This Saturday, January 29th, the 2-0-9 will be in full force as they make the trek south to San Jose to see their hometown hero Nick Diaz defend his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship against fearsome Chute Boxe product Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. The husband of Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion Cristiane Santos, the male Cyborg looks to take Diaz’ title and promises to come straight forward and bring violence in doing so.
Aside from the main event, the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg event also features another title attraction in the form of another title bout as Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and top-of-the-food-chain grappler Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza defends his title against the hard-hitting Robbie Lawler. If styles make fights, this could be a war of wills as the leftie, Lawler, will be sure to look for the knockout against Souza, an Amazonian submission-ace with a penchant for suffocating his prey.
Elsewhere on the card, the rest of the main draw is filled with two added attractions that are sure to pique interest for both fans in attendance and Showtime viewers alike.
NFL hall-of-famer and almost-Quinquagenarian Herschel Walker makes his MMA return after TKO’ing Greg Nagy at Strikeforce: Miami in January of last year. Will Herschel be effective at forty-nine in MMA as he was a year ago? If recent reports have him pondering an NFL comback at age-50 after this fight are of any indication, he may be in tip-top shape physically and that may be trouble for his opponent, the 4-1 Scott Carson. “I know I can play,” Walker stated on this week’s Strikeforce Conference call. “I still say I may try out for football again and show people I can do that, because I want to be the George Foreman of football and come back and do it one more time,” he said. Speaking of Foreman, Herschel better focus on one thing at a time as Scott Carson will be looking to punch him in his grill come Saturday night.
Rounding off the televised Strikeforce event is a matchup between journeyman Trevor Prangley and the current family champion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s version of the Kennedy dynasty, Roger Gracie. Widely considered to be amongst the top grapplers in the world, Roger continues his flirtation with the world of MMA in this, his fourth bout in four years. Gracie’s first three ended in submissions but Prangley does not want this to be his fourth. “Roger (Gracie)’s Never Really Been Hit,” Prangley said in a recent interview with Bloody Elbow. “I just intend to not give him the opportunity to get a submission. I’m going to win this fight, and I have to win it because it’s a “do or die” situation for me.”
Bout Previews & Fearless Predictions for January 29th’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg Event
Nick Diaz vs. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos: It’s horrible but my initial thought when thinking about this bout was that Diaz is lucky he isn’t fighting Evangelista’s wife, Cristiane Cyborg, in this bout. all kidding aside, Evangelista Santos is likewise a fearsome fighter and has some impressive muay-thai skills gleamed from years of studying with Rafael Cordeiro, Rudimar Fedrigo, and the entire Chute Boxe team. The trouble for him is that he his fighting Nick Diaz, a complete fighter who just beat boxer and wannabe-Floyd Mayweather challenger K.J. Noons at his own game. Diaz has Cyborg beat in every facet of this matchup. In fact, he’s already looking forward to a potential super-middleweight boxing match against Ricardo Mayorga or Fernando Vargas after this bout’s conclusion. 2-0-9’s finest has this one on lock.
My Fearless Prediction: Nick Diaz wins by second-round TKO.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Robbie Lawler: I was in attendance and as dumbfounded as anyone at Strikeforce: Houston when Jacare refused to take the fight to the ground and instead chose to kick-box with Tim Kennedy. It turns out he did pretty well, controlling the standup portion of that battle to claim the Strikeforce Middleweight Title. Now that he’s got that whole grappler-wanting-to-prove-he-can-strike thing out the way, maybe he’ll resort to a more well-rounded game against Robbie Lawler. He’s going to need to if he wants to take that belt back to Manaus. Lawler is going to come out guns-a-blazing and will look to score a one-hitter-quitter like he did n coming back against Melvin Manhoef. And if he connects, Souza is in trouble. Still though, I do think Jacare will be smart in this fight and get the fight to the ground. Once it’s there, it will be like wrestling an anaconda in the waters of the Amazon. And only one alligator-crawls their way out of that one.
My Fearless Prediction: Ronaldo Souza win by by submission in round one.
Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson: You know that Lil’ Keke song “Baller in the Mix” where he says Herschelwood is up to no good? Well this has absolutely nothing to do with that song. Moving along, Herschel Walker is going to be balling in the mix in his own right for this fight. In fact, #34 is going to run through Carson like opposing running backs ran through the Texans defensive line last season.
My Fearless Prediction: Herschel Walker runs through Scott Carson via TKO in the 2nd round.
Roger Gracie vs. Trevor Prangley: We’ll see what happens if Roger Gracie manages to get punched in the face. Only then will we figure out whether he can take a shot and make a true go at contending in MMA. Until then, I really don’t think we’ll know if he’s serious about this or if it’s just a passing fancy for him. Other than that, nobody can deny his talent. ..That’s about the same thing Carlos Gracie Jr., head of Gracie Barra said in his interview regarding Roger a few weeks ago. In this fight, what would really be cool is if Roger came out with the entire Gracie Train ala Royce Gracie in UFC 1 and footstomped his way into the clinch-takedown. After that, game over.
My Fearless Prediction: Roger Gracie via choke submission, round 1.
So there you have it folks. Do you agree or disagree? Hit me up on twitter and sound off on your own picks! – Mike Calimbas