Raphael Davis (top) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)Titan FC 28: ‘Brilz vs. Davis’ Preview and Predictions The MMA Corner Staff May 13, 2014 Events, Previews, Spotlight On Friday, May 16, Titan FC will hold its 28th event from the First Council Casino Hotel in Newkirk, Okla. It marks the second event since the promotion was purchased by former Alchemist Management founder Jeff Aronson. Titan FC 28 will showcase a light heavyweight main event between UFC veteran Jason Brilz and Bellator alum Raphael Davis. In addition to the night’s headlining contest, the card features numerous big-show veterans trying to work their way back to the sport’s highest level. Among the notable names: Dave Herman, Kalib Starnes, Walt Harris, Brock Jardine, Daniels Robert, Brian Foster, Gilbert Smith, Walel Watson, Alvin Robinson and Pedro Nobre. The 12-fight event kicks off Friday with three unaired preliminary card bouts. Three additional preliminary card bouts follow on CBSSports.com at 8:30 p.m. ET, with the six-fight main card airing live on the CBS Sports Network at 10 p.m. ET. FW: Gleristone “Toninho Furia” Santos (25-4) vs. Alvin Robinson (13-7) The first bout of the main card pits 25-year-old Brazilian Gleristone Santos against UFC veteran Alvin “Kid” Robinson. Santos has never competed outside of his native Brazil, but he has racked up 25 wins with 14 finishes thus far in his career. However, he’s lost to every significant name he’s faced. He was submitted by UFC veteran Carlo Prater and knocked out by Bellator’s Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. The Brazilian Top Team product has shown finishing ability both on the feet and the mat, but his 11 wins on the scorecards show that he’s capable of grinding out victories, too. Robinson has fought on the sport’s biggest stage, but found limited success. He went 1-3 in the Octagon with losses to Kenny Florian, Nate Diaz and Mark Bocek. Since then, the Colorado-based fighter has dropped to featherweight, but with mixed results. Robinson is a submission ace, as evidenced by 12 of his 13 wins coming via tapout. However, he has struggled against top-level competition, even outside the UFC. He has dropped fights to Bellator’s Daniel Straus, former UFC competitor Cameron Dollar and WEC alum Anthony Morrison. Both fighters have feasted on lesser competition, but struggled against the sport’s upper echelon. Robinson has faced the tougher tests in his career, but Santos has more fights and youth on his side. Given Robinson’s struggles with consistency, especially since his UFC stint, look for Santos to take this one on the scorecards. WW: Gilbert Smith (8-2) vs. Brian Foster (21-6) This welterweight contest between Gilbert Smith and Brian Foster likely will serve as a stepping stone to another shot in the UFC for one of these two fighters. Smith came up short in his attempt to win The Ultimate Fighter 17, and he was submitted in his lone UFC appearance following the reality show. Since that time, Smith has picked up three straight wins. Now training at Factory X Muay Thai/MMA just outside Denver, Smith has also dropped from middleweight to the 170-pound division. He is a powerful grappler with excellent submission skills. His striking is a work in progress, but he has a strong chin that affords him the ability to take chances and close the distance. Foster’s journey is one of the craziest in all of MMA. There was a brain hemorrhage, a ruptured testicle and years away from the sport just trying to gain medical clearance. The good news for the 30-year-old welterweight is that he’s put all that behind him. Foster is the definition of a “go big or go home” fighter. In his 27-fight career, he’s never seen the scorecards. Along the way, he has scored nine knockouts and 12 submission wins, including one over current UFC star Matt Brown. This is a great match-up. Foster is certainly the more well-rounded fighter, but his weakness lies in his submission defense, which is where Smith thrives. Look for some wild scrambles on the mat, but ultimately, Foster’s punching power and experience are going to be too much for Smith to handle. Foster by third-round TKO in what could be the “Fight of the Night.” WW: Daniel Roberts (14-5) vs. Brock Jardine (9-3) This fight will be a clash of UFC alums looking to get back in the win column at the other’s expense. Daniel “Ninja” Roberts is a grappling expert fighting of the Cesar Gracie fight team in northern California. The 33-year-old doesn’t offer much in the stand-up game, but he’s lethal on the mat, as his 11 career submission wins would indicate. A three-fight skid cost him his spot on the UFC roster, but he rebounded nicely with back-to-back submission wins, including one over UFC and Bellator veteran Brian Foster. However, he fell via split decision to recent Bellator tournament competitor Justin Baesman in his last outing. This contest marks Brock Jardine’s first bout since he was released from the big show. “The Machine” is