Strikeforce 40 & UFC on Fuel TV 3 Predictions

The next installment of the UFC on Fuel TV goes down on Tuesday May 15th and will feature a Featherweight title eliminator main event. The ‘Korean Zombie’ Zombie Chan Sung Jung battles Dustin ‘the Diamond’ Poirier with a potential shot at the 145 pound UFC Championship on the line. Also on the card Donald Cerrone tries to rebuild his divisional momentum against hard hitting Jeremy Stephens and former Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah battles Jorge Lopez.

 

The latests episode of Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Prediction will be a double edition; along with providing predictions for the May 15th UFC event I will also breakdown the next Strikeforce card which will take place on the 19th of May. The main event will finally bring an end to the long running Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as Josh Barnett battles Daniel Cormier with a potential future shot at the UFC championship. Also on the card Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez will meet for the third and potentially final time when Gilbert puts his Lightweight title on the line.

The rest of the predictions for both events will be posted below throughout fight week and make sure to take a look at the latest Kamikaze Overdrive Bettin Pack. If you purchase the UFC Bet pack for only $5 you will get the Strikeforce Bet Pack for FREE so don’t miss out on this great 2 for 1 deal! Make sure you mark UFC on Fuel TV 3 down on the calendar for Tuesday night and then don’t miss Strikeforce: Barnett vs Cormier on the weekend and as always enjoy the fights!

170lbs- Amir Sadollah (6-3-0) vs Jorge Lopez (11-2-0)

In the Welterweight division, 6-3-0 Amir Sadollah will battle 11-2-0 Jorge Lopez. Sadollah is coming off a decision defeat against Duane Ludwig while Lopez debuted on the losing edge of a judge’s decision against Justin Edwards.

Originally this fight was slated to take place at UFC 143, but Sadollah was forced to withdraw due to injury and eventually Lopez was also forced out of the fight because of an ailment.

Ultimate Fighter Season Seven winner, Amir Sadollah is a Muay Thai practitioner with good technique, but in his last fight he simply ran into an opponent with as good if not better technique and superior power. Statistically, Amir lands an impressive average of 5.54 strikes per minute while avoiding 64% of his opponent’s strikes. He has excellent combinations mixing up his punches and kicks, and because of his high work rate he is able to overwhelm his opponent and back them against the cage. He did a nice job against Peter Sobotta at UFC 122, walking Sobotta down while attacking, amplifying the effectiveness of his strikes by limiting his opponent’s space and ability to move.

Jorge Lopez isn’t the most well known UFC competitor; he had a 2-0 record in fighting under the Tachi Palace Fights banner with his biggest win over veteran Waachiim Spiritwolf. His record suggest he is predominantly a stand-up fighter with a split of wins by knockout (5) and decision (6) along with a pair of decision losses including his UFC debut fight. Against Edwards, he did complete 3 takedowns, 2 in the final round which was easily his best round but not enough for the win.

Sadollah may not have as much actual fight experience with only 8 fights compared to Lopez’s 13, but the quality of competition certainly favours Amir. Standing his Muay Thai should give him a significant advantage and if the fight does go to the ground Amir has shown himself more than capable of competing in a ground based contest. Lopez will need to use a brawling style and not allow Amir to maintain distance and set up his combinations. Amir should have the technical advantage and will keep Lopez on the defensive all fight, so my prediction is Amir Sadollah to defeat Jorge Lopez by decision.

  170lbs- Rafael Cavalcante (11-3-0) vs Mike Kyle (19-8-1)

In the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight division Mike ‘Mak’ Kyle 19-8-1 takes on former champion 11-3-0 Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante. Kyle has won 5 of his last 6 while Feijao rebounded after losing his title with a knockout win in his last bout.

This is a rematch from 2009 bout where Kyle entered as the underdog, but after a close opening round he scored a second round knockout of Cavalcante. Following the win Feijao eventually earned a title shot, which did not sit well with Kyle who felt he had garnered enough momentum to be given the opportunity instead.

