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Our experts are back, well, most of ’em! Rich is taking some time off to spend time with his new daughter so we’ve brought in one of our writers and site contributer, Lance Edwards.
Do you agree with them or do you think they are crazy? Either way, let ’em know! When you’re done reading all the pics, feel free to leave your own picks and comments below and let our experts and Houston know who you think is going to win and why.
Meet the experts
Mike Calimbas (mopthemats.com) – (36-32) Mike Calimbas is an MMA Writer, devotee, and fan that has been a part of the Mixed Martial Arts community for over fifteen years. He has served as a ring official & timekeeper for amateur MMA in numerous local events in Texas with the USACA/Lonestar Beatdown. Mike has also written and provided analysis on the topic of MMA & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for various online publications, including FightLine, Ploomy, and MoptheMats.com. Mike has been training BJJ, etc. on-and-off for the past six years. Off the mats, he spends most of his time with his family, including his baby son, Nicholas and girlfriend, Megan. For more on Mike, check him out on http://twitter.com/mikecalimbas.
Justin Trapp (fighterportraits.com) – (41-27) Justin Trapp is a photographer, designer and one of the premier marketing minds in the MMA industry. He manages the branding and marketing for mma companies, fighters and gyms. He has been a loyal fan of the sport since its inception and works to educate the biased. To see some of his work visit his website, fighterportraits.com.
Lance Edwards (thecagedoor.net/lanceedwards) – (0-0) At the age of 11, British born Lance joined the boy scouts and had his first experience of a three round boxing match, never having worn gloves or trained before, needless to say he was pummelled around the ring. This started his love of combat sports and martial arts. Having trained and lived in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and of course the US, Lances lack of skill and ability to pick up bizarre and unusual training injuries, led to him developing just enough cardio to master the use of a keyboard. Still training in the hope of honing his skills to a level higher than pathetic, Lance trained in the UK as a psychologist, and has written for UK based Martial Arts Illustrated magazine, and Fighters Only website. Lance is a writer for TheCageDoor.net as well as a crucial part of our live coverage team.
|Greg Bellomy||Name||Alex Black|
|#3||TCD rank||N/A (Pro Debut)|
|Gracie Barra Texas||Gym||Bushi Ban|
Mike: I’m going to skip the talk about how nice these guys are because I’m sure that kind of stuff will be covered by others all over the place. Okay, okay… both these fighters are top-notch stalwarts of the Houston MMA community and are amongst those others would be fit to emulate as role models. Despite that, this is a fight and as is such, Ive gotta pick a winner. In this fight, Alex Black is riding high making his professional debut fresh off a title victory over Bryan Billiot at Caged Combat 7 in Louisiana. Alex has continued to get better and better, making some marked improvements in his amateur career – most notably his ever improving BJJ and stand-up skills. He’s ripe to go pro but I can’t help but to think he’s picked an incredibly tough opponent to debut against in Greg Bellomy. This Draculino-trained fighter touts an impressive wrestling background to go along with some improvements of his own. From what I’m hearing on the street, most have Bellomy as an overwhelming favorite with a large strength advantage. I think Greg will have an advantage in transitions but this fight will be much closer than people think. As long as Bellomy can take Alex down and counter arm bars to pass, I think he may be able to gain a decision and that’s what I’m going with. Prediction: Bellomy via decision
Justin: Some of the nicest guys you will ever meet in MMA. Both guys are tough and experienced. I think i will flip a coin on this one. Tails, Alex Black wins UD. Prediction: Black via unanimous decision.
Lance: Both of these fighters are great fighters, as with most of this card. Black ironed out a lot of his weaknesses through his amateur career. Bellomy comes to us from Dracalino’s school and also has a solid ground game. Im expecting a fast paced fight which I doubt will go to decision. Prediction: Bellomy via tko or sub
|Mike Bronzoulis||Name||Jonathan Harris|
|The Greek||Nickname||The Hulk|
Mike: No fighter in the area has gotten more mileage out of his pro wins than Jonathan “Hulk” Harris. Testament to that is the TheCageDoor’s video of his last 5-second KO of Kenneth Fuller reaching over 264,000 views to date on YouTube. To the world, Harris is a world beater right now. After all, his other professional win happened in a mere 16-seconds as well so I’m sure a lot of fans are picking The Hulk to win another one and with good reason. However, when I think of this fight, I don’t see Harris KO’ing Bronzoulis and I certainly don’t see “The Greek” playing around with fake glove touches or any other silly games. The only game I see Bronzoulis playing is taking this guy down to the mat and giving him a taste of what seasoned professional MMA experience feels like. To go even further, I’m going to go out on a limb and call it now. Mike Bronzoulis not only wins but wins on the floor, with the third submission win of his career or a TKO after some relentless ground-and-pound. Prediction: Bronzoulis via submission
