First off, I want to give a big thanks to our site overlord Eric Gargiulo, who was kind enough to take over Fight Picking duties for UFC 112 in my absence. With that in mind, let the Spring of constant (and somewhat weekly) MMA shows continue with Strikeforce: Nashville on CBS. Despite the unbelievably corny, broadcast network promos for this fight, I must admit it’s cool to have 3 championship belts being decided on one main card…and yes, I really am excited to see the debut of the amazing fighter known as Gregard Mousasi (click on the link and pay close attention to the promo).
Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki – Lightweight Championship
I really don’t want to use the classic “striker vs. grappler” comparison, but…well…Melendez is the better striker and Aoki the better grappler. Problem solved! In all seriousness, Melendez avenged his previous loss to Josh Thomson by winning the Strikeforce LW belt at Strikeforce: Evolution this past December. Before that, he put away both Mitsuhiro Oshida & Rodrigo Damm with strikes. He’ll need to use some of that power advantage against the current DREAM LW/Shooto MW champ Aoki, who’s coming off an arm-breaking submission win over Mizuto Hirota at the Dynamite!!! 2009 New Years Eve show and beat Joachim Hansen at the DREAM FW Grand Prix Final Round via armbar. Even without those colorful pants, Aoki is Gumby-like with his jiu jitsu and can pull subs from the wildest of positions. Melendez gets the slight edge in the betting department at -160 to Aoki’s +130, but I think Aoki will find some crazy and creative way to get this fight to the ground where he wants it. New champ right of the bat.
Jay’s Pick: Aoki via submission, R3
Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal – Light Heavyweight Championship
Jay’s Pick: Mousasi via TKO, R2
Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields – Middleweight Championship
Jay Pick: Henderson via TKO, R4
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