There’s a lot of coverage this week for Strikeforce’s Grand Prix second round match-ups and who will move on to face Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov in the “Final Four.”
Before the semifinals take place, we need to settle two colossal fights Saturday night in Dallas. Here’s who should win the fights, and how. Look for Overeem/Werdum breakdown tonight.
Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett
There is only one fighter on planet earth who holds a win over Josh Barnett who hasn’t also lost to him. That man is Cro Cop. Other than Cro Cop, Barnett has only lost Pedro Rizzo and Big Nog, but he’s defeated both men as well. Josh carries a very respectable 29-5 record into this grand prix.
Brett Rogers caught MMA fans’ eyes with a very impressive TKO of Andrei Arlovski and then was dealt consecutive defeats by Fedor Emelianenko and Alistair Overeem. Brett has a decent chin and heavy hands and that makes it interesting anytime he steps into the cage. However, he has not fared well when he steps up against elite competition and he might find himself out of his depth against a veteran like Barnett.
Rogers has the heavier hands, as evidenced by his 10 KO’s in 11 victories. He’s a plodding punching, not known for speed, head movement or great footwork. He loads up and looks to land a telling shot. More times than not, it’s worked for him, but he’s against better talent in this fight.
Josh Barnett has underrated boxing and has actually won three of his last four fights by strikes. He has a solid 1-2 and has adequate footwork, but little to no head movement results in him getting his nose bloodied moments into nearly every contest. He also has punching power, but not the kind of power Rogers has.
Boxing advantage goes to Brett Rogers.
Brett Rogers is known for his hands, but not so much for his feet and knees. He can and has worked a knee from the clinch in the past, but his low kicks are nearly nonexistent. Not to mention Josh will be looking to take Brett down, so rare leg kicks from Rogers could disappear altogether. I wouldn’t expect anything substantial in this category from Brett Rogers.
Josh enjoys knees from the clinch, and will knee the thigh viciously. He doesn’t throw a ton of low kicks, but he does have a nice snapping kick when thrown can be effective. An assumption could be made that Brett Rogers will be kneed in the clinch and could eat some low kicks in this fight, but neither fighter will earn a “W” with kicks and knees.
Kicks/Knees advantage goes to Josh Barnett.
Brett Rogers traditionally doesn’t go to the clinch offensively, but he is a big strong man who can battle for position and use that strength to break free of clinches. If Brett finds himself in the clinch for any length of time, expect him to knee a little, but only to help with freeing himself.
Josh likes the clinch and uses knees, stomps and trip takedowns from the clinch pretty well. He has a far more offensive clinch than Rogers and could punish Brett and to break him down. Josh holds a substantial edge here.
Clinch advantage goes to Josh Barnett.
Brett Rogers actually has a good takedown but he is always looking to stand and bang so it nullifies his shot. He’s been working takedown defense in this camp, because he will not be successful if he finds himself on his back in this fight. He has adequate takedowns and hopes to have solid takedown defense.
Josh Barnett loves to take people down. He can shoot, trip or suplex from the clinch and is very adapt and winning scrambles. Josh isn’t a naturally gifted athlete so he often gets the best of takedowns and scrambles on grit and desire. He loves the ground and knows how to get the fight there.
Takedown advantage goes to Josh Barnett.
Brett Rogers has good ground and pound from the top position, but will struggle on his back. He doesn’t have a tremendous grappling background and has shown little acumen for grappling in his MMA career. He’s definitely a boxer first.
Josh Barnett is among the elite grapplers in the heavyweight division. He won the 2009 World Jiu Jitsu Championship in the Heavyweight No-Gi category. He is as good as it gets as a grappler in the sport and holds a distinct edge here grappling.
Grappling/Submissions advantage goes to Josh Barnett.
Brett Rogers is a very tough guy. He’s always in the hunt for a win because he can change the direction of any fight by landing a single shot. He’ll be hungry and well trained going into this fight. His heart and heavy hands will carry him through some trouble, and makes him a legitimate threat to Josh Barnett.
Josh Barnett: Josh Barnett is a very well rounded professional mixed martial artist. He has good hands, takedowns, grappling and submissions. He could suffer from ring rust, as he has been on the shelf for nearly a year. He’s tested positive for steroids twice, so that stigma is and will always be attached to him. He has the talent to win the fight and the experience advantage to be sure.
Intangibles advantage goes to Josh Barnett.
Overall Edge: : Josh Barnett holds the majority of the advantages and has more ways to win than Rogers does. He should be a clear favorite to move on into the semifinals.
Outcome: Josh eats a couple shots and shoots to get the fight on the mat. Once he gets it there, Brett never gets back up. Josh Barnett wins the fight via late first or early second round submission.
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