Posts Tagged ‘Kiko’

Diaz dominates Sakurai, Ralek becomes first Gracie to defeat Sakuraba at DREAM.14

May 29th, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

Hate him, love him, or love to hate him; Nick Diaz is without a doubt one of the most talented fighters currently competing in mixed martial arts, period.

Diaz further solidified the belief that he is among the most ferocious competitors in the sport during DREAM.14 where the Stockton bad boy reeled off his seventh consecutive dominating victory with a first round armbar submission over the highly respected Japanese veteran, Hayato “Mach Sakurai”.

The 24-year-old Ralek Gracie became the first of the legendary family name to pull off a victory over Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba with an impressive unanimous decision.

Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen has seen better days coming off of a third straight defeat at the hands of Hiroyuki Takaya. Both fighters came into the bout on two-fight losing skids, but it was Takaya who was able to jump back on track with an electrifying series of hard right hands in the first round that left Hansen in a heap.

Also in action in Saitama, Japan was Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, who returned to the winner’s circle following back-to-back defeats with a first round knockout over an obviously outmatched Federico “Kiko” Lopez, and Ikuhisa “Minowa-Man” Minowa managed to come out on top of yet another freak show match-up against the 330 lb. Imani Lee via first round rear-naked choke.

A full set of results from the event are below:

Nick Diaz def. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai via submission (armbar) – Round 1

Ralek Gracie def. Kazushi Sakuraba via unanimous decision

Hiroyuki Takaya def. Joachim Hansen via knockout – Round 1

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto def. Federico “Kiko” Lopez via knockout – Round 1

Akiyo Nishiura def. Hideo Tokoro via TKO – Round 1

Kazuyuki Miyata def. Takafumi Otsuka via split decision

Kenji Osawa def. Yoshiro Maeda via split decision

Ikuhisa Minowa def. Imani Lee via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1

DREAM.14 Post-Fight Interviews

May 29th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

Victorious Nick Diaz was prepared for Hayato “Mach” Sakurai’s game and knew he’d take him down where his Jiu-jitsu would be the difference. He also talks about the “White Cage” saying that he’ll never fight in DREAM’s cage again but they need to fix it before someone get’s hurt.

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DREAM has done a wonderful job tailoring to English fans by transcribing all of their post-fight interviews into English.

Ralek Gracie post fight interview – He talks about how tough opponent Kazushi Sakuraba is and more.

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More interviews after the jump

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai post fight interview – On his defeat to Nick Diaz.

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Kazushi Sakuraba on his loss to Ralek Gracie.

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Hiroyuki Takaya on defeating Joachim Hansen.

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Former DREAM lightweight champion Joachim Hansen on his loss to Hiroyuki Takaya.

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Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto on his knockout win over Federico “Kiko” Lopez.

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Federico “Kiko” Lopez on his loss to Yamamoto.

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Ikuhisa Minowa on his submission win over Imani Lee.

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Imani Lee felt the fight went well for Minowa and badly for himself. He’d love to come back and fight again in Japan.

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Akiyo Nishiura on his first round TKO win over Hideo Tokoro.

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Kazuyuki Miyata on his split decision win over Takafumi Otsuka.

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Takafumi Otsuka on the split decision.

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Kenji Osawa talks about defeating Yoshiro Maeda by split decision.

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Yoshiro Maeda not happy with split decision loss to Osawa but can’t argue with the decision.

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DREAM.14 Weigh-In Results

May 28th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

scale1All sixteen competitors hit the scales for Satuday’s DREAM.14 event and all but one fighter made weight for their fight.

DREAM.14 takes at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The broadcast airs in North American at HDNet at 3 a.m. ET (midnight ET) early on Saturday morning.

Federico “Kiko” Lopez (136.4lbs/62kg) came in 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) overweight for his bout against Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (131.6lbs/59.8kg). Lopez will be given time to make weight for this bout.

The event is headlined by a non-title bout between Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz (167.2lbs/76.0kg) and Hayato Sakurai (168.3lbs/76.5kg).

