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WEC 41 & Strikeforce: Lawler Vs. Shields Preview

We have two of the bigger non-UFC shows of the year on tap this weekend.

On Saturday night, it’s Strikeforce from St. Louis with Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields in the main event and Scott Smith and Nick Diaz second from the top. And then on Sunday, it’s Mike Brown and Urijah Faber in their rematch for Brown’s 145 pound title.

We’ll start with our short predictions of the big fights from the Strikeforce show first. As usual, Stevie J from AngryMarks.com joins us.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Brett Rogers

Alan: Rogers by 1st round TKO
Stevie J: Rogers by 1st round TKO
Duan: Arlovski by 1st round TKO
Cactus Jim: Arlovski by 2nd round TKO
GG: Rogers by 1st round TKO

Alan says, “I think he’ll be outclassed and then will get a big shot out of nowhere and with Andrei’s chin it may be enough. I’ll go with Round 1.”

Stevie J says, “Arlovski’s chin has become really fragile of late so even though he’s the more experience and more versatile fighter over all, the younger/faster/stronger Rogers only needs to find him and catch him once – and he will.”

Duan says, “The Grim is a great guy and a really good heavyweight prospect, but this is a massive jump in class for him. Arlovski is in my opinion the best technical striker in the heavyweight division. Rogers’ wild brawling style won’t fare well against him. Expect Arlovski to pick him apart standing, and finish it early.”

Cactus Jim says, “If Arlovski’s sometimes suspect chin can avoid Rogers big shots for the first half of the round I think he’ll just pick Rogers apart and KO him when Rogers gasses in the 2nd round. Arlovski’s movement and solid, accurate striking should be enough to earn him the victory.”

GG says, “We’re really going to see who Brett Rogers is here. If Rogers wins, he’s immediately made. If Arlovski wins, I think he’s rehabbed. I’m taking Rogers by first round TKO, but if this thing gets out of the first round, I think he’s target practice for Arlovski.”

Nick Diaz vs. Scott Smith

Alan: Diaz by 2nd round submission
Stevie J: Diaz by 3rd round TKO
Duan: Diaz by 2nd round submission
Cactus Jim: Diaz by 3rd round submission
GG: Diaz by 2nd round TKO

Alan says, “He’ll try to stand more than he should, but at some point he’ll smarten up and take it to the ground.”

Stevie J says, “It’s going to be a Takanori Gomi type of deal – death of a thousand cuts. Even though Smith arguably has the best lucky punch in all of MMA, Diaz is several classes above Smith as a striker and it will show all over his face.”

Duan says, “I think Diaz certainly has the skills to win this fight. Nick is undersized as a welterweight and tiny as a middleweight, but his natural talents should be enough to overcome that against a guy like Smith. My only concern is over the fact that Diaz has been all to willing to brawl in the past, even when completely outgunned. If he stands in front of Smith he is going to get knocked out, but I’m confident he will take it to the ground where he has the biggest advantage.”

Cactus Jim says, “I think everyone agrees that if Diaz tries to hang and bang that he’ll be in trouble, but he shouldn’t have much problem getting Smith to the ground and working for a submission. I’m thinking it may take him some time to do it so I’m going with round 3.”

GG says, “I think it’s way too early for Smith to be fighting again after the war he had with Benji Radach. Diaz didn’t take any punishment from Frank Shamrock and he’s the better fighter and the much fresher fighter. I think he gets Smith down in the second and just stops him from strikes.”

Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Shields

Alan: Lawler by 2nd round TKO
Stevie J: Lawler by 2nd round TKO
Duan: Lawler by 1st round TKO
Cactus Jim: Lawler by 2nd round TKO
GG: Shields by decision

Alan says, “Avoids danger on the ground. Kills Shields on the feet.”

Stevie J says, “Shields is among the world’s best at 170 but having to go up to face Lawler, even at a catch weight, will be too much for him to deal with. Lawler has a KO or TKO in five of his last six fights, with the sixth being a no contest – ’nuff said.”

Duan says, “I see this being something of a one-sided massacre. Lawler has an absolutely enormous advantage in the stand up both in power and technique. He has also become very good at staying off his back, and Shields is going to be struggling to take down a much naturally bigger guy. The difficulties Jake had against a rough power house like Daley are going to be multiplied by ten against a fighter of Lawler’s talent. Shields doesn’t belong at middleweight, and I think this fight will show us that.”

Cactus Jim says, “Shields is a decent fighter, but I don’t think he’s as good as his hype. He has a tough time with power guys and that’s what Lawler is. I think Lawler takes him out in the first half of the fight.”

GG says, “I’m in the minority here. I think that although Lawler is the bigger man, from what I hear, Shields is underrated when it comes to his strength. I don’t think the size difference is going to be that big and the catch weight of 182 helps Shields. I think it’s going to be a classic striker versus grappler with both guys looking great. I have Shields winning by decision.”

We’re only prediction one of the WEC fights, but I’m really looking forward to Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson.

Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown

Alan: Faber by decision
Stevie J: Faber by decision
Duan: Faber by decision
Cactus Jim: Faber by 3rd round TKO
GG: Brown by 3rd round TKO

Alan says, “As 50/50 as it comes. I’m thinking Faber will be more cautious and fight a smarter fight than last time. It may well go 5 rounds and he’ll eek out a tight decision”

Stevie J says, “The challenger will fight a smart but cautious fight to unseat the champion and regain his title. Don’t expect any spinning back elbows or tiger crane kicks – expect Faber to jab effectively and take Brown down as much as needed.”

Duan says, “Urijah was stupidly reckless in the first fight. I expect a more subdued approach from him second time around. I think he will focuses on getting the fundamentals right, and avoid taking any unnecessary risks. I expect Faber will just do enough to grind out a close (and possibly controversial) decision.”

Cactus Jim says, “I think he’ll come out a little more conservative, but conservative is not his style. By round 2 he’ll be throwing and I think he has enough to take Brown out.”

GG says, “I’m in the minority here again. I think Brown is too big and too strong and what we’ll see is Faber drop down and fight Torres. I think they’ll be in a stalemate for two rounds and then Brown’s strength will be the factor in round three. However, if Faber can get this fight to round four, I think he can take a decision. But I’ll go with Brown in three.”

We’ll have delayed coverage of Strikeforce (because they delay it on the West Coast) on Saturday and WEC on Sunday.

Photo by Strikeforce PR

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