Both men have similar win totals, with the majority of their victories coming by knockout; Kyle- 12 and Cavalcante- 10. Neither man has huge submission numbers; Kyle has a 3-3 record in fights that end by tapout while Feijao is 1-0 despite being a BJJ Black Belt. Probably the most significant disparity is their decision totals, Feijao has never gone the distance while Kyle is a perfect 4-0 when the judge’s make the final call.

Physically, Cavalcante is a big Light Heavyweight but Kyle actually holds the edge in most areas. At 6’4’, Kyle stands 2” taller than Feijao and he will also hold a slight reach advantage of 3”. This last stat could play a significant role as these two fighters should spend the majority of this match exchanging on the feet.

Both Kyle and Cavalcante will take their opponents to the mat, but it’s certainly not their primary focus of attack with Kyle averaging fewer than 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and Rafael less than 1. Additionally, Feijao has impressive takedown defense, defending 80% of his opponents’ attempts and when he does get taken down, he gets back to his feet quickly, as he showed against King Mo. This fight could go to the ground, but the time spent there will be minimal.

As mentioned both men have knockout power and they have both been knocked out before (Kyle- 4 and Feijao-2). Kyle’s striking has improved significantly; he looked good in the exchanges with Muay Thai striker Marco Rogerio de Lima in his last appearance. Mak likes to lead with a left jab, following with a right hook or uppercut, and he will attack the body. Kyle will also counter strike and did a nice job catching de Lima as he came forward with short straight punches.

Feijao is a patient striker; he picks his spots well and as a result doesn’t leave many openings for his opponent. When Rafael does open up he will blitz his opponent with a flurry of devastating strikes. He has a powerful right hand, hurting Mo with it and dropping Henderson in round one. Feijao will work the kicks both low and high and has dangerous knee strikes from the Thai clinch.

Head to head Feijao has the more diverse striking repertoire, and the superior striking defense. One area Kyle did struggle with against de Lima was the leg kicks. Kyle was continually knocked off balance when his opponent connected with his lead leg which can create mobility and rhythm issues if done with regularity. Further, Kyle has a tendency to hold his hands a low and his chin exposed, which against Feijao, who has collected 8 straight wins by knockout, is a recipe for disaster. In their first meeting, Feijao was cutting a lot of weight pre-fight which was hampering his conditioning and caused him to slowdown in round two. More recently, he seems to have improved his weight cutting tactics and his conditioning which should help him if this fight goes into the second half. I like Feijao’s striking to be the difference maker, along with the fact that Kyle has been knocked out 4 times, so my prediction is Rafael Cavalcante to defeat Mike Kyle by knockout.

 

 
 
Bobby Green 11-4-0 vs James Terry 16-5-0
James Terry returns to the Lightweight division to battle Bobby Green in a match-up of up and coming 155 pounders. Green has looked solid since signing with Strikeforce, currently sitting with a record of 2-1 having dropped a close and highly contested split decision to veteran JZ Cavalcante. Since that fight Green has picked up back to back submission wins, he is a BJJ Blue belt and has a total of 8 wins by tapout. In addition, Bobby has decent striking skills and has 7 wins by knockout, including stopping Charles ‘Krazy Horse’ Bennett back in 2009. James Terry has yet to earn a victory by sub, but he is still quite capable of winning a fight on the basis of his ground game. Against Nah-Shon Burrell, he completed 6 takedowns on 12 attempts and managed to keep Burrell on his back with decent top control. Standing, Terry has earned 5 wins by knockout and trains his striking alongside talented kickboxer Cung Le. Overall, Terry’s wrestling looked impressive in his last fight against a larger opponent, while Green did struggle early defending against J.P. Reese’s takedowns before eventually getting the submission. Look for Terry to mix things between his striking and his wrestling to keep Green from settling in. I was impressed with Terry’s striking last time around, but if he elects to focus more on his wrestlig he should be able to take Green down and keep him there for the duration of the bout, so my prediction is James Terry to defeat Bobby Green by decision.
 
