by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
KAZUO MISAKI VS. JOE RIGGS
Former Pride Welterweight Grand Prix champion Kazuo Misaki makes his Strikeforce debut against UFC veteran Joe Riggs. Misaki comes off a lackluster decision victory over WEC veteran Logan Clark at Sengoku 3, while Riggs got back on the winning track by submitting Matt Dempsey at Rage in the Cage 112.
Both fighters will look to build off a win here and parlay it into a possible title shot against Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le in the coming months. These two have shown a knack for slugging it out on the feet, so expect the fight to play out there.
If the fight ends up being fought entirely on the feet then the edge would have to go to Misaki because he is more polished than Riggs. Misaki uses a lot of angles and incorporates his legs, where Riggs relies more on his power.
On the ground, Misaki is the better ground fighter of the two, using his judo background and incorporating submissions into his arsenal. Riggs is the stronger wrestler and if he gets a chance to get on top then he will unleash his hellacious ground and pound assault. As long as Misaki can stay off his back, he will be able to control the fight either on the feet or the ground.
This should be a showcase for Misaki as he makes his Strikeforce debut, but expect Riggs to hang tough and make it difficult for Misaki. Expect Misaki to use angles to throw Riggs off balance on the feet and on occasion take the fight to the ground where he can rack up some points en route to a decision victory.
JOSH THOMSON VS. ASHE BOWMAN
Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson faces off with Lion’s den lightweight Ashe Bowman. Thomson comes off an impressive decision victory over Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson, while Bowman submitted Henry Schweichler with strikes at Ken Shamrock Promotions: Xtreme.
Thomson comes off what is probably his best performance to date, utterly dominating the highly touted Melendez in every aspect of the fight to win a lopsided decision and the Strikeforce championship. Bowman comes in with nothing to lose and that makes him a very dangerous opponent for Thomson.
Plain and simple, Thomson should have the advantage in every aspect of the fight whether it be on the feet or on the ground. Bowman is going to be in way over his head and his best chance in the fight will be to catch Thomson sleeping on the feet and tag him with a knockout punch.
Thomson should be able to use his technically superior striking against Bowman, pressuring him to open something up and letting Thomson take advantage to land the fight ending shot.
MITSUHIRO ISHIDA VS. JUSTIN WILCOX
Former Shooto Pacific Rim welterweight champion Mitsuhiro Ishida takes on former NCAA wrestler Justin Wilcox. Ishida comes off a submission loss to UFC veteran Caol Uno at Dream 3, while Wilcox dominated UFC veteran Gabe Rudiger at JG and TKT Promotions: Fighting 4 Kidz charity event.
Ishida will be making his American debut as he looks to make a name for himself outside of Japan in the booming U.S. mixed martial arts scene. Wilcox comes off a huge victory in beating a name fighter like Rudiger, but he takes a huge step up in competition against Ishida.
These two are both wrestlers and rely heavily on their ground ability to grind out their opponents. but Ishida should have a slight advantage due to the fact that he has more experience and is a little more polished with submissions. Neither fighter is too sharp on the feet, so whoever is able to be more aggressive standing up could very well win the fight.
This should be an entertaining ground battle between two highly skilled grapplers, but the difference in the fight will be experience and tenacity. These two will trade takedowns back and forth, but Ishida should be able out position Wilcox, making that the difference in a close decision.
TERRY MARTIN VS. CORY DEVELA
UFC veteran Terry Martin makes his Strikeforce debut against rising middleweight prospect Cory Devela. Martin comes off a disappointing knockout loss to former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort at Affliction: Banned, while Devela won a decision over IFL veteran Dan Molina at Xtreme Cage Combat: Western Threat.
For Martin, he’ll look to reestablish himself as a contender in a new promotion after mixed results so far this year. Devela on the other hand will look to catapult himself into national spotlight with another win over an established fighter.
Martin has the definite advantage on the ground with his strong wrestling background and effective ground and pound attack. Devela on the other hand is the better fighter on the feet, being the quicker and more explosive of the two.
The key to the fight will be who controls the pace of the fight. If Devela is able to up the tempo then he’ll be able to overwhelm Martin just like past opponents have done to him. Expect Devela to do just that and add another established fighter to the list of his victims.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT:
TREVOR PRANGLEY VS. ANTHONY RUIZ
In a rematch of a Strikeforce bout several years ago, Central Californian fighter Anthony Ruiz takes on former Bodog middleweight champion Trevor Prangley. Ruiz comes off a third victory over Jeromy Freitag at EliteXC: Unfinished Business, while Prangley was stopped by Jorge Santiago with strikes at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives.
These two met two years ago at the third Strikeforce event with Prangley winning the fight after locking on an armbar. Both fighters are replacements and will be fighting on short notice, but had been already been training for different fights.
Prangley is the better fighter on the ground with both wrestling and submissions, which he’ll look to expose Ruiz with. Ruiz’s best chance to win the fight will be on the feet, where neither fighter has a distinct advantage over the other and he’ll look to land a knockout blow.
This fight will be very much like their first fight. Expect Prangley to take the fight to the ground and pound on Ruiz, which will open up a submission for him to get the victory.