Two titles will be on the line at tomorrow’s “Strikeforce: Houston” event as light heavyweight champ “King Mo” Lawal faces Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and middleweights Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vie to become Strikeforce’s 185-pound champ.
Predictions from MMAFrenzy.com’s writers and staff are below:
MUHAMMED “KING MO” LAWAL VS. RAFAEL “FEIJAO” CAVALCANTE
Kris Karkoski: Though “Feijao” has heavy hands and is a serious threat from his feet, Lawal’s wrestling should be enough to get him to the ground where should earn a knockout in the later rounds.
Chrisl: King Mo will likely be imposing the same gameplan he had for Gegard Mousai. The x-factor is what has Lawal’s former college teammate taught bean. I am taking Lawal by decision. I think his wrestling is too good, and even with Munoz, Calavacante will not be ready.
bsbiz: How well will Lawal handle Feijao’s submissions will probably determine how this fight goes. I have no doubt that King Mo’s gameplan will consist of a more or less carbon copy of his plan against Moussasi: Take him down, ground, pound, lather, rinse, repeat. However, I don’t expect Feijao to lay submissively waiting for King Mo to gas or for the ref to stand them up like it appeared Moussasi was doing. If/when Mo takes him down, look for the usual submissions to be thrown at a wrestler: armbars and triangles (see Sonnen, Chael). All it takes it a wrestler not paying attention for two seconds and he’s wrapped up in a bad spot. Be wary, King Mo. Beware the Armbars of August.
fr702: Lawal has said that “Feijao” has more experience and is a very well-rounded fighter and I agree. “Feijao” will win the light heavyweight title by unanimous decision.
TIM KENNEDY VS. RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA
Kris Karkoski: If Kennedy can avoid going to the ground and playing it Souza’s submission game, he should be able to outpoint him on the feet to earn a unanimous decision and the middleweight title.
Chrisl: The Alligator vs. The Sniper. I know Kennedy has done well in grappling but this is Jacare, so his grappling does not matter. Kennedy does have solid striking but I think Jacare does just enough striking to setup a takedown and turns this into a grappling match. I think that eventually Jacare overwhelms Kennedy on the ground. Jacare via sub in the third.
bsbiz: This is a fight between a grappler who can strike (Kennedy) and possibly the best pure grappler going in the game right now (Jacare). Don’t get me wrong, Jacare can do some good striking, but he’s never knocked someone out and it seems like he uses his striking not to do that, but rather to set up his takedowns and submission game. One of the keys to this fight will be the pace. Jacare appears to have gassed towards the end of the Villasenor fight (the only third round he’s dealt with in his professional career), so if it’s a fast paced, longer fight, Kennedy should have an advantage…if he can avoid being submitted.
fr702: Everyone knows I’m a fan of Jacare, there is no denying that, but few people know that I’m a long-time Kennedy fan as well. I’m super pumped for this fight. From the stand up to the sub attempts and defense, Kennedy can fight everywhere, but Jacare’s standup is becoming solid. My gut says Jacare by submission because he’s one of the best BJJ artists ever but I’m just going to sit back and enjoy watching these two fight for the middleweight title.
KJ NOONS VS. JORGE GURGEL
Kris Karkoski: Though Gurgel has vowed to stick to a BJJ gameplan, Noons should be able to bait him into staying on his feet and slugfest rarely end well for Gurgel. Noons by unanimous decision.
Chrisl: If Gurgel remembers he has a black belt I think he finishes Noons on the ground, but if he does not, then Noons will pick him apart en route to a decision. Honestly, this is what I think is most likely. Noons via decision.
bsbiz: So Jorge Gurgel says he’s going back to his jiujitsu roots? Oh, so it only took three years of slugging it out to realize that you ought to use it a little? Sounds like a good idea, Jorge, seeing how KJ has won 7 fights by (T)KO. Good grief. This fight is that simple. If it stays vertical, Noons should win. If it doesn’t, Gurgel will enjoy an advantage (assuming he plans on using his grappling like he says). Don’t question Gurgel’s conditioning: of the past 150 possible fight minutes (ten fights of fifteen minutes each), he’s been fighting for all but 2 minutes and 47 seconds.
fr702: If Gurgel doesn’t use his BJJ, Noons should earn a unanimous decision or (T)KO
BOBBY LASHLEY VS. CHAD GRIGGS
Kris Karkoski: Lashley should be able to get past Griggs, likely earning a stoppage with ground and pound in the second, but his easy road could be over here…or he could fight Dave Bautista next.
Chrisl: Lashley avoids Griggs obvious striking advantage and pounds him out on the ground. Lashley by tKO in the first.
bsbiz: Admitting you don’t know much about your opponent is either the height of confidence in your abilities or the height of stupidity. So the question for Bobby Lashley is which one it is. I don’t doubt that he’s confident in his abilities, but is he taking his opponent too lightly? I don’t think so, but he’s opening himself up to some serious lampooning if he loses. So Lashley and I have something in common. Because while I haven’t seen Griggs fight, his record says he’s a striker, and that makes this matchup slightly interesting. Standard wrestler vs. striker caveats apply as well as the Serra Principle.
fr702: Here is to hopes that Griggs pulls off the upset, because if Lashley wins he must fight Shane del Rosario.