Posted by Jacob Lawton on June 18th, 2011
Pictured: The poster for tonight’s event, featuring non-competitor Gina Carano.
Another weekend, another thrilling card produced by our friends at Zuffa. Once again this strong offering is headlined by, in my opinion, the most enthralling Heavyweight contest all year in the rematch between K-1 World Grand Prix Champ Alistair Overeem and two time ADCC Heavyweight winner Fabricio Werdum. And it’s got some nice support, too - everyone’s favourite pantomime villain Josh Barnett has his first fight stateside in two and a half years against the always entertaining Brett Rogers, and MMA’s best lightweight boxer KJ Noons will also see action against Jorge Masvidal. All in all, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had, and, with the whole prelim card (featuring former Top 10 Lightweight Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante) airing live on HDNet, this is a whole evening’s entertainment available for free that could easily be marketed by the UFC as a pay-per-view. Join us after the jump as the Total-MMA staff offer their tuppence on the card.
Picks are by Ajit Punj (AP), George Do (GD) and Shangalla Bass (SB). Remember not to come crying to us when you follow their advice and bet on the wrong man mountain!
Main Event Heavyweight Grand Prix Bout: Alistair Overeem (34-11 1NC) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1)
AP: Finally, the wait is over and we get to see this fight. Things have changed a lot since Werdum tapped Overeem with a Kimura. Both men have increased their skill set, and (obviously) Ubereem has gotten a lot bigger. I really don’t see this fight moving past the first round. Werdum’s standup has gotten a lot better, but I still see Overeem winning a way similar to JDS vs Werdum. If Werdum can bring it to the ground, Overeem has a good ground game, and can work away from submissions and keep the fight standing, where he has a clear advantage. My pick is Overeem via KO in the first.
GD: This one is tough. Overeem has been beasting it these couple of years, but he’s not fought top competition in MMA. Being K-1 Champ is a pretty big deal, but less so against Werdum because he’s looking to bring it to the floor. Werdum’s coming off a big win (that broke my heart), but he hasn’t fought in a year. There are just so many unknowns in this fight that it makes it pretty hard to predict with any certainty. The way I’m thinking about it, Overeem can survive with Werdum on the ground better than Werdum can survive with Overeem on the feet - and not only that, every round begins standing. Just because of that, I’ll go with Overeem TKO in Round 2.
SB: It’s been sold ” best heavyweight striker vs best heavyweight BJJ practitioner”. Eeeeeexqueeze me? As the wise, yet hairy and psychotic man once said before killing a bunch of mobsters in the most underrated Irish mobster movie ever — what the fraging frag frag? In this tournament alone, Arlovski and Emelianenko are a mile above and beyond Overeem when it comes to MMA striking. Guys like Carwin or Dos Santos would rip him apart like a pitbull doing a dance of love with a new chew toy. Now Werdum–he impresses the crap out of me. Especially after his fight against Emelianenko.
Let’s look at the facts. Overreem is huge,carries more muscle than anyone in Strikeforce, has great knees and explosiveness. On the downside — a kickboxer, he is way too used to hiding behind huge boxing gloves and has no footwork whatsoever. He is also used to standing and exchanging punches with a guy much smaller than him, and I don’t think I’ve seen him do well against a really good MMA striker. Not a kickboxer, but an honest-to-God MMA striker. Like that damned Dos Santos — I am a bit miffed at him going against my prediction and beating Carwin but I am so damn impressed by his skills. “Werdoom” has beaten Overeem before — granted,that was four years ago and Overeem was thirty pounds lighter. He also will not be impressed by all the hype here — it didn’t stop him against Emelianenko either. I always go with strikers — nothing like watching guy (who isn’t me) getting punched in the face — but in this case I’ll go with Werdum, submission round two. By the way, I have a suggestion for a Werdum for an easy win here. Have one of his corner guys bring out a full size mirror in the middle of the first round. Then when Overeem is distracted by his own reflection and starts posing bodybuilder style Werdum should hit him in the head. Just a suggestion. (Editor’s note - Ouch. Overeem was obviously genetically engineered to get right at Shanga’s girlfriend…)
TOTAL-MMA PICKS: OVEREEM, 2-1
Co-Main Event Heavyweight Grand Prix Bout: Josh Barnett (29-5) vs. Brett Rogers (11-2)
AP: This is the third bout in the heavyweight GP, and it should be exciting. Barnett had some troubles leading up to this fight, but they should not affect him this weekend. Rogers took it to Fedor in round 1 of their fight, and seemed to be a top heavyweight during his run in Strikeforce. Overeem ragdolled him in their fight, and I see Barnett doing the same and securing a submission win in the first.
