Ok, so I'm now 9 for 16 all-time with my predictions (.563 winning percentage). I'm going to admit very freely. Looking at this Strikeforce card, I have no idea where to go on some, if not all of these fights. I'm not sure if this is a testament to Strikeforce's fight-making or me being unfamiliar with these fighters. So if I can't tell who is going to win, I guess this should be a pretty nice night.
(Brief rant: My wife doesn't have more than one birthday a year. What is up with scheduling this on THE NIGHT OF HER BIRTHDAY? Curses upon you, Strikeforce! Curses!)
Welterweight Championship bout: Nick Diaz (c) (22-7-1) vs. KJ Noons (10-2)
To say this one's a toughie is like saying my daughter is going through pain while she's cutting three teeth. Nick Diaz has lost once since '06 with victories over legends like Frank Shamrock and top names like Scott Smith, Gleison Tibau and Robbie Lawler. The one loss was to KJ Noons. Noons hasn't lost since '07, with wins over Yves Edwards, Jorge Gurgel & Conor Heun. This is a traditional good vs. evil matchup. You've got Diaz: Tested positive for marijuana, taunted his opponents before and during his fights, flipping off doctors. Then you have Noons: He's not Nick Diaz. This will be an all-out "slobber-knocker" as Jim Ross would say. Both want to beat the stuffing out of each other. This should be epic. KJ, I hope you prove me wrong, but I think Diaz will pull this off.
Women's Welterweight Championship (135 lbs) bout: Sarah Kaufman (c) (12-0) vs. Marloes Coenen (17-4)
First of all, let me say that I admire any women that fight in MMA because they are comfortable with their weight being public. *rim shot* Ok, now that I'm done with my chauvinistic, misogynistic "joke," let's take a serious look at the fight. Marloes Coenen is a pioneer in women's MMA. She was fighting in Japan when the thought of women main eventing a co-ed card would have been unheard of. I have a great amount of respect for her. Then going against her is Sarah Kaufman. I remember the last time I saw Sarah Kaufman. She slammed Roxanne Modafferi (who I totally have this geeky schoolboy crush on). I could try hating her for that but Coenen beat her too. Both women look really good (fighting-wise) and ready to walk away from this the winner. Coenen can beat you any way she wants to and has the experience to do it.
Lightweight bout: Josh Thomson (17-3, 1 no contest) vs. Gesias Cavalcante (15-3-1-1)
This is another really hard one on paper to call. Thomson is coming off a victory of Pat Healy. Cavalcante has just joined Strikeforce. While there is no clear-cut favorite, this fight could be fought a hundred different times to a hundred different outcomes. I can't even go with my gut on this one because I have no idea what it's telling me.
Welterweight bout: Tyron Woodley (6-0) vs. Andre Galvao (5-1)
There is one thing for sure in this fight. This will be a submission ground game. Galvao is a writer who shows people how to do better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a year. But can a teacher do? I am not discounting the teaching profession as that is in my heritage. But let's take a look at the 8 managers whose teams made the MLB playoffs this year. Among the 8 managers, there are 3 combined All-Star appearances among them as players. (2 for Dusty Baker & 1 for Joe Girardi) A great teacher does not make a great fighter. The winner is the one who slaps on the hold first.
Upset watch: All of them. If I have to choose one, I say Sarah Kaufman.
Fighters on Note to Watch Over the Next Week:
Neil Grove: (10-2-1) Fighting for Bellator on October 14, 39-year-old Grove (nicknamed "Goliath") is slated to battle to be the winner of the Heavyweight Tournament. This is a fighter with wins over UFC's James McSweeney and James "Better Drain my Cauliflower Ear Before CBS Never Airs MMA on Prime Time Again" Thompson. Oh, yeah, and all ten of his wins have been via TKO.