Two major lightweight veterans will throw down this weekend (Aug. 10, 2013) as Tyson Griffin takes on Gesias Cavalcante on the World Series of Fighting 4 main card in Ontario, California.
Griffin is hoping to give his career a nice shot in the arm after a rough stretch that saw him released from the UFC. He returned to active competition late last year with a victory over The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Efrain Escudero and is hoping to build off that.
Cavalcante has fallen off in the last two years after once being considered perhaps the best lightweight in the world during the mid 2000's. "JZ" has had mixed results in WSOF but hopes to put himself in a firm position in the promotion's 155 lb. division with a win on Saturday night.
Record: 16-6 overall, 0-0 in WSOF
Key Wins: Rafael dos Anjos (UFC Fight Night 18), Clay Guida (UFC 72), Gleison Tibau (UFC 81)
Key Losses: Nik Lentz (UFC 123), Bart Palaszewski (UFC on Versus 4), Takanori Gomi (UFC on Versus 2)
How he got here: Griffin was a standout wrestler in high school but dropped out of college to pursue a fighting career. He worked his way up in the Gladiator Challenge promotion, actually defeating Urijah Faber to claim the promotion's featherweight title.
He would make his UFC debut in 2006 and made an immediate impact, winning six bonuses in his first eight fights including five "Fight of the Nights" which put him among the list of the promotion's top lightweight contenders.
His momentum ground to a screeching halt in 2010 with three straight losses which forced him to make the decision to drop down to featherweight again in attempt to turn his career around. After a 1-1 stint including missing weight in a losing effort against Bart Palaszewski, he was released from the promotion.
Griffin took a year off from fighting but returned to the cage last November, scoring a decision win over Efrain Escudero in the RFA promotion before signing with WSOF earlier this year. Now, he's looking to take out Cavalcante and get himself back on track for good.
How he gets it done: Griffin's biggest advantage has always been his ability to push a crazy pace and wear his opponents down. That should be his strategy against Cavalcante as well considering the Blackzilian has faded late in fights and is likely no longer in the same physical condition after all knee injuries.
Look for Griffin to get right in Cavalcante's face just like Justin Gaethje did in his last bout. If he can push him hard, he might make the veteran wilt under his constant pressure. Griffin doesn't have much one-punch knockout power but he could accumulate some serious damage and hurt Cavalcante if he can keep the luta livre fighter from having a chance to catch his breath.
Record: 17-7-1 (2 No Contests) overall, 1-1 in WSOF
Key Wins: Bobby Green (Strikeforce: Fedor vs Henderson), Katsunori Kikuno (Dream 15), T.J. O'Brien (WSOF I)
Key Losses: Justin Gaethje (WSOF 2), Josh Thomson (Strikeforce: Diaz vs Noons 2), Tatsuya Kawajiri (Dream 9)
How he got here: A very competent luta livre fighter, Cavalcante made his professional debut in 2004 and really turned it on after suffering his first career loss to notable veteran Joachim Hansen.
From 2004-2007, "JZ" was practically untouchable, going 12-0-1 and winning two special Grand Prixs and scoring significant victories over the likes of Michihiro Omigawa, Rani Yahya, Hiroyuki Takaya, Caol Uno and Bart Palaszewski.
A devastating knee injury put a damper on his dominance and to be honest, he's never quite been the same. Since returning from knee surgery in 2009, Cavalcante has gone 3-5 with one no contest, most recently going 1-1 since signing with WSOF last year.
He's hoping to turn it around starting with Griffin this weekend.
How he gets it done: Cavalcante is likely not going to be able to outwork Griffin over the course of three rounds, but what he has going for him is a decent pop in his punches and a chance to dish out some pain in the stand-up department against an opponent who's susceptible to heavy blows.
If Cavalcante can pin Griffin against the fence, he could work the AKA fighter over with elbows and knees, perhaps even work for takedowns, although that's being optimistic. "JZ's" best chance at winning this fight is to catch Griffin napping with some powerful striking techniques and try to put the 29-year old to sleep.
Griffin has been knocked out in two of his last three losses, so perhaps an early blitz can put the Blackzilian over the top. The longer this fight goes, the worse his odds are.
Who will come out on top at WSOF 4? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!