Morning Report: Gegard Mousasi asks fans if he should drop down to middleweight

Esther Lin, Strikeforce

Gegard Mousasi has always been small compared to the rest of the light heavyweight ranks. Yes, he finished Mark Hunt in 79 seconds, but the Dutch-Armenian admits to walking around barely above 210 pounds in a division filled with 225+ pound monsters.

Likewise, Mousasi has always been told he's small for light heavyweight. Just a few months ago, prior to his final Strikeforce bout against Mike Kyle, he nonchalantly explained me this about his weight:

"I'm very comfortable that my technique is there to neutralize any weight advantage. I'm going to be the faster and more conditioned fighter, so I'm not worried about that. ... If things go bad at 205, [I'll consider a drop to 185]. But I don't see it. That's always a possibility, going down a weight division and starting again, but I feel like things are going well, so no need to change."

Since then Mousasi destroyed Kyle and claimed victory in a lopsided UFC debut against Ilir Latifi, so it's not as if things took a turn for the worse. Nonetheless, the middleweight question seems to be weighing heavily on his mind, and now Mousasi wants your input.

"Hey everybody," he tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. "What (do) you think about if I go to 185? I am curious what people think about this idea."

Well folks, you heard him. Let the man know.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Mousasi teases middleweight move. Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi teased a potential drop down to middleweight, writing on Twitter: "Hey everybody, what you think about if I go to 185? I am curious what people think about this idea."

Rosenthal busted. Referee Josh Rosenthal pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana stemming from a 2012 drug bust in Oakland, CA, which saw police sieze 1,356 marijuana plants valued at over $6 million. Rosenthal could face 37 months in jail with a plea deal, or anywhere from 10 years to life in prison without.

Jones accuses Sonnen of steroid use. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones ripped his rival, Chael Sonnen, on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight. "People know that Chael Sonnen has done steroids throughout his whole career and that's probably why his testosterone is low now," said Jones. "I don't think that is the heart or the attitude of a champion, so that's what I meant when I said he lacks champion's soul."

GLORY inks television contract. Kickboxing promotion GLORY inked a multi-event television deal with CBS Sports Network. The upcoming GLORY 7 event is now scheduled to air via tape delay on the network on Sunday, April 21 at 1:00 a.m. ET.

Kedzie vs. de Randamie. The latest women's fight is official for the UFC's summer schedule. In a battle of Strikeforce veterans, Julie "Fireball" Kedzie and Germaine de Randamie are set to square off at UFC on FOX 8, which takes place July 27, 2013 at the KeyArena in Seattle, WA.

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MEDIA STEW

Our good friends at All Elbows were in attendance for this week's TUF 18 tryouts to put together this heart-warming retrospective.

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You guys, we've been doing it wrong the whole time.

(HT: Reddit)

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What's better than one knockout? Yep, 100 knockouts.

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It finally happened: Urijah vs. Uriah. Who takes it?

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This is what Joe Rogan does in his spare time. Don't act so surpised. (Also there's this, though I should warn any animal lovers that it's pretty gruesome.)

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Fake Chael Sonnen can sell the hell out of a fight, I'll give him that.

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MINI MOOSE

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TRADING BARBS

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LIKE THE HONESTY

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HMMM...

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UNFAZED

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NEW MISSION

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PEE-WEE

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, April 17, 2013):

  • UFC on FOX 8: Julie Kedzie (16-11) vs. Germaine de Randamie (3-2)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes to us from MikeWellman88, who previews: Henderson vs Melendez: The Main Card on Paper

The UFC brings yet another lightweight title fight to Fox this weekend for Fox UFC Saturday, which takes place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. The HP was the home base of Strikeforce, and this UFC card features seven Strikeforce veterans making their transition into the ranks of the UFC. Headliner Benson Henderson makes his second appearance in front of the network television audience, after pulling in 5.7 million viewers for his last title defense against Nate Diaz on Fox this past December. This weekend's card is stacked from top to bottom, and features Team Alpha Male's Joseph Benavidez, T.J. Dillashaw, and Chad Mendes all looking to continue their winning ways. Benavidez faces number eight ranked flyweight Darren Uyenoyama, Dillashaw is taking on the undefeated Hugo 'Wolverine' Viana, and Mendes is one of the heaviest favorites on the card in his matchup with Darren Elkins, who has amassed an impressive five-fight winning streak in the UFCs featherweight division. Let's now take a look at the meaningful action set to take place on the main card.

Matt Brown returns as the opener of the main card after his 2nd round dismantling of Mike Swick back at UFC on Fox 5. He has his work cut out for him against the up-and-coming Jordan Mein, who at the age of 23 already has 35 professional fights. Mein comes in on a three-fight winning streak and has won nine of his last ten. Brown, who rides a four-fight streak going into Saturday's fight, is the more accurate striker of the two, with FightMetric stats showing a 58% accuracy rate to Mein's 42%. Mein is the more active striker however, coming in at 4.27 SLpM (strikes landed per-minute) to Brown's 3.4. Mein has eight first-round finishes since 2010, and also comes in with a 74% striking defense average, compared to 58% for Matt Brown. Brown is more likely to go for a takedown against Mein, bringing in a 47% percent takedown accuracy rate, and averages 1.8 takedowns per-15 minute fight to Mein's zero in both columns. Brown is no stranger to taking punishment, and I think he will be able to endure more of Mein's attack than his previous opponents. I see this one ending by way of second round TKO for Jordan Mein.

Next up is a pivotal match at 155 lbs, featuring Josh Thompson and Nate Diaz, who both are coming off of title-fight losses to the night's headliners, Melendez and Henderson, respectively. In Thompson's decison loss to Gilbert back in May of 2012, a lot of people had him winning three rounds to two. The judges gave that one to 'El Nino', but it could have easily gone to Thompson, who in the fourth round came very close to finishing Melendez from several choke attempts from his back. Thompson is the more diverse striker of the two, employing leg and body kicks with his combos. Nate, along with his brother Nick, have sort of developed their own brand of boxing in the octagon, which involves almost as much trash talk and mind games as it does volume punching. Diaz lands more often than Thompson, with a FightMetric average of 3.55 vs Thompson's 2.44 SLpM. Thompson is slightly more accurate, coming in at 48% striking accuracy vs Diaz's 43%.

Diaz is well known for his slick jiu jitsu game, but Thompson's wrestling base gives him slightly better takedown numbers, with 40% takedown accuracy to Nate's 25%. Look for Thompson to keep busy with his footwork and kicks, and to change levels if Diaz overwhelms with his boxing. Diaz is dangerous off of his back, so Thompson doesn't have a clear advantage if it hits mat, which I think it will. This might means a lot for both fighter's as they try to climb back up the ranks at 155 lbs, and I give a slight edge to Nate, having trained with Gilbert Melendez, who fought Thompson three times. For me, this is the toughest fight on the card to pick, and could easily get fight-of-the-night. I see this one going to the judges cards and Nate leaving the HP Pavilion with the win.

Main and co-main event analysis after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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