think of the kittens.
Stupid name notwithstanding, Yager's record is completely empty, his sole forte (wrestling) puts him in "Pe de Pano's" world, and he's taking this fight on short notice. Cruz has fought twice in the last three years, but he's a superioir enough fighter that he should have his way with Yager regardless.
RNC victory for the UFC veteran.
Prediction: Cruz by first-round submission
This fight intrigues me more than probably any other on this card. Fredson Paixao (10-4) is a damn fine grappler, while Lance Palmer (4-) is one of the top prospects in the entire division, a four-time Division I All-American fighting out of Team Alpha Male.
Plus, I was a bit concerned that Paixao was still out from that flying knee.
Paixao can most likely shred Palmer on the ground, whether he's on top or the bottom, meaning Palmer can't use his best weapon. While that would ordinarily be a clincher for me, especially with Palmer's inexperience, I have a policy of never picking against a Team Alpha Male representative who weighs less than 155 pounds (provided it's not a championship fight) and I don't think that Paixao is any sort of threat on the feet.
Just because a fight's intriguing doesn't mean it'll be entertaining. I imagine that Palmer's been put through the wringer by Master Tong and the gang, so his stand up and strength should be enough to inch past Paixao in a classic "two grapplers trying to strike" affair.
Prediction: Palmer by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: James Krause vs. Guilherme Trindade
Guilherme Trindade (8-0) is being pushed as a top prospect. And considering he's finished every opponent so far, seven in the first round and five in the first two minutes, it's easy to see where they're coming from.
Personally, I ain't buying it.
Trindade hits plenty hard, but he's sloppy on the feet and more-or-less clueless on the ground. I'm still not entirely clear on what James Krause (16-4) is supposed to be good at, but he's competent enough on the feet to survive Trindade's flurry and solid enough on the ground to making him pay for his zeal.
Unless Trindade gets damn lucky with his early blitz, expect Krause to plant him on his ass and lock in a sub in short order.
Prediction: Krause by first-round submission
155 lbs.: Derrick Burnsed vs. Dakota Cochrane
I don't know what to think of Dakota Cochrane (12-3). One minute he's owning Jamie Varner, the next he's flunking out of TUF house and dropping two straight, the next he's submitting Joe Stevenson. And all I really know of Derrick Burnsed (10-2) is that Francisco Drinaldo damn near knocked his head off back in '11.
Both of these guys are grappling specialists, which means it ought to be entertaining. Cochrane, though, has fought significantly tougher competition and usually come out on top, including Marcus LeVesseur and the aforementioned Varner. The early part of the fight should be even, with Cochrane's relentlessness eventually wearing down Burnsed enough for the former to get top position and work his way to a clear-cut decision win.
Prediction: Cochrane by unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Sergio Pettis vs. Jimmy Jones
I'm not quite as high on Sergio Pettis (5-0) as others. His takedown defense looks pretty porous and, while it looks solid, I doubt his guard is capable enough to make up for it. Plus, he's yet to fight anyone worth a darn.
Still, Jimmy Jones (4-1) is primarily a stand up fighter, although the fact that he trains out of Xtreme Couture has me a bit worried. In all likelihood, though, this should be a striking battle, with Pettis' heavy kicks eventually wearing down Jones enough to catch him with something big and polish him off.
Prediction: Pettis by second-round technical knockout
That's a wrap for the RFA 4 preview and predictions.
Remember, Mania will have live coverage of the event, starting with the AXS TV broadcast at 10 p.m. ET.
See you then.