Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg, the biggest fight in women's MMA history, is finally just a day away. Will the action in the cage live up to the hype? And will the constantly changing undercard hold fans' interest? We have a full previewand predictions on all the televised fights below.
What: Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg
When: The undercard starts at 8 PM ET Saturday and the televised card begins at 10:30.
Where: HP Pavilion, San Jose
How: Watch on Showtime, follow along with our live coverage here at FanHouse, or follow my MMA Twitter page for live updates Saturday night.
Predictions on the five televised fights:
Gina Carano vs. Cristiane "Cris Cyborg" Santos
Carano has been described, thousands of times, as the face of women's MMA. But the constant focus on her face obscures the fact that she is a tremendously talented fighter. She has fluid movement on her feet, and her muay Thai skills are first-rate.
However, I think Cyborg is the stronger, more aggressive fighter, I think Cyborg is better on the ground, and I think Cyborg will be the one to push the pace of the fight. This fight should be a very good one, and I think it's going to end with Cyborg getting her hand raised.
Predicted winner: Cyborg
Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Gegard Mousasi
American fans who have never seen Mousasi are in for a real treat Saturday night. He was my choice for Fighter of the Year in 2008, a year when he went 6-0 in MMA, winning the Dream middleweight tournament in the process, and closed out the year winning a big K-1 kickboxing match on New Year's Eve.
But now Mousasi is fighting in the United States for the first time and leaving the rings of Japan behind to fight in a cage, and he's facing a step up in quality of opposition by taking on Babalu. I expect Babalu, a much more experienced fighter, to defend his Strikeforce light heavyweight championship by taking Mousasi to the ground and submitting him.
Predicted winner: Sobral
Gilbert Melendez vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida
This fight is a rematch of a 2007 bout that Ishida won by unanimous decision. I have a bad feeling that these two are going to give us a dull five-round contest that sucks all the energy out of the building, but I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. In any event, I do like Melendez to win.
Predicted winner: Melendez
Jay Hieron vs. Jesse Taylor
After Nick Diaz was forced out of his scheduled fight with Hieron for refusing to take a drug test, Strikeforce moved fast and picked former Ultimate Fighter bad boy Taylor to take his place. I think Taylor is talented and I'm glad he kept his MMA career afloat after the UFC sent him packing, but he's not on Hieron's level.
Predicted winner: Hieron
Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Kyle
For all the ways this undercard has changed, the one positive change was the decision of Strikeforce and Showtime to put Werdum back on the televised card. Werdum was once considered among the top five heavyweights in the UFC, and after a bad loss in October and a long layoff since then, it'll be nice to see him back in the cage. Kyle is a legitimate opponent for Werdum, but I don't think he has the submission defense necessary to deal with a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt like Werdum.
Predicted winner: Werdum.