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Strikeforce Preview: Gegard Mousasi vs. Renato Sobral

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Gegard Mousasi has pretty much dominated the middleweight scene overseas in recent years. So much so, in fact, that he has decided to begin competing in the light heavyweight division. He definitely has the frame for it. In most photos where he is seen with his good friend Fedor Emelianenko, Mousasi seems to be noticeably larger than the heavyweight. This 24-year-old Armenian was part of the collateral damage from the Affliction fallout. Is contract was definitely a huge acquisition for Scott Coker's Strikeforce promotion. Mousasi has a professional record of 25-2-1 with 14 wins coming by way of knockout and 9 wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced is 60.9%.

Renato "Babalu" Sobral has fought a who's who of MMA elite over the years. He comes into this matchup with a 5 fight undefeated streak dating back to the summer of '07. While the 34-year-old Sobral is usually lauded for his jiu-jitsu prowess, it's his wrestling that often gets overlooked. He has high-level wrestling skills to go with his submissions, which makes him truly dangerous from the clinch or on the mat. Sobral has a professional record of 35-8 with 5 wins coming by way of knockout and 18 wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced is 69.1%.

This is the fight that I was most looking forward to on the cancelled Affliction show. I was on cloud nine when I found out that this matchup was saved and would take place on this Strikeforce card. This should be an intense matchup. Mousasi is clearly among the world's better middleweights. How will he do at 205 pounds? We'll find out quickly on Saturday night. For my money "Babalu" still belongs in the Top 10 rankings of light heavyweights. I'm usually pretty conservative about picking upsets, but my gut has told me from the beginning that Sobral will find a way to win this fight. I'll concede that Mousasi has the better standup but I'll give the edge to Renato on the ground. I see them as comparably skilled fighters but with Babalu's big-fight experience it's just too tough for me to pick against him. My prediction: Renato "Babalu" Sobral by submission in the 3rd.