GD: I’m a huge Josh Barnett fan. I was angry of course, after he singlehandedly brought down Affliction and cost Fedor a good three or four months (at least) of his career. But he’s slowly won me back over with his bizarre mix of tough guy attitude and sharp wit. Skillwise, Barnett is leaps and bounds above Rogers. Unless Barnett has aged significantly since his last fight (and he’s not even that old, despite the introduction of facial hair), Rogers has a punchers chance at best. I’ll take Barnett by submission in the second.
SB: Bartnett — great power,very experienced grappler — just a very experienced fighter. Downside — I can’t recall anyone he fought against and won who is worth mentioning. He is barely ever in shape and judging by his interviews is overlooking Rogers big time. Plus,seriously,how does a guy with the build of a professional Yatsee player gets caught juicing ? Not once, either. When Sean Sherk got nabbed — well, I can see that but this dude? Really? That aside I don’t have all that much to say about Rogers. He’s aggressive and has a great knock out power. But who gives a damn — he’s got a Mohawk and looks like the black “collections specialist” from “Pineapple Express”. And since I sport same fashionable hairstyle myself and dubbed in the same line of work as a kid — Rogers all the flipping way, T/KO round 3. Good thing I don’t have any money to bet — getting way too emotional in these choices. (Editor’s Note: I hate to pick on Shanga but for those who are going to put money on this fight, Barnett does in fact hold victories over a prime Randy Couture, prime Mark Hunt, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Hidehiko Yoshida.)
TOTAL-MMA PICKS: BARNETT, 2-1
Lightweight Bout: KJ Noons (10-3) vs. Jorge Masvidal (21-6)
AP: KJ Noons has fought some tough opponents in Strikeforce, including jumping up a weight class and taking it to Nick Diaz, and is looking to make a name for himself by earning a title shot with his win this Saturday. I see Noons standing with Masvidal and using his professional boxing credentials to beat Masvidal standing and earn himself a T/KO win in the second.
GD: This is another tough fight for me to predict, mainly because I haven’t really seen Masvidal fight that many times. As far as I can gather, both guys are excellent boxers (by MMA standards) who have decent power. As far as I’m concerned, in the MMA world, very few fighters have boxing as good as KJ Noons. I’ll opt to go with the known commodity, especially since he’s gotten a haircut now (and won’t spend half the fight flicking his hair back with his hand). KJ Noons by a close-ish decision.
SB: This one right here might be the most fun fight of the night. Not to take anything away from Overeem’s manboobs or Snowball’s tatoos but these guys can strike, will strike and most likely will do a lot of striking. Not to be repetitive but there will be a lock of striking here. Anyone who saw Noons fight Diaz knows just how good this guy is. Great timing, relaxed and very technical boxing; he’s a true counter-puncher. Plus — he is so damn dreamy.As a matter of fact I am going to call him K.J. McDreamy from now on. Anyhoo — can’t hate a guy for being good looking but got to take that into account as additional motivation for Jorge Masdival to rearrange his face. I was going to go with Masdival on this one until I heard some of his interviews. If I see this guy blow another kiss to the camera I’ll have to get off my flabby ass and start training so I can kick his butt myself.
KJ Mcdreamy (Noons) for a decision win on this one. Skill-wise it’s pretty close to a toss up — neither one is too spectacular — I just don’t like the guy. I’m a hateful bastard — what can I do?