The full DREAM.14 weigh-ins are as follows:

    - Nick Diaz (167.2lbs/76.0kg) vs. Hayato Sakurai (168.3lbs/76.5kg)
    - Kazushi Sakuraba (192.3lbs/86.5kg) vs. Ralek Gracie (190.3lbs/87.4kg)
    - Joachim Hansen (143lbs/65.0kg) vs. Hiroyuki Takaya (143lbs/65.0)
    - Federico “Kiko” Lopez (62kg)* vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (131.6lbs/59.8kg)
    - Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura (138.6lbs/62.8kg) vs. Hideo Tokoro (138.2lbs/63.0kg)
    - Kazuyuki Miyata (141.7lbs/64.2kg) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (141.2lbs/64.4kg)
    - Yoshiro Maeda (133.5lbs/60.7kg) vs. Kenji Osawa (134.2lbs/61.0kg)
    - Imani Lee (330lbs/150kg) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (193.6lbs/88kg)


* – Missed weight on first attempt; will weigh in again

DREAM.14 Pre-Fight Interviews

May 28th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

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Former DREAM lightweight champion Joachim Hansen talks about facing Hiroyuki Takaya.

The full DREAM.14 fight card.

    Imani Lee vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
    Yoshiro Maeda vs. Kenji Osawa
    Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Takafumi Otsuka
    Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura vs. Hideo Tokoro
    Federico “Kiko” Lopez vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto
    Joachim Hansen vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
    Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ralek Gracie
    Nick Diaz vs. Hayato Sakurai (non-title bout)

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Heavyweight fighter Imani Lee talks about facing last years DREAM Super Hulk Grand Prix winner Ikuhisa Minowa.

More interviews after the jump with “Kiko” Lopez and the rest of the DREAM event fighters. Hope you speak Japanese!

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Federico “Kiko” Lopez

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Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto

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Ikuhisa Minowa

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Kazushi Sakuraba

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Yoshiro Maeda

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Hiroyuki Takaya

DREAM.14 Lineup Announced

May 27th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

Dream14posterDREAM officials confirmed the lineup for Saturday’s DREAM.14 event and officially announced the heavyweight match between last year’s “Super Hulk” tournament winner Ikuhisa “The Punk” Minowa (45-30-8) vs. the 325 pound Imani Lee (1-2).

DREAM.14 will take place on Saturday May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan and will air live in North America on HDNet Saturday morning at 3 a.m. ET (midnight PT). The event is headlined by a non-title match between Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz vs. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai.

The event will also feature the use of “The White Cage” for only the promotions second time, as well as the only time this year.

The line up for Saturday’s DREAM.14 event card is as follows:

    Imani Lee vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
    Yoshiro Maeda vs. Kenji Osawa
    Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Takafumi Otsuka
    Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura vs. Hideo Tokoro
    Federico “Kiko” Lopez vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto
    Joachim Hansen vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
    Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ralek Gracie
    Nick Diaz vs. Hayato Sakurai (non-title bout)

DREAM.14 Promo – Now With More ‘White Cage’…

May 19th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

Click here to view the embedded video.

DREAM.14 is set to go down on May 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main card will be broadcast in North America on HDNet.

    - Federico “Kiko” Lopez vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto
    - Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ralek Gracie
    - Yoshiro Maeda vs. Kenji Osawa
    - Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz vs. Hayato Sakurai (non-title fight)
    - Joachim Hansen vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
    - Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura vs. Hideo Tokoro
    - Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Takafumi Otsuka
    - Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. TBA
    - Katsunori Kikuno vs. TBA

‘Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery’ – Live Quick Results

May 15th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

strikeforce_snakefinger(props to Snakefinger and Cagepotato.com for the poster)

Tonight’s Strikeforce event, “Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery” have already kicked off in Missouri beginning with the un-aired preliminary card.

The event takes place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis with the main card airing live on Showtime.

The preliminary card began at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) and the main card is set to kick off at 10:00 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).

The show features several heavyweight bouts including a Strikeforce title bout between heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers. The co-main event has former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski taking on former EliteXC heavyweight champ Antonio Silva.

