Preview – Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg – Who Else Is Ready For A Girl Fight!?
A couple weeks ago this was looking like a tremendous card. There were going to be something like 7 championship bouts. Then some people got hurt, some people had a bad trip and others decided they didn’t have enough time to flush drugs out of their system. Now we’re left with the titular title fight and some leftovers.
Where once we had a championship fight of Joe Riggs vs. Nick Diaz we now have Jay Hieron (17-4) vs. Jesse Taylor (13-3). Hieron is one of the Affliction castoffs. He’s on a 5-fight win streak and last fought at Affliction: Day of Reckoning in January. Taylor on the other hand has already fought 6 times this year including twice last month. He’s probably fighting right now. Taylor was one of the best fighters on TUF 7 and he’s been on a tear since getting kicked off the show and then dropped from the UFC. (Remember, those were 2 different occurrences.) I’d like to see JT-Money continue his streak because he’s a fun guy to watch. He’s a danger to himself and everyone around him, but from the safe viewing from my couch, he’s great.
The last fight added to the main card was Mike Kyle (12-6-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (11-4-1). Originally, this was supposed to be a title fight between Werdum and Heavyweight Champ Alistair Overeem. The champ had to pull out though. That’s -2 championship fights if you’re keeping count. Kyle went 2-1 in the UFC with a win over James Irvin a few years back. He’s won 3 straight after a rough stretch that saw 3 L’s and a D. Werdum is fresh out of the UFC. Werdum went 2-2 in the big show with wins over Brandon Vera (controversial stoppage) and Gabe Gonzaga. He lost to Andrei Arlovski and Junior dos Santos. I’m guessing Werdum pummels Kyle.
Hey, finally, a title fight! Oh, its an interim title? Who cares!? There’s going to be a big shiny belt on somebody’s waist at the end of the Mistuhiro Ishida (18-5-1) vs. Gilbert Melendez (15-2) fight. Melendez has held the Strikeforce Lightweight Title and now the Interim Lightweight Title. (As the poster above shows, it was originally supposed to be a title unification bout.) He also once held the WEC LW belt. Ishida is fighting for the fake belt despite the fact that he’s coming off a loss. (What a challenger!) Though to be fair, he did win his last fight under the Strikeforce banner last year. Also, he beat Melendez back in 2007. I’m going to guess Melendez gets his revenge Saturday. He has fought for many belts (both real and make-believe) before so the harsh lights of Showtime shouldn’t bother him.
In the Light Heavyweight division, we get an actual championship fight. Gegard Mousasi (28-2-1) vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral (35-8) was originally scheduled for Affliction: Trilogy, but that didn’t happen so Strikeforce scooped up the bout. Babalu won the Strikeforce LHW belt back in late 2008 and hasn’t defended it since. Babalu has gone undefeated since he was tossed from the UFC for holding onto a choke for too long. Like I said then, he needs to win and win a lot to get back to the UFC. With the new war, he could become one of Strikeforce’s tent poles. To do that he’ll have to beat the young, but experienced, Mousasi. He’s won 12 straight fights including 6 in 2008. His last 5 fights have come in DREAM. He already has his next fight scheduled for October against Sokoju. This will be Mousasi’s first fight on American soil. I’m guessing Babalu, one of the top 205-lbers in the world, give the younger Mousasi his first setback in 3 years.
Finally, we have the main event. The first female 145 pound title fight in Strikeforce’s history. It features the face of Women’s MMA and a truly scary woman. Gina Carano (7-0) vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos (7-1) will be the first Women’s fight to headline a major show. Cyborg is favored in Vegas, but Carano is favored in the hearts of the fans. (The male fans at least.) The main concern for Carano might be ring rust. She hasn’t fought since EliteXC went under while Cyborg most recently earned a TKO in April. The most interesting part of the fight could be the weigh in. Both ladies have a history of not making weight. And not just missing weight. I’m talking around 5 pounds over. This could be the inaugural Welterweight Women’s title by Saturday night. My question – If only one woman makes weight, does she get the belt?
This will also be the first time either fighter could go longer than 15 minutes. (Cyborg once, Carano none times) Most women’s fights are 3, 3-minute rounds. This will be 5, 5 minute rounds. Who knows what happens if this thing gets to a 4th round. A double-pass out is possible. I’ll be rooting for Gina Carano as I always root for good looking people, but I think Cyborg wins the first ever women’s title.