This is round two of my post from earlier this month. Most people know about the UFC, but some of the MMA fans out there have no clue about MMA in Asia and lower weight classes.
Here is a look into some of those upcoming big fights.
Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki
There is very little known about the 185 division outside of the UFC. Most of the top fighters are within the UFC, but this is easily the biggest fight not taking place in the Octagon. Both men are legit top ten middleweight contenders and this fight could move Santiago into the top five with a win.
Since having back-to-back losses in the UFC, Santiago has a 10-1 record with his only loss being a surprise upset to Mamed Khalidov, whom he has since defeated. With a win, he may have a spot in the Strikeforce middleweight tourney, and with that supposed lineup, he would be one of the favorites.
Misaki is a Pancrase and Pride favorite who has credible wins over the likes of Dan Henderson, Denis Kang, and Joe Riggs. The “Grabaka Hitman” has very solid submissions and some nasty kicks that posed a serious threat to Santiago the first time they fought.
If Santiago can keep to his game plan, then I see a win, and that should catapult him into the Strikeforce tourney. If not, it would be nice to see Misaki in the US fighting in a cage which would be different then his normal surroundings.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brad Pickett
Both fighters are tough dudes who are looking to take the next step in the 135 ladder.
Jorgensen is riding a four-fight win streak and has been looking better than he has his entire career. In his last fight, Scotty dominated Antonio Banuelos by showing off his much improved standup.
He has, as of late, been talked about getting a shot at the title, and a win in this matchup would set him up for a No. 1 contender’s type of match.
“One Punch” Brad Pickett is a scrappy fighter who I first saw in '07 with Bodog fights. Since that time, he has gone 10-2, and recently took Demetrius Johnson to a decision after breaking his collar bone in the second round.
Pickett has one-punch KO power and a much underrated ground game that has been developing under American Top Team in Florida. His double-leg takedown is quick, his ground and pound is dirty, and he has true KO power.
I can’t wait to see this fight, because styles make fights, and both are able to win in so many different ways.
Tim Kennedy vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (for Vacant Middleweight Title)
Now this fight I’m excited about for two reasons. One, it’s a great fight at the weight class that will lead to a ton of great matchups at 185 in Strikeforce, and second, I’m hoping to see it live.
For some reason, many "fans" have no idea who Jacare is, but if you have ever seen his handiwork on the mat, you know he is a true BBJ expert. He made a name for himself in Japan, but since coming to Strikeforce, he has shown a much improved striking game and still is a killer on the ground.
Go and watch his fight against Matt Lindland, and look at the transitions he does from his back, and the nasty arm triangle he finished the fight with—top notch, people. I personally believe that now Shields is gone from the UFC, he is the best middleweight fighter that Strikeforce has on their roster.
Kennedy is a true American hero with a ton of upside. He has very good strikes and power for days, but where he is most dangerous is on the ground. His ground and pound is some of the best I’ve ever seen with very accurate strikes.
His fight with Zak Cummings is proof of his punching power and accuracy. The thuds of his fist landing on Cummings's head were sickening, some of the best place punches from the back ever.
This could be a fight of the year candidate and I’m looking forward to it!