As always, The MMA News keeps the Live Quick Results off the main page. To view the match-ups and full list of results for the Strikeforce event click

Main Card

    Alistair Overeem def. Brett Rogers via TKO (punches) – R1, 3:40 (defends heavyweight title)
    Antonio Silva def. Andrei Arlovski (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Joey Villasenor via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
    Roger Gracie def. Kevin Randleman via submission (rear-naked-choke) – R2, 4:10
    Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante def. Antwain Britt via KO (strikes) – R1, 3:45

Preliminary Card (un-aired)

    Jesse Finney def. Justin DeMoney via submission (guillotine choke) – R1, 3:22
    Lyle Beerbohm def. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
    Darryl Cobb def. Booker DeRousse via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
    - Mike Chandler def. Sal Woods via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 0:59
    Fransisco “Kiko” France def. Lee Brousseau via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 1:27
    Tom Aaron def. Erik Steenberg via submission (guillotine choke) – R1, 0:56
    Matt Ricehouse def. Greg Wilson via submission (rear-naked choke) – R3, 0:45

DREAM.14 Adds Norifumi “Kid Yamamoto vs. Federico “Kiko” Lopez Bout

May 15th, 2010 | Author: TheMMANews.com
This article was originally published at TheMMANews.com. Copyright: TheMMANews.com.

Norifumi YamamotoOn Saturday DREAM officials announced the addition of Japanese veteran Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (17-3) vs. Federico “Kiko” Lopez (4-2) to the end month DREAM.14 event

The fight marks the seventh official bout for the event which will be fought in DREAM’s white cage. DREAM.14 takes place May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and airs on HDNet.

Their bout had been originally scheduled for tonight’s Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery event but after DREAM’s light-heavyweight Grand Prix event fell through, the match was pulled to help bolster the Japanese card.

Yamamoto has lost his last two matches, one to Masanori Kanehara on NYE at the Dynamite!! 2009 event via unanimous decision, and a split decision loss to Joe Warren at DREAM 9 during the DREAM featherweight Grand Prix tournament quarter-finals.

“I lost consecutively last year, so I plan to continue fighting until I win. I’ve been practicing for the cage here in my gym. My opponent is very much like me in stature and he likes to strike, so I expect him to come out and bang. It’ll be a fun fight.”

Team Quest fighter, Lopez who also fights internationally as a kick-boxer, will make his Japanese MMA debut on the DREAM card and is riding a two fight losing skid. He did fight at the K-1 World Max Finals last July, dropping a unanimous decision, but his last MMA bout was a 12 second knockout loss to Chucky Mady at a Raw Power MMA event this past December.

HT: Sherdog.com

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Federico “Kiko” Lopez set for DREAM.14

May 15th, 2010 | Author: MMAJunkie.com
This article was originally published at MMAJunkie.com. Copyright: MMAJunkie.com.

A bout between hard-hitting Japanese veteran Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto and Team Quest bantamweight Federico "Kiko" Lopez is set for DREAM.14.

Executives from the Japanese-based organization formerly announced Yamamoto's participation and today officially confirmed his opponent.

DREAM.14 takes place May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and airs on HDNet.



“Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” Preview and Predictions

May 14th, 2010 | Author: Five Ounces of Pain
This article was originally published at Five Ounces of Pain. Copyright: Five Ounces of Pain.

Strikeforce is back with a vengeance less than a month removed from the embarrassing post-fight brawl on CBS, and with the line-up set for Saturday night’s ”Heavy Artillery” event it shouldn’t be hard to push the sour memory even further back in the public’s collective memory due to the level of talent involved.

The card includes something for everyone from high-level strikers to elite jiujitsu practitioners; from competitive undercard pairings to main card match-ups ripe with potential for edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Those in attendance at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center, as well as tuning in on Showtime, will have a chance to see undefeated Roger Gracie do his best to keep the Brazilian family’s legacy alive against Kevin Randleman, top lightweights Lyle Beerbohm and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro do battle, and a great stylistic clash between BJJ bad-ass Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and rounded veteran Joey Villasenor, not to mention the quartet of high-level heavyweights on display. With Andrei Arlovski looking to right his career against rising talent Antonio Silva and Alistair Overeem finally defending his Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship against rival bringer-of-the-knockout Brett Rogers fans appear to be in for a true treat.