Justin: I’m thinking this fight steals the show. Both guys have knockout power. There are rumors that Jonathon’s ground game is sick but he hasnt been able to show it yet. Time will tell if that is something of urban legends….Mike is a very experienced fighter who has been around a long time so he is not going to get caught up in touching gloves err fake touching gloves with Harris. Ultimately I think this may be the rise of Jonathon Harris. Prediction: Jonathon Harris TKO Rd2
Lance: Bronzoulis is a grizzled veteran, whereas Harris is a fresh up-and-comer to professional MMA. The difficult thing about Harris is his previous pro fights haven’t gone longer than sixteen seconds, so we haven’t really seen what game he has past that initial explosive burst. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a very explosive punchfest early, which ends in a KO, if not we may see Bronzoulis experience shining through. Another tough call because we haven’t seen enough of Harris as a pro, but I’m sure this fight will show us if he’s the real deal. Prediction: Bronzoulis via tko or decision
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|Rey Trujillo||Name||Ray Blodgett|
Mike: Rey Trujillo rebounded from a tough loss to Daniel Pineda and decimated an experienced Jose Santibanez in his last fight at Strikeforce. I’ve always believed “Tru” to be an animal in the cage and have never picked against him in the past. With all that being said, I also believe he will lose this fight. Full-disclosure – I train with Ray Blodgett and have known him for a long-time, since before he made his amateur debut at Hurricane Harry’s way back at Lonestar Beatdown 1. Also full disclosure, I believe in his varied skill set and think he has all the tools to take this fight. As Colin Wright mentioned in his comments, he thinks this fight could go either way, “it’ll be either rey by ko/tko, or ray by sub”. That’s probably the general consensus based on the reputations of both men but I also think Ray has very underrated stand up. Everyone thinks Elite MMA fighters and automatically assume a BJJ-base but Blodgett is no slouch on feet, with very technical Muay-Thai, clinch work, and a penchant for surviving wars. Trujillo is exactly the type of fight to bring out the best in Blodgett. All he’s got to do is survive what will undoubtedly be a Brock-like onslaught to start the fight by Tru and this fight should be his, most likely via choke or arm bar. Prediction: Blodgett via submission
Justin: Both guys look very promising at this point in their careers. Trujillo looked great at Strikeforce with the KO win. Blodgett was so close to landing a gig on TUF. I think this fight comes down to game plans. Which guy can implement his game plan? I think Blodgett will try and turn this into a grappling war. He looked really good against the undersized Aaron Barringer so I wonder how he will do with Rey being a lot bigger. Obviously Trujillo is going for the finish early like he always does but I think Blodgett will be able to avoid and major mistakes. Prediction: Rey Trujillo via unanimous decision
Lance: Another great match up, both are tough fighters. Trujillo has had more fights of the two, Blodgett’s win over Barringer shows that he shouldn’t be taken lightly. I give Trujillo the edge on stand up, and Blodgett, who has a knack of winning by submission, the edge on the ground. Prediction: Trujillo via tko
|Brian Melancon||Name||Junior Assuncao|
Mike: Logic dictates that the odds would be for the Brazilian Black Belt and former UFC-veteran Junior Assuncao winning this fight against yet another regional opponent. After all, the Atlanta-based eldest brother of the fighting Assuncao family enters this fight as a winner of his last four fights and has been tearing it up on the regional circuit. However, I can vividly recall leaving the Arena Theater after the last Legacy with a solitary thought in my head, to not pick against Melancon ever again after watching him dispatch of Todd Moore. In predictions before that bout, despite the fact that I knew Melancon to be an animal. I picked the highly-touted Moore over Melancon for two logical reasons, big league experience and name-value. I won’t make that mistake again. All common sense would point to Melancon as a live underdog in this fight and I’m going to go with my gut and say he wins via knockout over Junior Assuncao on his way to the big leagues. Prediction: Melancon via KO
Justin: Brian looked really good in his last few fights. Junior is a UFC vet but i have to wonder if he has already peaked. I think Brian is still getting better. I think it will be a tough fight but I give the UD to Brian. Prediction: Melancon via unanimous decision.
Lance: Fantastic match up, Melancon never ceases to rise to the occasion, with a tko over the gritty Todd Moore on his last outing, Im sure Melancon will be well prepared. Melancon makes a big weight cut, and at the last weigh-ins he looked near death; I’m not sure if this fights goes on through the rounds how that will affect him. I have a hunch that this time his cut wont be as big a day or two before the fight as that one. Assuncao is a seasoned veteran, and has been on a winning streak being undefeated in 2 ½ years. This is his second fight of the year, however, both fighters are going to be in great physical condition. I could see either fighter taking this, Melancon demonstrated great take down defence against Moore. I feel if Assuncao can take it to the ground I give him the edge there. Maybe if we’re really lucky Junior can give us a Capoeira demo afterwards. Prediction: Assuncao via sub
|Drew Ratichek vs Terrance Ferguson||Ratichek||Ratichek||Ratichek|
|Angel Huerta vs Akira Smith||Huerta||Huerta||Smith|
|Derek Lewis vs Miguel Guerra||Lewis||Lewis||Lewis|
|Edgar Verdin vs Jonathon Mack||Mack||Mack||Verdin|
|Tim Snyder vs Aaron Barringer||Snyder||Barringer||Snyder|
|John Malbrough vs Ruben Melendez||Malbrough||Malbrough||Malbrough|
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