a well-rounded product fighting out the Pit Elevated in Utah. Jardine managed to go the distance with welterweight division staple Rick Story in his Octagon debut, but he was submitted by Kenny Robertson in his next outing. He has been out of action for the last year. His other loss came at the hands of current UFC fighter Tony Ferguson. Without question, Jardine is the more accomplished striker of the two, but he lacks the experience and takedown defense to fend off Roberts for a full three rounds. Ninja is a dynamic grappler and he’ll show that in this fight when he puts Jardine to sleep with a first-round rear-naked choke. HW: DJ Linderman (15-7) vs. Walt Harris (5-3) If there’s a theme to this event, it’s redemption. Like many of the night’s competitors, both D.J. Linderman and Walt Harris are on losing streaks and will be hoping to put those in the past. Linderman may be one of the biggest enigmas in the sport. Bouncing between heavyweight and light heavyweight, the Bellator, World Series of Fighting, Legacy FC and Cage Warriors veteran has the skills to hang with almost anyone, but he doesn’t always show up in fights he should win. While losing to the likes of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Robert Drysdale is no shame, his two most recent defeats to Richard Odoms and Michal Kita are a big red flag. Harris, meanwhile, is still very raw as a fighter. After entering the UFC with a record of 5-1 with five first-round stoppages, he fizzled under the bright lights. After a big first round against Jared Rosholt, Harris’ gas tank ran dry and he was easily controlled by the big wrestler. Then, in his second appearance, Nikita Krylov destroyed him in just 25 seconds. This fight will come down to one thing: cardio. Linderman is nearly impossible to put away (only the aforementioned Johnson and Drysdale have stopped him) and Harris looked thoroughly exhausted after a single round against Rosholt. Linderman may not have the skill set to challenge the sport’s elite, but he’s tough enough to weather Harris’s early storm and stop him late in the fight with ground-and-pound. HW: Dave Herman (21-6) vs. Kalib Starnes (16-8-1) The night’s co-main event will feature two fighters headed in very different directions. Dave Herman will make his Titan debut riding a four-fight losing streak in the UFC. The Canadian Kalib Starnes, on the other hand, is on a four-fight winning streak that includes three stoppages. At just 29 years of age, Herman is still young and his career is far from done. However, another loss would set him back significantly. The 6-foot-5 Indiana native loves to stand and trade. He has scored 17 wins by strikes, but he’s also been stopped four times, including three of his last four fights. However, those losses came against Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and Gabriel Gonzaga—all top-15 fighters. Herman also possesses a solid ground game, but his preference is to stand. Starnes will forever be remembered for his bizarre performance against Nate Quarry at UFC 83 which led to his release from the promotion. Since then, Starnes has largely competed at light heavyweight and heavyweight. He’s gone 8-5 since his release, with all five losses coming against current or former big-show veterans. At age 39, Starnes could be facing his last chance to help fans erase the memory of his “running man” impression. This fight will feature a significant size discrepancy. Although Herman will only have two inches in height over Starnes, he’s simply a bigger fighter. Herman’s biggest problem against top-level talent was a willingness to brawl and the lack of discipline to tuck his chin. He’s the more talented fighter, but if he sleeps on Starnes, he could easily fall for a fifth consecutive time. Starnes’ recent success is a nice, feel-good story, but two streaks are going to come to an end on Friday night. Herman by first-round TKO. LHW: Jason Brilz (21-5-1) vs. Raphael Davis (13-2) In the main event of the evening, former UFC combatant Jason Brilz looks to score a fourth straight win when he squares off with Bellator and M-1 Global veteran Raphael Davis. Brilz was dropped from the UFC after suffering three straight losses, including two in a row via knockout. The Nebraskan fighter has rebounded by picking up three straight victories on the regional circuit, including a decision win over The Ultimate Fighter alum Josh Bryant. Brilz is a gritty fighter with a strong grappling game. He doesn’t do anything great, but if he’s able to avoid a firefight on the feet, he’s able to implement smothering top control and crafty submission attacks. Davis has the unfortunate distinction of being known more for something outside of the cage than his accomplishments inside of it. He was involved in a messy workmen’s compensation situation in 2012. The Californian will aim to put that behind him with a win over Brilz. Davis has largely flown under the radar throughout his career, despite finishing UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes and current Bellator champion Emanuel Newton. Twelve of his 13 wins have come inside the distance. Training out of Reign MMA, he possesses a solid grappling base, but also packs enough power to finish fights with his fists. During his current three-fight winning streak, he has stopped all three opponents via strikes. The winner of this fight has a good chance to move on to the UFC in one of the promotion’s shallowest divisions. If Brilz can get this fight to the ground early and often, his grinding style could wear on Davis and earn him a return trip to the Octagon. However, Davis’s ability to end a fight standing will be the difference in this one as he exposes Brilz’s below-average striking defense and earns a second-round knockout. CBS Sports Prelims LW: David Nelson (1-2) vs. Gaston Reyno (0-0) Not a lot of MMA fans have heard of Uruguay native Gaston “Tonga” Reyno…yet. The 27-year-old fighter, who now trains in Kansas City, is an explosive striker who will look to make David Nelson part of his highlight reel. Nelson is primarily a grappler and will give up both height and reach to Reyno in this contest. Look for Tonga to waste little time peppering Nelson with leg kicks before setting up a fight-finishing head kick late in round one. FlyW: Pedro Nobre (15-1-2) vs. Dan O’Connor (5-1) Pedro Nobre’s lone UFC appearance went very poorly. Fighting at bantamweight against top-10 combatant Yuri Alcantara, the Brazilian was battered for two minutes. Nobre complained to the referee that an illegal strike caused the finish and the fight was declared a no-contest. UFC brass disagreed, and Nobre was subsequently released by the promotion. He bounced back in July with a TKO win, and now he’ll face off with Missouri’s Dan O’Connor. O’Connor has a solid ground game, but the 31-year-old faces a significant experience disadvantage in both quantity and quality of fights. Nobre scores a first-round TKO over the American. BW: Walel Watson (11-7) vs. William Joplin (9-8) This bantamweight match-up features UFC veteran Walel Watson and Resurrection Fighting Alliance alim William Joplin, two fighters who have primarily found success on the mat. Watson, despite his towering 5-foot-11 frame, struggled inside the UFC. The 29-year-old has gone just 2-5 in his last seven outings, including his Octagon stint. When he’s on his game, he is a finisher. He stopped his opponent in all 11 of his career victories. However, despite his ground prowess, he is a fish out of water on his back. He has been submitted three times and could not mount much offense from his back against the likes of T.J. Dillashaw and Mitch Gagnon. Joplin has gone through one of the biggest career turnarounds in recent memory. After starting his career an abysmal 2-8, the Missouri product reeled off seven straight wins to get back above the .500 mark. Although he hasn’t faced the level of competition that Watson saw in the UFC, he has battled UFC vet Pablo Garza, former RFA champion Jared Downing and current RFA contender Mark Dickman. Unfortunately, he lost all of those bouts. During his current streak, though, he has stopped five opponents and recently picked a win inside the RFA cage. Joplin is durable, having been stopped just once in his eight defeats. This fight comes down to whether Watson can overwhelm Joplin early with his height and reach. Joplin has competed at lightweight in the past and has the ability to put Watson on his back and grind him out. Look for Joplin to do just that and take home the decision win. Unaired Prelims MW: Wayne Cole (16-22) vs. Tyler Minton (5-1) There’s not much to say about Wayne Cole. He’s essentially the middleweight version of Bob Sapp at this point in his career. Despite some big wins in the past, he’s now 43 years old and on a 10-fight losing streak in which he’s been finished in every fight. This is simply a way of getting Tyler Minton another win. Minton by first-round guillotine choke. FlyW: Archie Lowe (5-4) vs. Robert Madrid (2-1) Archie Lowe tends to live and die on the mat, whereas Robert Madrid prefers to finish with his hands. Although Madrid is the older of the two, Lowe is the more experienced. Look for Lowe to use that experience advantage to coerce a tap in the second round via armbar. LHW: John Bryant (7-5) vs. Matt Foster (6-5) This fight pairs two fighters in need of a win. Matt Foster last fought in March as a heavyweight against UFC veteran Jon Madsen and was knocked out in under a minute. Foster doesn’t have any one skill that makes him stand out, but he is well-rounded. John Bryant, meanwhile, has spent a large portion of his career at middleweight. He has struggled against high-level competition, including UFC veterans Jake Rosholt and Danillo Villefort. Bryant has never seen the scorecards, and while he’s a power puncher, he’s susceptible to submissions. Foster will be the bigger fighter, and he will put Bryant on his back and finish him with strikes late in round two.