Robert Downey Jr.:
Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields
Jake Shields simply won't catch Hendo in a guillotine like he did Robbie Lawlor, so the only path to victory I see for him is grinding a decision reminiscent of his fight with Jason Miller last November. Henderson hasn't fought since his annihilation of Michael Bisping at UFC 100 last July, so ring rust could be an issue early in the fight. Henderson might just be the toughest son-of-a-gun out there and he fights that way, too; I assume he'll be able to lock up with Shields and avoid being taken down and just look to land a big hook all night. You can't run from that hook for 25 minutes... I hear the JAWS music when Hendo cocks it back and starts chasing... Dan Henderson by KO, Round 3
Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed Lawal
I agree with a lot of critics that Mousasi is the beneficiary of a ton of hype, but are people really picking King Mo over a fighter with 28 professional victories based on his demolitions of Mike Whitehead and Mark Kerr? If Lawal wins here, it's going to be a boring 25 minutes of top control. Mousasi simply has more ways to win, with his stellar kickboxing and active guard capable of ending the fight in an instant. If Jacare and Babalu couldn't grapple their way to victories of Mousasi, King Mo won't. He's just too damn green, yet astonishingly younger than Mousasi. I'm thinking the Dreamcatcher adds five more seconds to his highlight real. Gegard Mousasi by TKO, Round 2
This is essentially a battle of one fighter who is good but not great at everything (Melendez) against one figher who is exceptional at one thing (Aoki). Aoki has the best ground game in the lightweight division this side of BJ Penn. Melendez would be absolutely foolish to get it to the mat and think he can win a wrestling match. Training with the guys in Cesar Gracie's camp means he won't be tooled by Aoki, but he would be remiss to let it stay on the ground for any amount of time. Aoki wasn't thrashed by Eddie Alvarez's boxing, who I think is most comparable opponent to Melendez, and got a quick sub. All he needs is an extended limb and he can end the fight within 30 seconds. I want to pick Aoki just because his submissions are so awesome but I think Melendez will fight the smart fight and keep it standing. Gilbert Melendez by Decision
Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields - Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
This fight could really be boring. Jake Shields is known for his wrestling and jiu-jitsu and also for putting a massive amount of people to sleep in his last foray on a CBS broadcast. This time though he'll fight a guy that he'll probably have trouble taking down and that hits like a mack truck. With that said, I see Hendo going for broke any and everytime he gets a chance and Shields keeping a distance far enough that Hendo falls short. However, as soon as Shields closes the distance, he'll grab a leg and struggle while taking big punishment in doing so. This will eventually lead to his undoing and Dan Henderson will be the new Strikeforce champion via TKO in Round 3.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammad 'King Mo' Lawal - Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
Interesting match up to say the least. Mousasi's coming off a non-title thrashing of the fallen African Assassin Sokoudjou and King Mo is coming off the destruction of Mike Whitehead. While I think Mousasi's a much better fight on the feet I think this fight will see a lot of time on the mat. There Mousasi's dangerous but King Mo is known for his wrestling acumen and I'm sure has been working on his submission defense. They'll both take some big shots, I'm almost positive we'll see blood but my gut tells me Mousasi (the more experienced fighter) will find a way to win. I see King Mo possibly tiring in the championship rounds and taking some heavy punches and slumping due to fatigue rather than pain....Mousasi via TKO early Round 5
Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki - Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
This one is definitely the hardest to call. Aoki is known for his excellent jiu-jitsu game and Melendez is known for his relentless pace. The thing that gets me is that Melendez is known to get sloppy in an effort to punish his opponent, Aoki's one of those guys you can not let up on or put yourself in a bad position for any period of time. This makes me think that Melendez will over commit to something and Aoki will grab a limb and go to work. Therefore....Aoki via submission in Round 3
- Henderson by TKO in the 3rd. I look for Henderson to do a good job of using his wrestling to keep the fight standing.
- Mousasi over Lawal by decision. I'm going for Muhammed in this fight. My initial reaction, however, is that Gegard pulls it out.
- Melendez over Aoki by decision.
Jake Shields def. Dan Henderson Submission Rd. 4
Henderson is not as good a wrestler as Shields. Shields will takedown Henderson over and over again and sink in a submission late.
Muhammed Lawal def. Gegard Mousasi Rd. 5 TKO
At first I thought Mousasi would win this fight, simply because Mo likes to entertain the fans. I thought Mo would stand up with Mousasi and try to slug it out with him. I think Mo will want to get the fight to the ground early and often. My opinion was changed by Forrest, he convinced me on this fight.
Gilbert Melendez def. Shinya Aoki TKO Rd. 2
If Aoki had a better chin I would pick him in this fight. Aoki is an aggressive grappler that if this fight hits the floor for an extended amount of time Aoki can submit Melendez. Melendez won't let that happen though. Most of Aoki's takedowns come in the clinch and Melendez is much better in the clinch than Aoki. Melendez says he is going to come out aggressive. I see an early stoppage here.
On the undercard I like Cale Yarbrough to bring home a victory to Georgia!
Dan Henderson defeats Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision
At first, I was like Henderson is going to steamroll Jake Shields but I had to consider a few factors in this one. Hendo is coming off a very long layoff(since UFC 100 in July) and Shields wrestling isn't bad either, not to mention that Hendo's worst performances historically come at 185. However, as long as Hendo doesn't headhunt too much, I think he can control where the fight takes place. Shields will not be looking to stand with Hendo at all, probably will be looking for the takedown early and often. Therefore, I don't think Hendo finishes him.
King Mo defeats Gegard Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Yea Mo is still fairly green in this fight, but I'm not sold on Mousasi's ground game off his back just yet. Again, Mouasasi has never felt the pressure of a wrestler like Lawal. Lawal will take him down whenever he wants too and will control Mousasi from the top position en route to an UD win. Now, if Lawal stands with Mousasi, then that would be pretty dumb, but I think Lawal is pretty intelligent. So now, maybe the Mousasi hype train can derail.
Gilbert Melendez defeats Shinya Aoki via Unanimous Decision
Let's see...Aoki's first time in a cage....Aoki without the magic pants...equals a long night for Aoki. That is unless Melendez is dumb enough to allow this fight to get to the ground. If he avoids the ground, Melendez should win this one fairly easily by outpointing Aoki. I think he'll do that, but be so wary of the takedown that he's not aggressive enough to finish Aoki.