Gesias Cavalcante 18-4-1 vs Isaac Vaille-Flagg 12-3-1
JZ Cavalcante will attempt to put together back to back wins for the first time since 2007 when he squares off with Isaac Vallie-Flagg. Prior to his recent skid (2-3-0 2NC), Cavalcante had put together a 12-0-1 record with 10 finishes (5 submissions and 5 knockouts) including wins over the likes of Vitor Ribeiro, Nam Phan, Cal Uno, Michihiro Omigawa, and Rani Yahya. Vallie-Flagg is making a significant step up in competition with this fight, with his most noteworthy win coming in his Strikeforce debut in his last fight defeating Brian Melancon by split decision. Both fighters have shown the ability to win fights by a variety of methods; JZ has a nice split with 5 wins by knockout, 7 by submission, and 4 by decision while never having been stopped in his career. Vallie-Flagg has a 5-3-4 split with his totals with all 3 of his losses by submission. In his debut Vallie-Flagg struggled in the opening round, suffering several takedowns and was nearly submitted when his opponent took his back. It wasn’t until fatigue set in for both competitors and the match-up degenerated into a brawl that Vallie-Flagg was able to gain an edge and find some success. Overall, I give JZ the edge in striking, but the significant actions of this fight will take place on the mat. With Vallie-Flagg’s susceptibility to being submitted combined with his struggles on the mat in the opening round of his last fight all indications are that Cavalcante should be able to exploit this and dominate his opponent on the ground. Cavalcante has struggled with consistency issues of late, but he should be the superior fighters in all facets of this contest so my prediction is Gesias Cavalcante to defeat Isaac Vallie-Flagg by submission.
 
Chris Spang 4-1-0 vs Nah-Shon Burell 8-1-0
In the Strikeforce Welterweight, division Nah-Shon Burrell goes in search of his seventh consecutive win when he tangles with Swedish fighter Chris Spang is relatively new to the world of MMA with only five fights under his belt, but he has combat sport experience in the world of boxing. In his four careers wins Spang as secured a pair of knockouts, a submission, and a decision. In the second fight of his professional career, Spang defeated Cesar Narita via 16 second knockout. Narita attempted to close the gap and tie up when Spang caught him on the way in with a series of quick punches, landed a couple of knees from the clinch and then backed away when his opponent crumpled to the ground. Spang effectively mixes up his boxing with variety of leg strikes, picking up his lone Strikeforce victory over Joe Ray on the basis of his stand-up skills. Burrell has earned 6 of his 8 victories by knockout and he has significant power but is striking is a little stiff. His stand-up is improving, but he struggled to effectively engage James Terry early mainly because he was concerned with the potential of being taken down. Although he spent the majority of the grappling exchanges on the defensive against Terry, Burrell has been successful in the past using his own wrestling to control an opponent. Against Joe Ray, Burrell did a nice job neutralizing Ray’s striking with his top game, although he was on the defensive on a couple of occasions as the result of Ray’s submission game. Spang trains alongside BJJ Black belt Robert Drysdale and in his last fight he threaten on multiple occasions off his back with submission attempts but wasn’t able to finish. Look for Burrell to use his physical strength and wrestling in a similar fashion to Spang’s last opponent to put the Swede on the mat. Nah-Shon will need to be careful of Spang submission game off his back, and be cautious when closing the distance but Nah-Shon should have the striking skills to hold his own on the feet and the wrestling skills to main control on the ground, so my prediction is Nah-Shon Burrell to defeat Chris Spang by decision.
 