Before I get into the “pick em” part of this article let me preclude the breakdown of bouts by saying one of the things about Mixed Martial Arts I’ve always loved is its unpredictable nature. I’ll do my best to steer you in the right direction with a little insight/opinion included in the deal, but readers would be wise to avoid laying down money on my attempts to glimpse into the future. Beyond that, please don’t hesitate to share your own thoughts on any or all of the scheduled fights in the “Comments” section below, and let’s get this show on the road…

PRELIMINARY CARD

Darryl Cobb vs. Booker DeRousse

For better or worse, Strikeforce events regularly feature inexperienced or regional fighters as a means of filling cards up, and this bout is clearly a byproduct of that strategy (as are the four following it) . As such, I’ll understand if readers skip ahead to the more recognizable names set for action, but I think there’s definitely value to be found in examining fighters who aren’t necessarily known whether because one could be a future star in the sport or simply as a means of showing due respect to professional Mixed Martial Artists.

I know very little about either man other than what their records reveal. Both have four fights under their belt so experience is a push. Conditioning could be an issue in that DeRousse has never been out of the first round while Cobb has seen later frames a few times. He’s also won three straight, while Booker is coming off a submission loss, so momentum is definitely on Cobb’s side. The only thing keeping me from picking him without hesitation is the fact he’s never tapped an opponent out while DeRousse has never lost in any other manner. However, I’ll tack that up to low number of fights each has thus far in their careers, so now that I’ve hesitated a bit I’ll go ahead and still pick Cobb.

Winner – Darryl Cobb via Submission Round 3

Gregory Wilson vs. Matt Ricehouse

Apparently these two will be entering the ring with a combined total of one bout between them (in Ricehouse’s favor). For no other reason than his successful professional debut last January I’ll go with Ricehouse since he won’t have first-fight jitters to deal with, plus he’s already shown the ability to finish even if in reality it was only a single time in his lone previous in-ring appearance.

Winner – Matt Ricehouse via TKO Round 1

Thomas Aaron vs. Eric Steenberg

The outcome of this bout seems pretty obvious. Aaron is coming off back-to-back losses and is 1-2 in his career, while Steenberg is 3-0 with a trio of finishes to back his flawless record up. Basically, if it’s possible for there to be a “major upset” in a match-up where 90% of the audience hasn’t heard of either fighter involved then a win for Aaron would almost certainly be that.

Winner – Eric Steenberg via TKO Round 2

Michael Chandler vs. Sal Woods

After a little examination it appears this bout is also a candidate for a potential, yet essentially anonymous, upset depending on how things play out. Chandler is 2-0 with two TKOs, including a November 2009 win on a “Strikeforce Challengers” card. Woods (3-7), on the other hand, should also be known as the rare “twice-as-many-losses-as-wins-on-a-big-card” Mixed Martial Artist – call it Competitus Omuralia if you will. I can see why most people would go with the favorite, but I think Woods’ experience could definitely play a factor in the eventual outcome and I believe he’s got the skills to win against Chandler. He’s been in the ring with talent like Tyron Woodley and Pat Healy, and though neither were close to being successful performances on his part, it may still give him a mental edge to know he’s stared down superior competition and didn’t blink even regardless of result. All three of his wins have been finishes, and two of his losses are of the split decision variety, so he’s a tough draw no matter what his record looks like on the surface.

Winner – Sal Woods via Submission Round 3

Lee Brousseau vs. Francisco France

The pairing rolls off the tongue, does it not? Say it a few times and you’ll see what I mean. Brousseau has one of the more-entertaining nicknames in MMA (Manimal), while his opponent has one of the more-unnecessary ones (Kiko) in the sport. As they say, one shouldn’t mess with a good thing, and “Francisco France” is as perfect as a peach where given names are concerned.

