It’s here! It’s finally here! This dreaded Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix is finally almost over. 666,720 minutes after it’s beginning, a winner will be crowned tonight. Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier are the big stars for tonight’s fights, but don’t overlook the undercard, which not only features a Strikeforce lightweight title bout, but also some very solid Strikeforce veterans looking to make a big statement in San Jose. Let’s get to it.
Bobby Green vs. James Terry
Bobby Green is a colorful guy, and if he could put his skills to work properly, he could make a serious impact in the fight game. He won’t have much for Terry tonight though. It should be an awesome fight, without a doubt, but I just think Terry outworks him.
Yuri Villefort vs. Quinn Mulhern
Villefort had all the potential in the world before an unfortunate series of events kept him out of action for two years. He makes his return tonight, but the future is bleak for him. Yuri will gas and Mulhern will take full advantage and perhaps even tap him out.
Gian Villante vs. Derrick Mehmen
My feelings on Mehmen are right there in his last name. Meh. He lacks consistency, and for that reason, Villante gets a big win over him tonight.
Guto Inocente vs. Virgil Zwicker
The undefeated Guto takes on the heavy-handed Zwicker in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the preliminary card. There is a lot of hype following the Brazilian around, and he has a big test to pass to prove it’s warranted. I think Zwicker is a bad match-up for Guto, and I expect Virgil gets the stoppage.
Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Previously regarded as the next big thing at 155, Cavalcante kind of got off track for awhile there. While he always has room for improvement, he doesn’t seem to be doing so at the pace of his competition, and that is disappointing. Luckily for him, he’s facing Vallie-Flagg, who, despite a good winning streak, hasn’t beaten anyone worth mentioning, and just isn’t on the same level. “JZ” gets the TKO win here.
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang
I’m kind of shaking my head at the idea of this bout making the main card, while the previous bout does not, but okay. One of these guys will be looking at some exciting match-ups at 170 with a win here, and I think it’s going to be Burrell. Nah-Shon is going to put the mash on Spang.
Rafael Feijao vs. Mike Kyle
A fully prepared Feijao can cause problems for anybody at 205. The former champ looks to build his way back up to a shot at the title that Dan Henderson took from him when he took his soul. Mike Kyle has already beaten Feijao, but I can’t see it happening again. Feijao will have no issue going blow for blow with Kyle in this bout, and I suspect the considerably improved Feijao makes short work of his foe with strikes.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson
There’s no questioning Josh Thomson’s heart and abilities. Fighting through adversity throughout most of his career, “The Punk” has made the best of his skills in the cage, and can easily find a spot in the UFC in the near future. For Gilbert Melendez, the future is now. Arguably in his prime, it’s hard to imagine any lightweights beating “El Nino”, and in this bout, I think we see just how far ahead of the pack he is. He’s retaining the belt tonight.
Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier
This is a really interesting bout, and perhaps the most important heavyweight bout of the year. Will the experience of Josh Barnett be as big a factor as many believe? Or will Cormier persevere again and remain undefeated? I expect Cormier to put the pressure on early, but Barnett will not be shaken. At some point, Josh will end up on top, and when he’s there, the fight is over… or Cormier knocks him out, whatever.
The bouts go down tonight with the preliminary card starting at 8PM ET on Showtime Extreme, and the main card following on Showtime at 10pm ET.
What are your picks for tonight’s fights? How wrong will I be this week? Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below.