With UFC pulling talent from Strikeforce in the near future, we’re treated to possibly one of the last shows with big name fighters. The main event for this card is lightweight whirlwind Gilbert Melendez in the last defense of his title, taking on underrated fighter Jorge Masvidal. While the future of the title itself is grim, this is a fight that will land one or both men in the UFC, and you can be sure they’ll bring their best to the cage.
It won’t be easy to carve out some profit on this card, but if it’s possible, I’ll show you the way with my comparison betting odds and valid props for this event. Now, onto the fights!
Gilbert Melendez -300
Jorge Masvidal +220
Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under (3.5 rounds)
Any time you underestimate Masvidal, it seems to bite you in the ass, as he’s one of the most complete offensive fighters in the game. Using incredibly tight punching and kicking combinations, Masvidal has worked takedowns into his game to wisely steal questionable rounds. Melendez isn’t like Masvidal’s last several opponents though, having a speed edge and an insurmountable grappling edge that should keep his title safe. Melendez is smart enough to avoid tangling with Masvidal on the feet and can work his takedowns and ground and pound game to a strong finish midway through this fight.
Cristiane Santos -600
Hiroko Yamanaka +450
Props: Santos by KO
After a long layoff, Cristiane Cyborg Santos makes a title defense against JMMA fighter Hiroko Yamanaka. For those unfamiliar, Yamanaka is the female version of Yushin Okami, being a lanky fighter who uses takedown defense to attain top positioning or working outside striking to out point opponents. Simply put, Yamanaka is a large female who has spent a career fighting pro-wrestlers and undersized opponents, and will be in way over her head here. Yamanaka’s striking has zero snap on it and is only meant to keep opponents at bay, which won’t fare well against Santos crushing power. This is going to be a woefully short fight as Santos swarms Yamanaka and overwhelms her for a quick TKO.
Gegard Mousasi -240
Ovince St. Preux +180
Props: OSP by Decision
One of the few home-grown Strikeforce products, Ovince St. Preux will take a major step up in competition, taking on international fighter Gegard Mousasi. OSP isn’t a bad fighter by any stretch, as he brings a good balance of power, athletics, and intensity into his bouts. Mousasi is something else all together though, as he has world-class kickboxing skills and a deadly bottom game to compensate for his poor takedown defense. Mousasi’s “compensation” of takedown defense has cost him greatly in the past though, having lost his title to King Mo Lawal and drawing with Keith Jardine. As such, with straight bets likely out of reach, an OPS Decision or bet on the Over will be your best value here if OSP can control the entire fight from top position.
KJ Noons -185
Billy Evangelista +145
Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over
Having failed at both a WW title shot and losing to Masvidal in a LW number one contender’s bout, Noons will look to get back on track against Billy Evangelista. Evangelista is a home-grown Strikeforce product who specializes in precise striking and token takedowns to grab wins on the scorecards, but will have his hands full here. The thing that separates these two fighters is power, as Evangelista has never been able to put away top competitors. Noons brings crippling power in his punches and a solid kickboxing game of his own, allowing him to land the better exchanges and beat Evangelista back. While Noons heart isn’t always in the fight, if he comes in focused here, he should have little trouble punishing Evangelista for a TKO or Decision win. Betting wise, the Over is a safe wager, but might not be at a reasonable price. Watch the line and pick either straight bet on Noons or Over if you can get them within the above range.
Justin Wilcox -200
Caros Fodor +160
One of the best LW products SF has to offer, Justin Wilcox will take to the cage, facing Caros Fodor. This is an interesting match-up, as Fodor brings ridiculous clinch control and aggression into this fight, but will be hard-pressed to use it against the fleet-footed Wilcox. Wilcox should be able to move freely in this fight, landing his lunging punches and avoiding the mat as he sees fit, while Fodor will find himself a step behind. Depending on odds, Wilcox straight will be the way to go, although the O/U could have some decent play involved if the Under is seriously undervalued.
Get more great MMA news, recaps and analysis over at MMA Valor.