Moving on to how they’re skilled rather than how they’re billed, France and Brousseau look to be evenly matched with contrasting styles so I think fans in attendance may be in for an unexpected treat on the undercard when these two lock up. France trains with American Top Team, so he comes from a great camp, and is clearly a solid jiujitsu practitioner as evident by submission wins in his first four professional fights (three of which took less than a minute to procure). However, he was knocked out at an event less than a month ago so it will be interesting to see if he’ll experience any lingering effects from the defeat. Brousseau has emerged victor in his last two bouts and has shown the ability to finish opponents with strikes twice in the past. The outcome of this fight will depend on wrestling as a means of controlling where the action takes place, and in that regard I’m going to favor France because of the quality of athletes he works with at ATT.

Winner – Francisco France via Submission Round 1

Justin DeMoney vs. Jesse Finney

This should be a competitive pairing even though, again, neither fighter is more notable in name-value than your standard Ultimate Fighter contestant. DeMoney is 13-2 and seems to prefer a ground assault based on remarkable number of submission-by-strikes he has racked up in his career. According to Sherdog’s always-useful Fight Finder, seven of his eight “submission” wins have come by way of fists/elbows rather than a choke or manipulation of a limb. The other was a slam! Seriously, check – it’s too insane to make up. The 4-0 Finney has his work cut out for him and will need to rely on his wrestling to take DeMoney down, then attempt to cash in on a more-traditional submission of his own rather than risk absorbing any of his opponent’s power. However, I refuse to pick against someone with such freakish accomplishments as DeMoney’s, not to mention the success he’s found in 4X as many fights as Finney, and so with that being said…

Winner – Justin DeMoney via TKO Round 2

Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro vs. Lyle Beerbohm

*nlk%3@n235f9s…Sorry about that, but I just drooled on my keyboard in anticipation of this match and shorted the darn thing out! Now that I’m fully functional again it should go without saying I’m extremely excited about this particular bout even though I recognize there’s a significant chance it won’t make the televised broadcast. Ribeiro has only lost three times in 23 professional fights and none of his defeats are cause for head-hanging (Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and JZ Calvancante). On the flipside, Beerbohm’s record of 13-0 puts him among the top three undefeated male fighters actively competing. He’s finished twelve of the baker’s dozen he’s faced and nearly split the victories down the middle in terms of submission/TKO ratio.

Though Ribeiro’s jiujitsu is unquestionably superior to Beerbohm’s, he’s lost twice in his last three fights and only competed in MMA on two occasions since September 2007. Comparably, Beerbohm has ten bouts under his belt in the same period of time. “Shaolin” is slick enough on the mat to lock in a submission at any time, but I think Beerbohm will be able to use his size advantage to power out of most attempts while unleashing a fair amount of damage on his own. As such, I expect him to win but only by the seat of his “Fancy Pants”.

Winner – Lyle Beerbohm via Decision

MAIN CARD

Antwain Britt vs. Rafael Cavalcante

This bout provides Cavalcante an opportunity to seize a place as one of Strikeforce’s top light heavyweights and possibly earn a fight with a star like Dan Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, or even champ “King” Mo Lawal in the process. I think Britt is slightly overrated in the eyes of many, but his power is undeniable and in that regard he’ll always to be a legitimate threat to the chin and subsequent consciousness of any opponent he faces. All eight of Cavalcante’s wins are by way of TKO, which might make some people think he could fare well against Britt if choosing to stand with “The Juggernaut”, but it’s an unnecessary risk for “Feijao” to take when his jiujitsu is a finely tuned, dangerous weapon. Britt has been submitted two of the three times he’s lost and neither was to a Mixed Martial Artist with Cavalcante’s credentials. If the BFF of fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva focuses on grabbing hold of Britt’s neck or arm, or even controlling things on the ground, he shouldn’t have any problem emerging from the bout a winner.

