Strikeforce: Houston – In Depth: Chad Cook vs Artenas Young

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Preview by: Mike Calimbas

This matchup will prove to be an interesting contrast in styles between the up-and-coming Artenas Young and the seasoned veteran in Chad Cook. Will Artenas Young be able to take this fight with feisty fists and fancy footwork on his feet or will Chad Cook be able to impose his gregarious Gracie Barra grappling game on a grounded Machine Gun? I guess we’ll see this Saturday night!

ComingSoon Chad Cook Name Artenas Young Artenas Young
Nickname Machine Gun
6’2″ Height 6’1
205 Weight 205
8-8 Record 3-1
Gracie Barra Texas Gym Hoger MMA
Vs
Matt Thompson (L TKO)

Charles Reed (W Sub)

Jon Kirk (L – Sub)

Last Three Fights Ike Villanueva (W – TKO)

Lex Pappas (W – U. Dec)

James Hall (W – TKO)

POWER:

I would give the edge here to Artenas Young based on the fact that he has shown one-punch KO power in his past fights, evident by his scintillating knockout against Raul Jimenez. He also looks to finish the fight on his feet as a primary strategy with his crisp boxing.

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SPEED:

Artenas Young has excellent footwork and speed for a guy in his weight class. Also, being a tall, agile fighter allows Young to be very contentious with his counter-punching. That lightness in his feet, along with his hand speed allows Young to be effective in creating angles and reacting quickly to his opponents’ strikes.

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WRESTLING:

With sixteen fights on his record and a penchant for fights ending on the ground (11 of them), I’ve got to believe Chad Cook has the advantage here. While BJJ might be his strong-suit, you don’t fight for ten years as a submission fighter without learning a few tricks in how to take your opponent to the ground. While Artenas supposedly has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling (per Rich B.) I have not seen him use much of it and he certainly hasn’t attempted any take-downs in any of his previous fights I’ve seen him in. For that reason, Chad Cook has the edge.

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CLINCH:

Artenas has not displayed an offensive clinch arsenal too much in his professional fights, as he prefers to create distance to get off with his strikes. Cook is not known as a Muay-Thai fighter either but I believe he’ll use the clinch to close the space and take this fight to the ground as his main strategy.

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Chad Cook has an overwhelming advantage in the ground portion of this fight with over ten years of training as a BJJ-based fighter.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen Artenas sport white-belt laced Atama shorts to most of his fights. Not too sure if he’ gotten promoted or not but irregardless, he’s a got a lot of catching up to do to get to the level of a Chad Cook in the ground game.

CARDIO:

In sixteen  professional fights, Chad Cook  has made it out of the first round a grand total two times, win-or-lose. It’s either he goes for broke early in his fights, gasses out quickly, or both. Meanwhile, Artenas Young has made a living off counter punching his way to decisions, much to the chagrin of crowds watching his fights. Still, Artenas looked to be strong in the endurance department in his recent fight against Ike Villanueva and looks to be on the way in terms of peak physical shape. For that, I’ve got to give the edge to Young.

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WINNER:

Chad Cook via submission.

SUMMARY:

Like I said at the opening of this preview, this fight will be an interesting contrast in styles between the counter-punching striker in Artenas Young and the Ground-based submission fighter in Chad Cook. Chad’s looking to rebound after losing five out his last six fights. Young is carrying the momentum of three straight wins in his professional career. Especially for the up-and-coming Young, this fight is huge for him as he looks to achieve greater heights in the MMA world. Now will that work in his favor or will pre-fight jitters affect his performance? Somehow, I don’t think his opponent Chad Cook will feel the same jitters. At 8-8 and with an MMA record spanning ten years, Cook really has nothing to lose in this fight and can just go out there with the attitude of having fun on the greatest stage.

The key questions to be answered in this bout is as follows: Will Young be effective with his counter-punching style or will Cook avoid playing that game on his feet and look to take Young to the ground? Cook’s only been finished on his feet once and that was against a top veteran in Matt Thompson so that works in his favor. That leads me to believe that we will see Artenas Young face his first big test during his young career as he’ll have to display his mettle on the ground. On a stage as huge as Strikeforce in Toyota Center packed with over 10,000 people, that can lead to a lot of nervousness and perhaps recklessness. In BJJ, that means mistakes and creating opportunities for your opponent to capitalize on. For that reason,  I’m picking Chad Cook via armbar submission in first round of this fight.