Strikeforce is set to close its door following its final show this weekend. Despite the heavy losses in star power that the card has faced, there are still some intriguing fights and some underrated talent being featured.

Two guys that could really surprise fans are Adriano Martins and Ryan Couture.

Couture is not a complete unknown, given that he has built up some popularity. Despite having less than 10 fights on his resume, he is famous for being the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. At 5-1, he has gotten off to a successful start so far.

The reason Couture might surprise fans come fight night is because he is facing a tough, experienced opponent in K.J. Noons. Noons is a former EliteXC champion and has been successful at both welterweight and lightweight.

Couture matches up nicely with the part-time pro boxer. Noons is going to be the better, more technically sound striker, but he has proven to struggle against power wrestlers.

That is where Couture steps in.

Couture is a power wrestler with a solid top game and submission skills to complement it. Couture has already shown that he can hang with talented competition, as seen in his victories over Conor Heun and Joe Duarte.

Noons has shown weakness in counter-wrestling when facing opponents Josh Thomson and Jorge Masvidal. Couture could really step into the spotlight by playing to Noons’ weaknesses and winning this big opportunity.

The other fighter who doesn’t draw much attention but could have a big day on Saturday is Adriano Martins. The Brazilian is making his debut with Strikeforce with a chance to move over to the UFC with a win over Jorge Gurgel.

Gurgel is an established veteran of the sport, while Martins is looking to gain notoriety off of a win over him. Gurgel, a BJJ black belt who prefers to brawl, is good for an entertaining fight. If Martins is able to beat him in a crowd-pleasing affair, it could garner him a following.

Martins is a powerful striker who uses his ground game as a backup in most cases. Eleven of his 23 career wins have come via knockout, proving that he is a jaw-rattler.

Gurgel is established, but Martins could be on the rise. Do not be surprised if this underrated Brazilian makes a positive impression on fans, wins the fight and enjoys a fun ride in the UFC.

With the multitude of fights on Saturday that pair a strong candidate for UFC inclusion against a lesser-known fighter, there are plenty of opportunities for fighters to shock and surprise fans and the UFC brass, as well as their opponents. Any number of fighters from that group could suddenly find themselves on the fast track to the Octagon, but Couture and Martins stand out as the most likely fighters to seize such an opportunity.

Photo: Ryan Couture (blue trunk) (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.