The most ambitious tournament in Strikeforce history is only hours away with the start of Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva.
There will be two quarterfinal matches tonight (Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva, and Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov) and two more quarterfinal matches at the April 9 event (Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem, and Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett).
Going into the tournament there are three guys who stand out above the rest: Fedor, Overeem and Werdum. Those three men are by far the three best heavyweight fighters in Strikeforce, and three of the top heavyweight fighters in the world.
There is one man among that group who should stand out as the clear favorite going into this tournament, and that man is Fabricio Werdum.
Some cases can be made for Fedor and Overeem, but no one presents a stronger case than Werdum. He has really elevated his game in the last three years.
Here are five reasons why Werdum will win the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament.
Werdum signed with Strikeforce in 2009. He has had three fights with the organization and hasn't lost once.
He has looked very impressive in defeating Mike Pyle, Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko in succession. His ground game in particular has improved by leaps and bounds in the last two years. He has always been a very good submission fighter, as evidenced by the black belt he holds in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Don't underestimate the power of momentum for Werdum going into this tournament.
Werdum enters this tournament as the only man to defeat Fedor Emelianenko. It was one of the most shocking victories in the history of mixed martial arts.
He also has a victory over Alistair Overeem back in 2006. He defeated the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion at the Pride openweight Grand Prix via submission. Granted that was almost five years ago, and Overeem has gotten much better as a fighter in that time, but so has Werdum.
He is the only person in this tournament to hold victories over both Fedor and Overeem.
He does have losses against Sergei Kharitonov and Andrei Arlovski, but those happened back before Werdum had developed the skills inside the cage that he has now. He would be favored against either one of those guys and would most likely defeat them.
As previously mentioned, Werdum is quite skilled in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He holds a second degree black belt, as well as black belts in Muay Thai and Judo.
There is no one in Strikeforce who is as effective using BJJ as Werdum. He is one of the top submission fighters in the world, and he knows how to use his grappling and striking effectively to set up his ground game.
He can slap a submission hold on from any position. Of his 14 victories, eight of them have come via submission.
Most fighters, as a rule, are smart.
They have some game plan or idea going into a fight, and they do everything they can to execute that plan throughout the course of a fight.
Werdum showed how smart he is in his last fight against Fedor Emelianenko. When Fedor came out swinging, Werdum took a dive. Fedor thought he had Werdum in a great position, but it was actually Werdum who had set up Fedor.
He slapped on a triangle arm bar and ended the most impressive winning streak in MMA history. That's what made that fight even more memorable, not only did he defeat Fedor, but he outsmarted him.
Werdum has a knack for taking a bad situation and being able to turn it into a positive for himself.
Watch for how he fights Overeem in their quarterfinal matchup and tell me that I am wrong.
Since we already mentioned Werdum's track record, we might as well take the next step and admit that he is the best heavyweight fighter in Strikeforce.
Sure, there are cases to be made for Fedor and Overeem, but Werdum has already defeated those two men. He's in a different class than any of the other five fighters in the tournament (Silva, Kharitonov, Barnett, Rogers and Arlovski).
What better reason is there to call Werdum the favorite going into the tournament than pointing out that he is the best of the best in the Strikeforce heavyweight division?
He will get a chance to show that to the world right out of the gate when he takes on Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem.
For the lastest news and information, check out the Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva News, Results And More page.