Winner – Rafael Cavalcante via Submission Round 1

Roger Gracie vs. Kevin Randleman

There’s little question Gracie will be targeting a submission in this bout while Randleman will likely work on stuffing takedowns and landing a few power shots to end things early. “The Monster” is on the last leg of his career with a slew of recent losses and the inability to finish an opponent dating back to his memorable knockout of Mirko Filipovic in 2004. He’s coming off a staph infection meaning fitness could be an issue, so as I said before, I think Randleman will be overly aggressive in hopes of making it a short night. Gracie isn’t nearly as weathered or active as the former NCAA national champion, but his jiujitsu ability obviously can’t be denied due to his heritage, duo of submission wins in two pro MMA fights, and success in high-level grappling tournaments. If Gracie takes Randleman down I think the bout will essentially be over and, frankly, if the opposite happens I still think Gracie has the edge from his back. Minus a one-punch knockout I’m fairly confident Gracie’s “0” won’t go.

Winner – Roger Gracie via Submission Round 1

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Joey Villasenor

I like the match-up of styles involved in this particular contest, as it lends itself to a number of possible outcomes rather than a one-sided affair. Souza is widely acknowledged as a whiz on the mat, but similar to Demian Maia it’s his only real method of attack. On the other hand, Villasenor may be painted as primarily being a striker but in truth has double-digit submission wins on his record while only being tapped out once in 33 professional fights. He’s never faced a grappler as good as “Jacare” – few have until they actually do – but he can definitely hold his own when things hit the canvas. In the end I like Souza’s next-level BJJ to procure him the win, but I won’t blink more than once if Villasenor is able to pull out a victory by stuffing takedowns and planting a few nice shots on his Brazilian opponent’s jaw.

Winner – Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via Submission Round 2

Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio Silva

As I said in this week’s ”Grappling with Issues”, I think Arlovski is under an immense amount of pressure to win this bout and I’m not 100% positive he can rise to the occasion. Silva has the power to knock opponents out and the grappling to submit them. “The Pitbull” has both of those attributes as well, but his chin has been successfully tested six of the seven times he’s lost while Silva hasn’t been knocked out in more than three years. However, I think Arlovski’s speed, athleticism, and overall technique will be a little too much for “Bigfoot” to contend with, and I’m going to trust the former UFC heavyweight champ will actually enter the bout more disciplined than he’s acted in the past due to a few changes he’s made in his approach to training. Assuming he’s recognized the crossroads he’s come to in his career there’s no reason he should rush in and stick the button on his jaw out there for Silva to push.

Winner – Andrei Arlovski via Decision

Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers

There’s no doubt in my mind this bout will feature a few incredible displays of jiujitsu and go a full five championship rounds. And, if you believe that, I also have some high-dollar, ocean-front property outside of Kabul you might be interested in purchasing.

Clearly both men are going to want to stand and exchange strikes based on their general approaches to fighting and personal dislike of one another. Both have enough power in their punches (and knees) to end things instantly, while Overeem is a submission threat but won’t be able to shoot on Rogers without taking some damage along the way. I have been a long-time proponent of “The Grim” since getting to watch a few EliteXC fights ringside with him after his promotional debut in 2007, and I respect his talent and showmanship, but I think he tends to rely on the size advantage he usually enters the ring with to bully opponents into slumber rather than using precise technique to do so. Overeem is large enough to avoid being pushed around while also being comfortable in the clinch if things go that route. I think he’s faster than Rogers and a more-complete fighter overall. I expect to see at least a few explosive leg kicks from “The Demolition Man” to weaken Rogers’ stand-up and frustrate him on the outside, then maybe some knees to the midsection when the distance closes and even a takedown attempt to limit the Minnesotan’s attack. Rogers is probably too strong to get caught in a submission as long as he avoids making any basic mistakes, but Fedor Emelianenko made it clear his chin is vulnerable to an extent and I’m certain Overeem will be working to exploit that. Then again, the Dutchman has been flattened a few times himself, so perhaps the safest route to go when picking this fight is flip a coin, then sit back and enjoy the almost-guaranteed knockout unfold.

Winner – Alistair Overeem via TKO Round 2


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