Strikeforce's Final Event: B/R MMA Staff Predictions for Showtime Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2013

Strikeforce's Final Event: B/R MMA Staff Predictions for Showtime Card

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    If you have cable, you can watch the last Strikeforce card for free, this Saturday on Showtime. Not only is that an important subheadline for the event, it's also a fitting farewell. Though Strikeforce itself probably had nothing to do with the timing of Showtime's complimentary weekend, it still works well as a thanks-for-the-memories kind of thing for a promotion that always seemed to make a conscious effort to be "of the people."

    The weekend also offers a chance for fans to reciprocate. It hasn't always been clean or pretty, but Strikeforce had a pretty good run. What is its lasting legacy? That will be clearer in Saturday's aftermath, when many Strikeforce contractors will emigrate for the UFC, even as others fade into Bolivian, as Mike Tyson likes to say.

    Saturday's card would appear to include a good cross section from both camps. Will upsets ensue, or is this one all chalk? In these very slides, Jonathan Snowden, John Heinis, McKinley Noble, Sean Smith, Kyle Symes and I will break down each fight and offer a prediction. May the best man win. Meaning me. 

Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo Souza

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    Jonathan Snowden: So, Ed Herman was in camp with Chris Leben before the "Cat Smasher's" last UFC fight. Considering Leben appeared to have walking pneumonia, that doesn't seem like a good thing for the former The Ultimate Fighter star.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 1

    John Heinis: A high-risk, high-reward fight for Herman. His high-pressure, in-your-face style may be enough to steal a round, but "Jacare" is one of the best submission grapplers out there, so Herman will not be able to keep up on the ground.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 3

    McKinley Noble: Herman got a raw deal in the Jake Shields fight, but Souza is going to present a whole new world of problems. At least with Shields, you didn't have to worry about getting submitted out of the blue. "Jacare" not only brings superior submission grappling to the table, but now it's also compounded by a sudden spike in his striking ability.

    Souza, TKO, Rd. 1

    Sean Smith: Herman's scrappy fighting style has earned him a lengthy tenure with the world's biggest MMA promotion, but his greatest strengths are on the ground, and that is where Souza is possibly better than any other middleweight in the world. Though Herman is one of the better grapplers Souza has seen in MMA, the Brazilian is still going to find a way to secure a submission at some point in this fight to make a statement against a UFC veteran.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 2

    Kyle Symes: Fans will be anticipating some great grappling exchanges between these two men, but I see this fight playing out more on the feet. "Jacare" Souza has been improving his striking game and Ed Herman isn't afraid to trade punches. Although I think this fight plays out more on the feet than people are anticipating, I still see "Jacare" securing a victory by tap out.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 2 

    Scott Harris: I picked Herman to upset Jake Shields, then watched in horror as Herman deliberately tried to grapple with him, even after showing a little bit of escapability. I'm not picking Ed Herman again.

    Souza, Unanimous Decision

Mike Kyle vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Jonathan Snowden: There is no reason to expect that Mousasi will lose this fight, except for the fact that this is Strikeforce and weird things happen in Strikeforce.

    Kyle, KO, Rd. 1

    John Heinis: Kyle has outstanding one-punch knockout power, but has little else to offer with a questionable chin and spotty submission defense. Mousasi is a far more technical striker and his jiu-jitsu is worlds ahead of what Kyle has to offer.

    Mousasi, Submission, Rd. 2

    McKinley Noble: Holy crap—Mousasi hasn't fought in an entire year. That's a travesty for a guy who could still make a run at the top level of the light heavyweight division. Unfortunately for him, Kyle is no easy win, and Mousasi is going to have to make sure he doesn't gas out under the pressure.

    Mousasi, TKO, Rd. 2

    Sean Smith:  Mousasi will have to weather the early storm that Kyle is going to bring at him, but the former Strikeforce champion is the more technical fighter in all areas. He has the ability to pick Kyle apart on his feet or quickly lock up a submission should he force a desperation takedown attempt.

    Mousasi, Submission, Rd. 1

    Kyle Symes: Mousasi said a few weeks ago on  The MMA Hour that he finally feels like he's actually training for a fight which is kind of scary because he was always a very talented fighter. Mike Kyle is tough in his own right but I don't think he has the skills to hang with Mousasi on the feet and the ground game to take him down.

    Mousasi, TKO, Rd. 2

    Scott Harris: This might be my most anticipated bout on the card. Mike Kyle is a cagey veteran. He hits hard. He fights dirty. On the other side, Mousasi finally seems serious about his MMA career. Kyle is a perfect litmus test for that commitment, and I'm betting Mousasi passes.

    Mousasi, TKO, Rd. 2


Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino

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    Jonathan Snowden: Allow me to argue both sides of this fight.

    Point: Josh Barnett looked 300 years old in his fight against Daniel Cormier. 

    Counterpoint: Who is Nandor Guelmino?

    Barnett, Submission, Rd. 1

    John Heinis: Since most people reading this haven't seen a picture of Nandor Guelmino, he looks like a younger, bizarro-world version of Jeff Monson. That's about all I have to say about him, Barnett is just a better fighter in every aspect of the game.