Gian Villante 9-3-0 vs Derrick Mehmen 12-3-0
Light Heavyweights Derrick Mehmen and Gian Villante go head to head in a division lacking a champion with an opportunity to further improve their prospects of contending for a title in the future. Villante’s Strikeforce career got off to a rough start with a pair of defeats; one at Heavyweight and a second after he made the drop down to 205. Villante has been touted as a prospect with all the tools, but has only now started to fight up to his full potential with back to back wins. Villante is a natural athlete with a successful wrestling background and a college football career as a linebacker that drew interest from multiple NFL clubs. Villante has won the majority of his fights by knockout (6) along with a pair of submission win. Villante has serious knockout capabilities with a striking game that is making significant improvements and he isn’t afraid to mix in his wrestling to keep his opponent off balance. Mehmen comes into this bout after suffering a decision defeat against Rodney Wallace, prior to that fight he earned a gutty 3 round victory over Roy Jones that saw Mehmen drop the opening round, get badly cut at the start of the second but then resort back to his wrestling to control Jones and win the final two rounds. Mehmen showed a lot of heart against Jones, but against Wallace he struggled to mount any real offense. His striking is a little rough and even though he was able to take Jones down and control him with his wrestling, he really didn’t mount a lot offense from the top. Villante’s conditioning as been an issue, especially in the Larkin fight where he looked good early but faded in the second and slowed down even more in the final round. Against Keith Berry he went the distance, focussing mainly on his wrestling to control his opponent in an uneventful fight. Mehmen has the better wrestling credentials, but I like Villante’s athleticism to make up for it. Gian will need to avoid getting drawn into a brawl with Mehmen but he should be the more technical striker so my prediction is Gian Villante to defeat Derrick Mehmen by knockout.
 
Virgil Zwicker 10-2-0 vs Carlos Inocente 5-0-0
In the Light Heavyweight division Virgil Zwicker tries for back to back victories when he tangles with newcomer Carlos Inocente. Inocente is making is Strikeforce and North America debuts riding a 5 fight winning streak. The 25 year old Brazilian has limited MMA experience, but has looked good so far in his career with 3 wins by submission another 2 by knockout. He has demonstrated excellent footwork, good lateral movement, and overall solid striking technique. He is a patient, but still aggressive fighter who does a nice job of avoiding his opponent’s attack before engaging. In his last fight, Carlos landed a powerful push kick that launched his opponent across the cage and then he quickly followed up with a jumping knee to the head for the finish. He has demonstrated good takedown defense, showing the ability to counter his opponent’s takedowns and land in the superior position and as mentioned above he has multiple wins by submission. Although he is making is North American debut, Carlos has been working with the Blackzilian camp which should help him with the transition. One major concern for the Brazilian is his lack of activity as he last fought in September of 2010 which can only add to the nerves of a fighter making his promotional debut. Zwicker comes in with far more experience both overall and fighting in Strikeforce as this will be his third appearance for the company. In his debut, he took a Heavyweight match-up against Lavar Johnson and was simply out match, falling in the first round by knockout. Zwicker rebounded nicely in his second fight earning a first round TKO win over Brett Albee in April 2011; he landed a well timed spinning back kick that hurt Albee and eventually lead to the win. Zwicker also holds a notable win over fellow Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Ovince St. Preux, stopping OSP via strikes in late 2009. Virgil has won the majority of his fights by knockout (7) and overall he is gritty brawler that isn’t afraid to mix it up. He has shown some skill on the mat with a pair of submission wins along with decent takedowns. Zwicker has missed some time as well, as he was sidelined by an injury and as a result he has been out of action for roughly 13 months. Zwicker should look to try and turn this fight into a brawl, really press the Brazilian not allow him to get comfortable. Inocente has impressive striking skills and would be best served to maintain distance and batter Virgil with kicks and combinations from the outside. Ring rust and a debut are concerning elements of this fight, but Inocente has shown promise in his young career especially with his striking so my prediction is Carlos Inocente to defeat Virgil Zwicker by knockout.  
 
