Strikeforce: Luke Rockhold vs Tim Kennedy Head to Toe Breakdown

Cody GuinnContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

Strikeforce: Luke Rockhold vs Tim Kennedy Head to Toe Breakdown

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    With so many huge UFC events going on, it's easy to forget the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship will be defended this weekend.

    Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy goes down this Saturday night live from Portland, Oregon on Showtime.

    Rockhold, 9-1, will be defending his championship for the second time coming off his first round knockout of Keith Jardine in January. 

    Kennedy, 14-3, has been calling for a title shot since he felt he was robbed against Ronaldo Souza back in August of 2010. Now, Kennedy will finally get a shot at the Strikeforce Championship.

    Before these two throwdown on Saturday, let's compare these two head-to-toe in this Strikeforce Middleweight Championship edition of the breakdown.

Striking

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    Luke Rockhold's dynamic striking was on full display during his first title defense against Keith Jardine earlier this year, as it was when he won the championship against Ronaldo Souza.

    Kennedy's striking looked improved against Lawler back in July of 2011, but definitely isn't one of his go to techniques as it is Rockhold's.

    Advantage: Luke Rockhold

Wrestling

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    Wrestling will be a key to victory for Tim Kennedy. His constant pressure is some of the best at 185 and if he can constantly have Rockhold weary of the takedowns, he'll control this fight.

    It'll be much easier said than done seeing as Rockhold was able to stay off his back against Souza, but Kennedy's pressure, as well as his pure wrestling ability, will give him the advantage here.

    Advantage: Tim Kennedy

Grappling

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    Rockhold and Kennedy are very evenly matched, but nothing is as even as the grappling game.

    Rockhold holds better grappling credentials, seeing that he is a Brown belt in BJJ and won two gold metals in the 2007 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Six of his nine MMA wins are by submission as well.

    As for Kennedy, his ability to control his opponents on the ground may give him the slight edge in this category. Seven of his 14 wins have come by submission, including wins over Trevor Prangley and Melvin Manhoef.

    Advantage: Tim Kennedy

Strength & Conditioning

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    Both men have excellent cardio and they've each been in a five round fight. I don't expect cardio to be an issue for either man in this Middleweight Championship fight.

    Rockhold and Kennedy each train out of top MMA gyms, with Rockhold coming out of the American Kickboxing Academy and Kennedy out of Greg Jackson's gym, therefore both fighters will enter this fight in more than likely the best condition of their respective careers.

    Advantage: Neither

Experience

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    Luke Rockhold is the current Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, but only holds a record of 9-1. His two marque wins are against Ronaldo Souza and Keith Jardine.

    Kennedy has an overall record of 14-3 with wins over Trevor Prangley, Melvin Manhoef, Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Robbie Lawler. Kennedy has also been in bouts with veterans Scott Smith and Ronaldo Souza.

    Advantage: Tim Kennedy

Prediction

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    While the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship isn't the UFC Middleweight Championship, a win for either man will be huge, especially if you consider that the UFC could be getting closer and closer everyday to merging the talent.

    For Rockhold, he will need to avoid the takedowns and pressure of Kennedy and keep the fight standing.

    For Kennedy, he will need to keep Rockhold close and not allow him to open up his striking, and try and drag him to the ground.

    In a close fight, I see Kennedy having his moments, but Rockhold in the end using his stand-up and reach advantage to keep Kennedy at a distance and picking up a decision win.

    Prediction: Luke Rockhold defeats Tim Kennedy by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)