TOTAL-MMA PICKS: NOONS, 3-0
Heavyweight Bout: Daniel Cormier (7-0) vs. Jeff Monson (42-11)
AP: Daniel Cormier has a lot of hype behind him, and has great credentials for MMA. His transitions are very fluid, from grappling and wrestling to striking, and he always has his opponents on their toes. Monson is a great opponent for a step up in competition for DC, but I see Cormier using his superior wrestling and winning by UD.
GD: I know that there are loads of submissions on his record, but for some reason, Jeff Monson has never struck me as an outstanding MMA grappler; and a top game type of guy more than someone who can work submissions from the bottom. I haven’t seen him fight that many times but it would appear Monson is shit out of luck in this fight — because Daniel Cormier has the luxury of fighting wherever he wants in this one. More often than not, the guy who controls where the fight takes place is the guy who wins the fight. As such, I have Cormier by decision.
SB: Damn there are a lot of heavyweights here. I’d hate to be an owner of an all you can eat place anywhere in the vicinity. “Snowball” Monson is a 5′9 tall (and five feet wide) 240 pounds of inkwork covered up to his mirror polished dome capitalism fighting machine. If he takes a few months off fighting the evil oil cabal and the Templar/Illuminati alien invasion force he just might get his career back in gear by taking on Daniel Cormier, an Olympic wrestler with a 7-0 record. But then again — this guy’s been around for 20 years and his stand up skills are still as bad as anyone’s in pro mma. I mean seriously — if guys like Hammill can go from a wrestler who didn’t know how to throw a punch to a knock out artist in three years — what’s the excuse? Simply not acceptable. On the other hand Cormier has no stand up to speak off as well, pretty much we’re seeing Monson fighting himself from 15 years ago plus an extra 20 pounds of gut weight. I think Monson’s experience will take the day in a decision victory as long as he can weather the first couple of minutes of Cormier’s attack.
TOTAL-MMA PICKS: CORMIER, 2-1
Heavyweight Bout: Valentijn Overeem (29-25) vs. Chad Griggs (10-1)
AP: Griggs is riding a two win streak over Lashley and Gian Villante after being signed to strikeforce to be an easy opponant for Lashley. Valentijn is also riding a three fight win streak over some not-so-credible opponents, the latest being kickboxer Ray Sefo who tapped out as soon as the fight reached the ground. Overeem has a well rounded game, but hasn’t been very consistent in his fights, and I see Griggs winning by TKO in the second.
GD: Is it awful of me that I violently what Chad Griggs to lose? Beating Lashley is one thing, but this guy comes out of nowhere, with his big heart and complete lack of skill, and takes out someone who was regarded as a decent prospect? I feel like it makes a mockery of technique. And there’s nothing that I love more about MMA than good technique. That’s why I hate Chad Griggs. Hopefully a vet like OlderReem can put an end to Grigg’s improbable run to televised fight status. My loathing for Chad Griggs and all he represents compels me to pick Valentijn Overeem. I’m thinking submission in the 1st round.
SB: Alistair’s less annoying, less talented brother with 29-25 record comes back after a lay off, to face an always game Griggs. Griggs might not have that much skill, or muscle, or talent; but he fights like a hungry bulldog — everything on the line against anyone they’ll put in front of him. His record is not too bad lately — his win against Lashley and Villante gave him some needed experience and confidence. Plus he’s got those “sideburns of doom” on his side. How do you go against that? I am gonna go with Griggs — unless his aggressiveness makes him careless and drives him into a submission we should see “Overeem Lite” losing the fight on a decision.
TOTAL-MMA PICKS: GRIGGS 2-1
That concludes our picks, but here’s a reminder to tune in for the prelim card on HDNet before switching to Showtime for the main broadcast - fights of interest in the prelims include Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante facing top prospect Justin Wilcox and 11-1 BJJ Black Belt Magno Almeida taking on Conor Heun in his Strikeforce debut. Enjoy the fights!