Quinn Mulhern 17-2-0 vs Yuri Villefort 6-0-0
Quinn Mulhern enters the Strikeforce cage for the fourth time in search of his third win as he takes on fellow Welterweight Yuri Villefort. Mulhern started his Strikeforce career with a decision defeat against Jason High, but has since reeled off back to back wins. Mulhern is primarily a submission fighter holding a Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and  having taken 11 of his 17 wins by tapout. At 6’3″, Mulhern is able to use his long limbs to his advantage controlling and tying up opponents when he eventually gets them to the ground. His striking is a work in progress, but is serviceable. He has a stiff jab that helps him to keep his opponent at bay, but overall he lacks any form of devastating knockout power or the technique to deliver it with if he had it. One clear advantage that Quinn will hold in this fight is in experience both quantitative (19-6 total fights) and qualitative, which should be further magnified considered Villefort is making is promotional debut. Yuri Villefort, the younger brother of Danillo, is only 21 years of age and has shown signs of competence in all areas of the fight game earning a pair of wins by knockout and 3 more by submission. On the feet he has brutally powerful kicks and will target all areas of his opponent (legs, body, and head). He is a dangerous striker, but is still working to refine his game, which should come with age and experience. Villefort has handled himself well on the mat, but he would be best served by keeping this fight standing and avoiding the Mulhern’s ground game. Head to head, Yuri should be the far superior striker which should force Quinn to shoot early and often, esentially this match-up will come down to takedown defense. If Villefort can use his kicks and distance striking to maintain separation he should be able to remain vertical and pick Quinn apart. If Mulhern does manage to get Villefort to the ground, Yuri should have the grappling skills to defend and scramble his way back to his feet, so my prediction is Yuri Villefort to defeat Quinn Mulhern by knockout.
 

 

 
Yves Jabouin 17-7-0 vs Jeff Hougland 10-4-0
In the Bantamweight division Yves Jabouin will attempt to extend his 135 pound winning streak to 3 in a row when he battles Jeff Hougland who hasn’t lost since 2003. This is a battle of striker versus grappler; Jabouin has won the majority of his fights by knockout, 11 of 17, while Hougland is a BJJ Black belt taking 7 of his 10 victories by submission. In Hougland’s debut he attempt multiple submissions and did a nice job on the mat, but was also effective during the striking exchanges and actually out landed his opponent 61 to 31. Jabouin has won a pair of close split decisions, where in both fights his opponent was unsuccessful establishing their ground game and lost the striking exchanges. Wael Watson wasn’t able to get Yves on his back and although Ian Loveland completed 3 takedowns, he didn’t do enough with the position to win the fight. In Hougland’s last fight he slowed down in the third round which is a huge concern, but with his second appearance in the UFC he should be far more comfortable. Jabouin will be the superior striker and if he can keep it standing he should be able to our work Hougland. That being said, Hougland is a better grappler then the last two men Yves faced and he should have more success both getting the fight to the ground and maintaining the position. Yves has been submitted 3 times in his career and Hougland should have multiple opportunities to make it four, so my prediction is Jeff Hougland to defeat Yves Jabouin by submission.
 
Igor Pokrajac 24-8-0 vs Fabio Maldonado 18-4-0
In the Light Heavyweight division, Fabio Maldonado will try to return to the win column when he takes on Igor Pokrajac. Pokrajac is coming off an impressive victory over Krzysztof Soszynski, where he landed 21 of 31 strikes in only 35 seconds to record a brutal first round knockout. Conversely, Maldonado lost a grueling three round decision against Kyle Kingsbury where he connected on an impressive 122 strikes and actually out landed his opponent by 12 total strikes. Maldonado possesses excellent boxing technique, dangerous power (12 wins by KO or TKO) and mixes up his attack effectively by changing levels. In addition to his striking skills, he has an excellent chin and put it on display during his battle with Kyle Kingsbury. Pokrajac is a decent striker and has earned knockout wins in two straight, along with 13 career knockout victories. Even though he has the more wins by knockout then submission, his ground game could hold his key to victory in this match-up. Overall, Igor has won 8 fights bys submission, while Fabio has been submitted twice throughout his career and has showed issues defending Kingsbury’s takedowns in his last fight. If Pokrajac can establish his ground game and control Maldonado on the ground he could earn a submission or grind out a decision win. If the fight remains standing the Croatian has been knocked out 4 times and comparing striking stats Maldonado averages an extraordinary 6.47 strikes per minute, over 4 more than his Pokrajac. Igor was impressive in his last fight, but Maldonado’s chin and work rate will prove too much in this bout, so my prediction is Fabio Maldonado to defeat Igor Pokrajac by knockout.    
 
