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Female MMA Analysis
by Matt Yao

Elite XC October 4th

Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobald

gina caranoEveryone was saying that Gina Carano (6-0) and Cris Cyborg would be the next fight to happen, but after Cyborg’s devastating victory over Shayna Baszler, I’m not surprised that EliteXC has decided to have Carano fight someone else instead. After all, why risk one of their biggest draws? Carano will be facing Kelly Kobald (16-2), who is very tough and by no means a “tomato can,” but just isn’t on the same level as Carano.

Kobald trains at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy (MMAA) alongside Sean Sherk, Brock Lesnar, and Kaitlin Young. The gym is famous for its “caveman workout,” and the fighters it produces have excellent cardio. However, it seems like MMAA just does not focus on technique enough. Reviewing the tape, Kobald’s standup is a brawling style consisting of looping hooks. That is just not going to cut it against Carano’s crisp, technical standup. On the feet, Carano will make Kobald look like an amateur.

The best chance Kobald has in this fight is if she takes it to the ground. With eight of Kobald’s 16 wins coming by submission, Carano will have to bring her A-game if this fight hits the mat. A closer inspection of Kobald’s record reveals that four of those eight submission wins were submissions due to strikes, a.k.a. ground and pound. Carano’s ground game has improved by leaps and bounds every time we have seen her in the cage. Training at Xtreme Couture is paying off big time. From what I’ve seen of Kobald, I don’t think her jiu-jitsu is crisp enough to submit Carano, but if Kobald can secure a dominant position and rain down blows, Carano could be in trouble.

Carano has looked impressive in all of her fights, and I expect her to continue that trend in this fight. If Kobald gets top position on the ground, I think Gina will surprise us by pulling something out and escaping. After all, she was able to not just escape, but reverse Tonya Evinger, who is an excellent wrestler and has much more sophisticated top control than Kobald. I think Gina will showcase her striking skills against Kobald, with Kobald being tough enough to make it to a decision.

Carano wins by Unanimous Decision.

Cris Cyborg vs. Yoko Takahashi

EliteXC told MMAjunkie.com that they are postponing the fight between Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano so that the two fighters can build up their fan bases. Correct me if I’m wrong, but pretty much everyone knows Gina Carano. And if they’re trying to build up Cyborg,Cris Cyborg why are they putting her against an unknown opponent in a fight that won’t be aired on CBS? On October 4, Cris Cyborg (5-1) will be fighting Japan’s Yoko Takahashi (13-9) in what I think will be a very one-sided fight.

I watched some tape of Takahashi, and her standup is practically non-existent. Coupled with the fact that nine of her 13 wins are by submission, Takahashi will definitely be looking to take this fight to the ground. The world witnessed Cyborg’s devastating standup when she TKO’d Shayna Baszler twice in one fight. If Takahashi gets stuck standing with Cyborg, it’ll be a very short night for the Japanese fighter.

To get this fight to the ground, Takahashi will try to get to the clinch for a judo or Greco-Roman type takedown. About half of Takahashi’s submissions come from leg locks, which could pose problems for Cyborg. Baszler came very close to catching Cyborg in a leg lock. However, Baszler is a top-notch submission artist and the fact that Cyborg was able to escape says a lot. If this fight gets to the ground, I expect Cyborg to weather the storm and get the fight back to the feet where she can dominate.

I think that this is a “gimme” fight for Cyborg. I don’t see Takahashi pulling of a spectacular upset here. Cyborg will keep the fight standing and overwhelm Takahashi. Takahashi has been described as a “jobber” and is going to get a quick paycheck when Cyborg knocks her out in the first round. Hopefully she won’t get seriously injured in the process.

Cyborg wins by First Round KO/TKO.

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