    Barnett, Submission, Rd. 3

    McKinley Noble: Checkered past aside, Barnett has beaten some legit monsters in his day. If anything, I was actually impressed that he managed to go the distance with Cormier. Expect him to stick it to the UFC with a dominant, calculated win over the older Guelmino, whose level of competition hasn't been nearly as impressive.

    Barnett, Submission, Rd. 1

    Sean Smith: I really hope Guelmino and Dion Staring are given a shot to prove themselves inside the Octagon, because they're not as bad as they're going to look on Saturday. Barnett is certainly not the type to take pity on inferior competition, and he'll be auditioning for a UFC roster spot, so things could get ugly in hurry for his opponent.

    Barnett, TKO, Rd. 1

    Kyle Symes: With Dana White's personal vendetta against him, Josh Barnett knows he has nothing to lose. I see the former UFC champion going out there and putting on a show against an overmatched Nandor Guelmino, who has faced very little stiff competition and is also 37 years old. Barnett will get the takedown and add another tap out to his collection.

    Barnett, Submission, Rd. 1

    Scott Harris: I didn't know who Nandor Guelmino was. Hilariously, just like Heinis I looked him up and concluded that he is, indeed, a poor man's Jeff Monson. Josh Barnett once beat the real Jeff Monson, didn't he? Oh, he did? No further questions, your honor.

    Barnett, Unanimous Decision


Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring

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    Jonathan Snowden: Poor Dion Staring. Even Cormier feels sorry for him. The world has basically said "Dion Staring, you've been brought in to lose." And, as awful as the world is sometimes, in this case, the third planet is right. Staring deserves to be a -10,000 underdog and will lose in spectacular fashion.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 1

    John Heinis: This is an abomination of a match up, but the one positive is that is shows how good Cormier since a bunch of notable heavyweights don't want to fight him. Staring has a snowball's chance on his feet...but this fight will only occur there for as long as "DC" wants.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

    McKinley Noble: Staring's massive experience edge and high finishing rate are the only things that worry me here, but then again, I just watched Daniel Cormier beat the stuffing out of Josh Barnett and Bigfoot Silva. For those who don't know, Staring is also Alistair Overeem's sparring partner. Although I'm not smelling an upset, it'll be interesting to be just how long he lasts against a fast, stocky, elite wrestler like Cormier.

    Cormier, Unanimous Decision

    Sean Smith: Let's be real. This is a waste of Cormier's time and energy. The only positive that can be drawn is that it may give him a chance to show off his jiu-jitsu for the first time before getting a serious fight under the UFC banner.

    Cormier, Submission, Rd. 1

    Kyle Symes: Daniel Cormier is the resounding favorite in this fight and for good reason. I don't believe Staring will have anything to offer Cormier in this contest, but I worry about Cormier fighting a safe fight rather than looking for the finish. He could be lined up to face Jon Jones after this bout and at worst will be considered one of the top heavyweights/light heavyweights once he moves over to the UFC. With so much on the line, will Cormier look for the finish or play it safe? I'm hoping for an explosive finish but could see Cormier using his wrestling to grind out a decision.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

    Scott Harris: The biggest mismatch on a card replete with them. I heard Staring on an interview a while back in which told the host, and I'm paraphrasing here, "even I don't have much faith in myself." 

    Cormier, unanimous decision

Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine

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    Jonathan Snowden: This fight is more intriguing than most give it credit for. Saffiedine is one of those anonymous but super-tough guys that just lurk all around the Strikeforce promotion, waiting to knock off a better known fighter. He'll have his day—but this won't be it.

    Marquardt, Unanimous Decision

    John Heinis: Saffiedine is a pretty good grappler, but Nate isn't going to get subbed or ridden out from the top position for five rounds. He is also a way better striker, so this is just another tune-up fight for "The Great."

    Marquardt, TKO, Rd. 2

    McKinley Noble: Do you know who's going to be the real loser in this fight? Johny Hendricks. After Marquardt sets a comfortable pace and beats Saffiedine to an inch of his life, he'll probably waltz into a title shot against the winner of Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz.

    Marquardt, Unanimous Decision

    Sean Smith: Saffiedine is a tough, well-rounded welterweight who deserves a shot in the UFC regardless of the outcome of this matchup. He's just not quite ready for an elite opponent like Marquardt, though. Marquardt bests Saffiedine in all areas and moves on to fight the winner of an upcoming bout between Jon Fitch and Demian Maia.

    Marquardt, Unanimous Decision

    Kyle Symes: I like Tarec Saffiedine. I think he's a good prospect but he's just that, a prospect. Marquardt is a tough veteran and had he not gone through the whole TRT issue would no doubt still be in the Octagon. I believe Saffiedine will be game on the feet but in the end, Marquardt's ground game and coaching make the difference here.

    Marquardt, Unanimous Decision


    Scott Harris: The Strikeforce Liquidation Sale culminates with the main event. This will be less competitive than, uh, something like a bidding war at a garage sale over some old underwear. Gently used, my good eyeball.

    Marquardt, Unanimous Decision