Jason MacDonald 26-15-0 vs Tom Lawlor 7-4-0 1NC
In the 185 pound division, Jason MacDonald goes in search of UFC victory number 8 when he takes on Tom Lawlor. Both men are coming off defeats; Lawler was put to sleep via d’arce choke at the hands of Chris Weidman and MacDonald suffered a TKO defeat against Alan Belcher. Head to head MacDonald has a huge experience advantage over Lawlor with 40 fights compared to only 12 for the American. Both fighters are predominantly ground fighters; Lawler is a Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and averages 3.53 takedowns per fight while MacDonald is a first degree BJJ Black Belt with 19 wins by submission including 4 in the UFC ( Ed Herman, Chris Leben, Jason Lambert, and Ryan Jensen). The striking edge is difficult to determine, Lawlor has been working to improve his overall skills but MacDonald is no slouch on the feet either. Overall, I don’t anticipate this fight remaining vertical for too long, with both men looking to take this fight to the ground. MacDonald is dangerous in both top position and off his back and Lawlor has been submitted in each of his last two defeats. MacDonald should be able to use his long limbs to control and eventually lock up a submission, but he will need to be careful if Lawlor does get top position and is unable to unload with powerful shots from the top. All three of Lawlor’s UFC defeats came against talented ground fighters (Chris Weidman, Joe Doerksen, and Aaron Simpson) and MacDonald has the ground skills to add his name to this list so my prediction is Jason MacDonald to defeat Tom Lawlor by submission.
 
Brad Tavares 6-2-0 vs Dongi Yang 10-2-0
A second Middleweight contest features a match-up between former Ultimate Fighter competitor Brad Tavares and Korean Top Team member Dongi Yang. Both fighters are coming off decision defeats; Tavares suffering his first career setback against Aaron Simpson, while Yang fell to 1-2 after being on the wrong end of close decision loss against Court McGee. Both fighters are relatively young in their respective careers with Tavares having fought eight times and Yang 12. During that span Tavares has won 4 fights by knockout including defeating Phil Baroni. In that battle he got hurt early by a left hand but rallied back eventually hurting his opponent with a head kick and dropping him with a right hand. Tavares is a young athletic fighter with good conditioning and is showing constant improvement. In his defeat against Simpson he showed good takedown defence and although he was on the defensive for most of the fight he managed to endure the grind, forced his opponent to work hard and capitalized on the few openings that were presented. Dongi Yang has won 9 of his 10 victories by KO or TKO, he has significant power although his striking is a little stiff. Against Court McGee he dropped him with shot late in the fight and he floored Rob Kimmons with a left jab early in the first round. Yang has an excellent grappling base with a black belt in Judo; against Kimmons he did a nice job of maintaining top position while punishing his opponent with strikes from the top and also attempt a couple of submissions. Against McGee he was able to defend 5 of 7 takedown attempts, but Court’s two successful attempts came in the third round with Yang began to slow down. Dongi is a heavily muscled Middleweight and has had some difficulties cutting the final few pounds which can create conditioning problems in the later stages of a fight. Tavares’ grueling battle with Simpson showed his ability to fight a full three rounds and overall he should have an edge in the striking but he will need to watch out for Yang’s power. Tavares has good takedown defence which will be key if Yang tries to mix things up and use his grappling. I like Tavares’s athleticism and speed advantage to play a significant role early and his condition to be the deciding factor late, so my prediction is Brad Tavares to defeat Dongi Yang by decision.
 
