D Wizzle recently talked to one of his good friends in MMA, "The Fight Professor" Stephen Quadros. The Fight Professor is one of the most respected and popular MMA analysts around, and he will be a part of the broadcast team on the Showtime ShoMMA Strikeforce Challenger series. For more on The Fight Professor, go to http://stephenquadros.com
The debut show will be this Friday, May 15, in Fresno, California.
Hey Stephen, how's it going? Are you excited to be back on Showtime on Friday?
I am thrilled to be back on Showtime for the debut of the new Strikeforce Challengers series on May 15th. This is a great kickoff main event with Billy Evangelista versus “Iron” Mike Aina, but the female fight between Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman has a very good chance of stealing the show! And I always enjoy working with Mauro Ranallo in the broadcast booth, but I am also looking forward to working with my old pal Pat Miletich, who will join us.
I saw a lot of the EliteXC/ShoXC shows in the past and although most of the fighters were very unknown and new, there were a lot of good fights on those shows with lots of knockouts. What can we expect on Friday's show?
I expect more of the same. The competitors on Strikeforce Challengers know that this is their shot, their chance to make an impression on the public which, if they really create a stir, will cause them to move up in the game.
I’m glad Bao Quach is back. He is a solid featherweight who is really coming into his own. He’s facing a really tough guy in Tito Jones, who is a bit of a showman and a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion. The Aina/Evangelista tussle is self-explanatory: light the fuse, sit back and wait for the explosion. I can’t picture anything in that fight other than a mutual display of fistic fury. I’ll be surprised if it goes the distance.
And what card would be complete without the classic old school throwback fight pitting the grappler, Miesha Tate, versus the striker, Sarah Kaufman. Back in the day, smart money was always on the pure ground expert, but the sport has evolved and things have changed. At the risk of sounding optimistic, I believe this fight will be one of the greatest representations of female mixed martial arts that the sport has ever seen.
What are your thoughts on this grappler vs. striker match-up and are you a fan of women's MMA?
I am definitely a fan of this fight. These women bring so much skill into the cage. Kaufman is undefeated, with all eight of her fights ending by TKO. There is something beautiful about the combination of fast foot movement combined with heavy hands. But Miesha has the right skill set to throw a monkey wrench into the punching display Kaufman hopes for. Tate is a highly skilled wrestler who is becoming very well rounded under Dennis Hallman; I can’t wait for this one.
Can I get a prediction from you on the Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida fight in a few weeks?
First off, Rashad Evans against Lyoto Machida is logically the best match at light-heavyweight in the world. Those two guys are the best fighters in the division, both undefeated, yet they are underrated in many ways. Although their styles are different, I believe that they share a few similarities. Both like to counter and have faced criticism in the past for being a bit too little defensive. But ironically both are coming off big knockout wins – Evans knocked Chuck Liddell out cold and Machida annihilated previously unbeaten wrecking machine Thiago Silva.
A lot of people feel that Rashad possesses a higher level of pure athletic ability. While I won’t argue that point, I will emphasize that this is not a track meet. To beat Machida you have to do what no other fighter has done, figure out his style…and find his chin. And I do not believe that Rashad Evans will do that. I pick Lyoto Machida to win the title by decision and am also bracing myself for what may NOT be fight of the year.
What about the Strikeforce main event on June 6 in St.Louis between Lawler and Shields?
Jake Shields definitely has his work cut out for him against Robbie Lawler. Lawler is the best version of himself at this point and unquestionably top ten and maybe even top five in the world in the same division as Anderson Silva. Jake cannot stand with Robbie. That would be suicide. He needs this one of the floor where he must establish back control.
Chuck Liddell is contemplating retirement and is facing a lot of pressure from the UFC in regards to that. In my opinion, I think he should fight one more time in the UFC and then head to Strikeforce to fight with Tito Ortiz, Babalu, and Kevin Randleman again. What do you think of my plan for Liddell?
Hmm… on paper, I understand what you’re saying. Chuck was one of the greats in the UFC for sure! But he has been knocked out bad three times in his last five fights. It seems that other fighters have finally figured him out. The writing is definitely on the wall. I agree with the UFC’s stance and think it’s time for him to hang up the gloves.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and answering a few questions. I look forward to the show and your expert analysis on Friday night. Do you have any final words for everyone out there?
Thank you D! It’s always a pleasure! I’ll be back on Showtime for the second Strikeforce Challengers on June 19th from Washington. Check it out! And thank you to all fight fans around the world! The best is yet to come!