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Breaking Down All Eight ‘UFC vs. Strikeforce’ Bouts on This Saturday’s Henderson vs. Melendez Card

As we pointed out on Facebook earlier today, the entire main card of this Saturday’s UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez event features a UFC veteran taking on a former Strikeforce standout. What’s more, there are four fights on the prelims that fit this same pattern. While the UFC has set up cards along national lines in the past — see UFC 58: USA vs. Canada and UFC 117: USA vs. Brazil, Pretty Much they’ve never been this overt with their UFC vs. Strikeforce matchmaking. Will the UFC vets fight harder in an attempt to defend their turf? Will the Strikeforce crossovers band together to continue their invasion of the Octagon? Take a look at all eight matchups below and let us know which side you think will emerge victorious.

Headshot images via Card/The UG.

The odds say: Bendo is a strong favorite to defend his belt at -250.
We say:
When you put this much talent into the cage at the same time, anything can happen. But while we think this fight will be closer than the betting line reflects, there’s been an unbreakable, unstoppable quality to Henderson’s performances during his 6-0 UFC run. Until we see how Melendez actually performs in the Octagon, we’re picking the champ.

The odds say: Cormier is a virtual lock at -375.
We say:
That sounds about right. Cormier has all the skills to be a future UFC champ, and barring any freakish leglocks, Frank Mir is just a stop along the way.

The odds say: Diaz is a solid -175 favorite against the Punk.
We say:
If Thomson proved anything during his trilogy against Gilbert Melendez, it’s that he doesn’t wilt under pressure — which is a good thing, because Diaz knows how to pressure a motherfucker. I say Nate wins enough of the standup exchanges to cruise to a decision victory.

The odds say: Jordan Mein is a -335 favorite to win the fight and end Brown’s career comeback.
We say:
Alright, we’re cheating a bit here — Mein already made his UFC debut in March, when he became the first man to stop Dan Miller at UFC 158. Now, he’s returning on a month’s notice as an injury replacement for Dan Hardy. Mein’s recent performances have been enough to make the 23-year-old Canadian a front-runner in this fight. (Remember his annihilations of Evangelista Santos and Forrest Petz?) But don’t sleep on the Immortal. He’s always been a tough bastard, and now that he’s fighting smart, everything seems to be falling into place; his current four-fight win streak includes a knockout of Mike Swick and an upset win over another hot prospect, Stephen Thompson. We’ll take Brown for the upset.

The odds say: Carmont has a slight edge at -130.
We say:
 Tough call, but I’m leaning towards Carmont, if only because he’s had four fights to get comfortable in the UFC. (He’s won all four of those fights, by the way.) Larkin hasn’t competed since his decision win over Robbie Lawler last July, and while that was an impressive performance, the long layoff and first-time Octagon jitters might be enough to sink him.

The odds say: Masvidal is another small favorite at -135.
We say:
Tim Means is 2-0 in the UFC — or 2-1 if you include his TKO loss to that sauna — and is on a nine-fight win streak overall, but his victories haven’t exactly come against top-shelf competition. Meanwhile, Masvidal has battled (and beaten) some of the very best during his decade-long career. We’ll agree with the oddsmakers and put our money on Gamebred.

The odds say: Njokuani is the favorite at -155.
We say:
It’s a fight between a talented striker who’s been woefully inconsistent over the past three years, and another talented striker whose hype fizzled out in Strikeforce after losses to Bobby Voelker and Tarec Saffiedine. Both fighters do best when they take charge early. Again, I think UFC experience will probably be the deciding factor; Njokuani will bully Bowling to a decision win.

The odds say: -150 edge for Romero.
We say:
Yoel Romero is that Cuban Olympic silver medalist who was matched up with Rafael Cavalcante way too early in his career and got crushed. Starks also comes from a wrestling background — and was a teammate of Cain Velasquez at Arizona State University — but has been inactive since a submission loss to Ed Herman at UFC 143 in February 2012. Starks’s long layoff is definitely cause for concern, as is Romero’s world-class wrestling pedigree. Gotta go with Yoel.

Final prediction: The UFC vets will outgun their Strikeforce counterparts, winning by a score of 5-3. If you see if differently, let us know in the comments section.


Cagepotato Comments

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Flynn- April 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm
Gotta go with Henderson over Melendez in a decision. Melendez is one of my favorite fighters, but the dude has been out of action for how long?! Now we get to see if Melendez is fit for the UFC.

To all you armchair pundits out there, I am going with Mir over Cormier. Yeah, I know, totally crazy because Ryan Jimmo was supposed to trash James-Te Huna, Hector Lombard was supposed to break dance all over Tim Boetsch's face, and how everyone had eyes on Uriah Hall to soundly defeat Kelvin Gastelum....This is the same Frank Mir that knocked out and submitted Noguiera, granted Nogueira looks like a beat down war horse, but Mir is not much better off. Mir has never been the same after his motorcycle accident. Not taking anything away from Cormier. I loved it when he literally destroyed Silva, and his jaw. I saw Cormier against Barnett, Cormier has huge, scary power, such power that Silva commented on Cormier's strength, this coming from a real life giant. Cormier is also an accomplished wrestler, who should be able to defend against Mir's Jiu-Jitsu. Cormier has the advantage if Mir decides to stand and trade. Mir really isn't that stupid is he? No. I think Mir will do one of two things: Either Mir will attempt to stand with Cormier, in which case he will get wobbled and go for either a single or double leg takedown and try to get the fight to the ground. Or Mir will attempt to tire Cormier out, then go for the takedown. I give Mir the edge if the fight goes to the ground.

I take Diaz over Thomson, while Thomson has the technical skills to be a top tier fighter, he has been hampered by injuries. Diaz over Thomson, yep you guessed it, by decision. Diaz's striking and Jiu-Jitsu negates Thomson's ground game, and the edge has got to go to Diaz. Diaz will use his jab to keep Thomson at bay, and when Thomson does eventually shoot in, Diaz will either drop into guard or jockey for position and go for the trip to bring the fight to the ground. I like Thomson, but after Diaz put on a clinic in his victory over Cerrone, I think there are few people who can give Diaz a real challenge.

Just sayin,

fishtaco- April 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm
i see it like this melendez has alot to prove and i believe he will pull off the upset its his time. thomson, yoel,daniel, mein will win
Xanderschultz- April 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Yoel is the best wrestler (pedigree) to compete in the UFC in years. Don't sleep on him. I watched him spank Cael Sanderson about 10 years ago. I don't know where his striking is at, but he's crazy crazy athletic. Former world champ.
boober- April 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm
It's like they are all peeking through little windows at us, effectively making it so I can't take any of them seriously.
ChrisH- April 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm
J.Jones- April 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm
@Pen - The answers you seek can be found in that pesky title/intro paragraph.
Pen Fifteen- April 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm
*Other 4
Pen Fifteen- April 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Also, you guys do realize you failed to analyze the other 5 undercard fights, right?
Pen Fifteen- April 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm
Anyone know which fights are scheduled to be on the main card? I'm assuming the top 3 only.
teep- April 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Is the toothpick taken into consideration for the odds on Bendo/Melendez? I hope Cormier Ko's Mir!
Fried Taco- April 17, 2013 at 11:54 am
Are we going to have Chrissy Blair and Vanessa Hanson squaring off against Arianny and Brittney as well? Maybe in some Jell-O?