TJ Grant 17-5-0 vs Carlo Prater 30-10-1
Two former Welterweights will meet in the 155 pound division; TJ Grant made his Lightweight debut with a submission win against Shane Roller while Carlo Prater will be making his venture into the UFC Lightweight division with this fight. Both fighters are essentially grappling based fighters; Grant has won a total of 13 fights by submission while Prater is 15-3 in fights ended by tapout. Prater has a multitude of grappling based accreditations with a Black belt in BJJ and in Luta Livre along with a Brown Belt in Judo. Grant doesn’t hold nearly as many rankings, but he is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown belt. Grant showed in his last fight that a matchup of a pair of grapplers does not automatically turn into a striking battle when he outdueled NCAA wrestler Shane Roller and eventually submitted him. Grant won the majority of the grappling exchanges, reversing Roller on a couple of occasions and he used his new found size advantage to control Roller throughout. I anticipate that this fight is going to be mainly contested on the ground and will be done so at a grueling pace. Prater has been a little inconsistent throughout his career and he has also had difficulty with making weight; as recently as 2011 he competed in 160 pound catchweight bout and  one fight prior he came 15 pounds overweight for a Lightweight bout against now UFC fighter Reza Malady. If Prater has difficulty making weight for this bout his cardio will certainly suffer and Grant’s grinding style will expose this quickly. Grant was impressive in his Lightweight debut, he will be in tough to earn another submission win but he should be able to control and breakdown Prater especially in the later stages, so my prediction is TJ Grant to defeat Carlo Prater by decision.        
 
Rafael dos Anjos 15-6-0 vs Kamal Shalorus 7-2-2
Lightweights Rafael dos Anjos and Kamal Shalorus will both try to get back in the win column when they square off. Shalorus has dropped back to back fights since joining the UFC, losing to Jim Miller by TKO and then to Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission. Shalorus really hasn’t been impressive in either fight and could be facing the unemployment line with a third defeat. On the other hand, Rafael dos Anjos has been showing marked improvement especially in his striking. The Brazilian earned a knockout over former top contender George Sotiropoulos in under 60 seconds, and he was having a lot of success against Clay Guida during the striking exchanges. Shalorus throws everything with power and does have four wins by knockout, but his style of striking is physically draining and leaves openings to be countered. Dos Anjos did have some difficulty with Glieson Tibau’s power, but Shalorus doesn’t have the same level technique and only lands 33% of his strikes. If the fight remains vertical, dos Anjos should have the edge with a more diverse striking style and advantages in both reach and speed. On the mat both men are skilled; Shalorus has Olympic wrestling experience along with competing in various grappling competitions while dos Anjos is a BJJ Black belt and has won the majority of his fights by submission (7). Overall, the Brazilian utilizes his grappling far more effectively then Kamal who prefers to stand and bang. Raphael will need to avoid Shalorus’s power early but he should be able to out strike Kamal and as he begins to slow down dos Anjos will take complete control of the fight, so my prediction is Rafael dos Anjos to defeat Kamal Shalorus by submission.
 
Jeff Curran 34-14-1 vs Johnny Eduardo 25-9-0
In the Bantamweight division, Nova Uniao product Johnny Eduardo tries to rebound from his UFC debut defeat when he takes on the well travelled veteran Jeff Curran. Curran’s return to the UFC was an unsuccessful one when he, just like Eduardo, lost a three round decision. Eduardo is a Muay Thai practitioner with 6 wins by knockout and trains with the likes of Jose Aldo and Diego Nunes. In his debut it took him a little while to settle in, but when he did he opened up he showed decent leg kicks, and against Curran he should have the striking advantage. Curran’s striking is serviceable, but it would be in his best consideration to take this fight to the mat as soon as possible. Although Eduardo is a BJJ purple belt and has won the majority of his fights on the ground, he has also been submitted 7 times. Curran is a 2nd degree black belt with an impressive 19 wins by submission. He has a diverse ground game and is dangerous from any position; the urgency shown by Scott Jorgensen’s corner regarding Scott’s positioning when on top is a testament to how dangerous Curran is when the fight goes to the ground. Over his career, Curran has had issues with strong wrestlers/grapplers losing decisions to the likes of Urijah Faber, Mike Brown, Joseph Benavidez, and Hatsu Hioki. In all of these fights Curran’s opponents were able to diffuse his submission skills and subsequently limit the most effective aspect of his game. Eduardo doesn’t match the mold of the typical wrestling based opponent that traditionally has success against Curran. Conversely, Curran more than fits the bill of a skilled grappler that should be able to take Eduardo off his feet and limit the striking exchanges. Eduardo has been submitted on multiple occasions and Curran could add one more to that total, but I think Johnny will do enough to defend but not win so my prediction is Jeff Curran to defeat Johnny Eduardo by grinding decision.