One of the most under appreciated big MMA events I have ever seen. We may not see Strikeforce events as much anymore but this one is the real deal in terms of talent, and possible fireworks. Two titles on the line including the return of Marquardt to Zuffa, Gracie’s middleweight debut against Jardine, Larkin and Lawler going toe to toe on the feet, Pat Healy possibly earning the next title shot against Gilbert Melendez, Masvidal and Wilcox in what could be the fight of the night, and Prospects battling each other in Couture vs Duarte, Mein vs Stinson, and High vs Moore. On to the Predictions for the Main Card…..
Luke Rockhold vs Tim Kennedy
A fight that was inevitable in the Strikeforce middleweight division, and will most certainly deliver. Rockhold will look to defend his belt for the 2nd time, after defeating Keith Jardine rather easily via Strikes in his first title defense. Rockhold is a very scrappy fighter, and very well rounded. Kennedy is scrappy as well but is more so a wrestler than anything else. His gameplan is simple, take the fight to the ground, and look for the finish. While Rockhold holds the edge significantly in striking, I believe Kennedy is a better wrestler and we will see that when they fight. I think this should be a good fight but it’s possible that Kennedy will turn this into a wrestling match, and grind out a decision victory.
Tyron Woodley vs Nate Marquardt
The vacant title in the welterweight division since Nick Diaz left will finally find a home. Marquardt makes his return to Zuffa under a new weight, and has not fought in year plus. Known as one of the better middleweights in the world, Marquardt will try and re-invent himself at welterweight against the rising Woodley. Woodley, who is not a fan favorite will look to remain unbeaten and claim the title he has much loathed. Woodley is mainly a pure wrestler, and has often grinded out wins by taking down his opponents and laying on them. Marquardt who has never faired well against wrestlers, will be in a much better situation because he is not fighting someone around 200 pounds but instead around 180 (On Fight Day, of Course). Although Marquardt hasn’t fought in a year plus, and ring rust might be a factor, I haven’t seen anything impressive about Woodley to hold Marquardt down for 5 rounds. I think Marquardt will TKO Woodley sometime in the later rounds, after Woodley gasses.
Keith Jardine vs Roger Gracie
Gracie will make his middleweight debut after being brutally knocked out by King Mo at light heavyweight. Before the loss, Gracie was 4-0, all the wins via submission. Gracie is simply a grappler, and will look to take the fight to the ground where he can work his deadly submission game. Jardine will look to get his first win at middleweight since dropping down to fight the champion Luke Rockhold, where he was beat down via strikes in the first round. Although Jardine might be over the hill in his career, I still like his overall game enough to grind out a decision victory over the one dimensional Gracie. Especially considering that’s Greg Jackson’s gameplan these days. Jardine via decision.
Robbie Lawler vs Lorenz Larkin
Two dynamic strikers will enter the cage in what should be a brawl. This should be fireworks to start off the main card, in which both men always bring it. Larkin is making his middleweight debut after getting pummeled by King Mo, in which would later be overturned to a no contest (King Mo tested positive for Drostanolone). Lawler will look to build off his brutal knockout Amagov, and put together a 2 fight win streak. Lawler is simply a fan favorite because he is a striker, and a vicious one at that (Watch Lawler vs Manhoef). With knockout power in his arsenal he will look to welcome Larkin to the middleweight division. Although I like Lawler, he has many flaws. Many of which translates into losses, and which why I think he will get decision here due to Larkin being faster with better movement.