Alejandro A. Alvarez / Philadelphia Daily News
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 | 9:30 p.m.
If You Go
- What: Strikeforce Challengers 18
- When: Friday, August 12, 6 p.m.
- Where: The Pearl At The Palms
- Tickets: $65 to $175, Ticketmaster
Jorge Gurgel suspects that Strikeforce didn’t do him any favors and gave opponent Joe Duarte added motivation heading into their main event bout at Strikeforce Challengers 18 Friday.
Gurgel’s picture is prominently placed in the middle of the event’s poster, while Duarte is nowhere to be found.
“When you’re in the Main Event and you’re fighting someone with a bigger name who is all over the poster and you just have a tiny name, it’s going to aggravate him,” Gurgel said. “It’s going to get him to use emotion and motivate him to be on the poster next time.”
The poster snub isn’t the only reason the 34-year old Gurgel (14-7 MMA, 2-2 SF) expects the lightweight fight with the 28-year old Duarte (9-2 MMA, 1-0 SF) to go down as a war.
Duarte is tough and relentless, according to Gurgel. Although Duarte hasn’t faced the same level of competition as the UFC veteran Gurgel, he’s finished in each of his eight victories over the past four years.
Before the opponents walked onto the stage at the Palms for their weigh-in Thursday afternoon — where Duarte made weight at 155 pounds and Gurgel came in at 154 — Duarte pulled Gurgel aside and told him something he wanted to hear.
Duarte told Gurgel he was thankful to be facing someone who won’t back down or try to make the fight boring for a cheap victory.
“I’m the same way, so much respect,” Gurgel said. “I want to fight someone who’s going to meet me in the middle.”
Duarte would appear to fit the bill. He’s gone 5-1 since appearing on the eighth season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ with three knockout victories and two by submission. Gurgel has only gone 2-2 in the same span, but his defeats came against notables K.J. Noons and Billy Evangelista.
Oddsmakers are just as convinced as Gurgel that the main event will be closely contested. At most offshore shops, Gurgel is installed as a slight favorite at -125 (risking $1.25 to win $1) with Duarte coming back at -105.
“I’m going to continue to make sure I’m staying at the center of the posters,” Gurgel said.
Pick: Gurgel by submission
Check below for full offshore betting odds on the main card and a pick for every fight.
Middleweight Bout: Danillo Villefort (13-3 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Nate James (12-7-1 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Villefort -310, James +250
Matchup: The UFC somewhat surprisingly ousted Villefort, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, after one loss in an entertaining fight two years ago. He’s won all four bouts since then and seeks another chance. James trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., one of the most notable gyms in the mixed martial arts world.
Pick: Villefort by decision
Lightweight Bout: Pat Healy (26-17 MMA, 2-1 SF) vs. Eric Wisely (18-5 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Healy -285, Wisely +225
Matchup: “Bam Bam” Healy is a wrestler who looks to get into the clinch and frustrate opponents from the beginning. This is Wisely’s first bout in a major mixed martial arts promotion. Wisely works as a steel construction worker in Clinton, Iowa, and fights on the side.
Pick: Healy by decision
Women’s Featherweight Bout: Ronda Rousey (2-0 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Sarah D’Alelio (4-1 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Rousey -450, D’Alelio +350
Matchup: Rousey has gotten a lot of attention because she’s a former Olympian who took home a bronze medal in judo during the 2008 games. She’s transitioned to MMA well, ending her first two fights by submission in less than 1:30 combined. Three out of D’Alelio’s four wins have also come via submission.
Pick: Rousey via TKO
Light Heavyweight Bout: Roy Jones (6-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Derrick Mehmen (11-3 MMA, 0-0 SF)
Line: Jones +150, Mehmen -180
Matchup: A battle of interesting nicknames, as Jones goes by “The Wolf” and Mehmen is labeled “The Caveman”. Both are well rounded and come from widely known training camps. Jones works out at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Fla., while Mehmen trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Pick: Jones by TKO