Friday, June 19, 2009
As mentioned yesterday, two solid fight cards go down tonight which means it's time for me to keep the winning ways going and roll out another installment of our Punch Drunk Predictions.
Last time around at UFC 99, I managed a 7-5 record while still following my heart (Wanderlei Silva) instead of listening to my head (Rich Franklin) on a couple of different occasions. That being said, I'm back above .500 and will take on the Strikeforce Main Card and Bellator Tournament bouts after the jump.
Cory "The One" Devela (9-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (4-1)
Everything was going smoothly for Cory Devela heading into his last fight. He was riding a seven fight winning streak, was getting to fight at the Playboy Mansion and was taking on an opponent who some consider (myself included) over the hill. The problem is that an over the hill Terry Martin still packs the same knockout power as the Terry Martin of old, and Devela found that out.
Rockhold, on the other hand, has been getting groomed for a move to the bigger stage with Strikeforce, starting on the Young Guns series before making a couple undercard fights. Each time he steps into the cage, a first round finish occurs. 80% of the time, Rockhold is on the winning end of that stoppage.
Sarah Kaufman (9-0) vs. Shayna "The Queen of Spades" Baszler (9-5)
If you've dropped by at all this week, you should know who I'm backing in this fight without me saying a word.
Baszler has fought some of the best female fighters in the game; the only thing is that she's come out on the losing side of the ledger, including bouts against Kelly Kobold, twice againsts Amanda Buckner and most recently to Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.
Conversely, Kaufman hasn't lost a fight yet. Last time out, she earned a Unanimous Decision over well-regarded Miesha Tate and despite Baszler's assertion that Kaufman's style and attack is predictable, no one has been able to do anything about it up to this point.
Jorge Gurgel (12-5) vs. Conor "Hurricane" Heun (8-2)
Gurgel promises his days of ignoring his BJJ skills to put on a great show for the fans are over. Not that he doesn't want to entertain; simply put, standing and trading made him a fan favorite and earned him some extra money while with the UFC, but it also produced three losses in his last four fights and a one way ticket out of the organization.
Heun is a tough kid and a nice looking prospect in my books. His two losses are to L.C. Davis and Brett Cooper, two solid and more seasoned competitors. The one thing I worry about with Heun is ring rust, as he hasn't stepped inside the cage since the final EliteXC show back in October.
Nick "The Goat" Thompson (38-10-1) vs. Tim Kennedy (9-2)
This one is a simple breakdown for me: Thompson has lost once in the last three years and that was to Jake Shields, while Kennedy hasn't fought in two years.
"Smokin" Joey Villasenor (26-6) vs. Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos (16-12)
Anyone else think that the male "Cyborg" may have gotten top billing on a card to appease the missus? Not to take anything away from his skills in the cage, but he's not Main Event material in my books.
The guy has lost four of his last six (and three of his last four) and he's stepping into the cage with a real contender in Villasenor. Before EliteXC went the way of the dinosaur, Smokin' Joe was in line to face Robbie Lawler for the middleweight belt. To put it another way, Villasenor has three losses since 2002, "Cyborg" has two in the last sixteen months.
Meanwhile, over at Bellator...
Eddie Alvarez (17-2) vs. Toby Imada (22-12) in the Lightweight Tournament Final
As I said yesterday on the Watch Kalib Run Cage Cast, Toby Imada has had his moment in the sun with his sick submission of Jorge Masvidal in the semis to get to this point. Tonight, it's all Eddie Alvarez.
Plain and simple, Alvarez is a different calibre fighter than Imada and the rest of the competition that featured in this tournament. He's a Top 10 Lightweight in the world and has been in some wars with others in that category. It's going to take another "out of nowhere, how'd he do that?" submission for Toby Imada to win this fight.
Jared Hess (9-0-1) vs. Hector Lombard (20-2-1) in the Middleweight Tournament Final
This one is another small dunk to me. No disrespect to Jared Hess, who has fought well and remains undefeated entering his 11th career fight, but Hector Lombard hasn't lost since 2006 and that came at the hands of Gegard Mousasi.
The former Olympic judo competitor has been dominant and arguably the brightest star throughout the entire Bellator series, spending less than 4:00 in the cage to earn his two wins.
Punch Drunk Predictions
Record: 27-26 (Getting there...)
Luke Rockhold over Cory Devela (TKO R1)
Sarah Kaufman over Shayna Baszler (TKO R2)
Conor Heun over Jorge Gurgel (UD)
Nick Thompson over Tim Kennedy (Sub R2)
Joey Villasenor over "Cyborg" Santos (TKO R1)
Eddie Alvarez over Toby Imada (TKO R2)
Hector Lombard over Jared Hess (TKO R1)
Touch gloves and come out swinging!