By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Strikeforce returns to Showtime on Saturday night from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and they’ve got one hell of a fight card on tap for fans. Though Fedor Emelianenko has lost his last two fights, he is still the greatest heavyweight fighter the sport has seen thus far. He’s reaching the end of his rope, but it may not be over just yet. In taking on a fellow longtime veteran and legend in his own right in Dan Henderson, this is a fight that is simply a fantastic meeting between two greats in this sport. Throw in a great women’s title fight, a middleweight meeting between the two previous title challengers and a pair of welterweight fights sure to deliver fireworks, and this is a great card. Here’s what’s on tap for the Showtime broadcast:
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson (Heavyweight)
Despite suffering two straight losses, Fedor Emelianenko enters this fight as the realistic favorite. He’s got a very significant size advantage, his grappling game matches up well with Henderson’s, as does his striking game, and he’s the better submission fighter as well.
But Henderson enters the fight off of two straight knockout losses and finishes in three of his last four. Those have come against a middleweight and a couple of light heavyweights, but all the same, Henderson is riding one of the best runs of his career.
There are certainly reasons to believe both fighters can win this fight. Henderson, if he employs the right game plan, can absolutely put Emelianenko on his back and utilize his ground and pound game while defending submission attempts to earn a decision. With the punishment Fedor absorbed in his fights against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Brett Rogers, it’s also reasonable to see Henderson being able to drop him with his big overhand right.
On the other side, if Henderson takes Emelianenko down, he very likely could trap Henderson in a submission. If Henderson fails to take Fedor down, Fedor could batter Henderson on the feet himself. Henderson has never been stopped by strikes, so that would more than likely lead to a decision win for “The Last Emperor.”
Regardless of the size difference, this is a very close fight that has a number of possible outcomes. It comes down to which finish you think might be the most realistic, and it comes down to a coin flip for me. I can see just about any outcome happening, save Henderson being knocked out and Emelianenko being submitted, but at the end of the day I don’t think Fedor’s done just yet.
PREDICTION: Emelianenko via submission in the second round
Marloes Coenen vs. Meisha Tate (Women’s 135 lb. Championship)
This is a really good women’s matchup. Coenen has the advantage coming in with it being a five round fight and Tate having been out of action since last August, but that doesn’t mean Tate’s not a very dangerous title challenger.
This is a fight in which Coenen will be put on her back quite often, as Tate is a very good wrestler with the ability to pass and land strikes on the ground. That said, Coenen is comfortable in that position for the most part, as her submission skills allow her to continuously attack and more often than not she’s able to catch her opponent.
In 19 victories, Coenen has only reached the judges scorecards twice, and only two other fights of hers have gone the distance. With 25 minutes to work with, Tate is going to need to avoid being submitted and/or she’s going to need to find a way to stop Coenen, which is not something that’s easily done.
Tate can strike well enough with Coenen, and I think she’ll be comfortable enough to exchange with her on their feet, but the key for her in this fight will be not only getting the defending Champion to the ground but finishing her with strikes. She’s going to need to be aggressive, and she’s going to need to be wary of what Coenen is doing on the ground. If she can do that, she may just walk out with the title around her waist.
This is a really, really tough fight to call, because while Tate has all the tools to defeat Coenen, 25 minutes is a really long time for Coenen to be given to look for submissions. This is another pick I’m not entirely confident in, but I can see Tate being able to avoid the submissions and taking more rounds to pull off her own upset.
PREDICTION: Tate via unanimous decision
Robbie Lawler vs. Tim Kennedy (Middleweight)
Another very good matchup on this card. We’ve got Lawler returning to action for the first time since losing to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in January, while Kennedy makes a quick turn around from a March win that was his own bounce back from a loss to Souza.
Lawler’s been consistent in his inconsistency over his last six fights, alternating wins and losses dating back to EliteXC in 2008. That said, he hasn’t lost consecutive fights since 2004, and despite some poor showings in the last few years he remains as dangerous as ever at 29.
Kennedy is a supremely talented fighter with some decent striking, a fairly good wrestling game and a really good submission game. If he can put Lawler on his back and work his grappling game he absolutely can take this fight.
The problem for him comes if he can’t get Lawler down. Lawler’s got some good takedown defense, and it took Souza until the third round of their fight to really take over before locking in the submission in January. For Kennedy, if he is relegated to striking with Lawler because he can’t get him down, that’s going to mean a long night.
Kennedy is tough, though, and his only non-decision loss was due to cuts in his debut fight over a decade ago. I think he’ll be able to take what Lawler throws at him, eventually get the fight to the ground and lock in the submission.
PREDICTION: Kennedy via submission in the second round
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley (Welterweight)
This classic wrestler vs. striker matchup pits an established veteran with wins and losses against some of the top names in the sport against an up and coming welterweight taking a big leap up in competition.
Even though Daley’s takedown defense has been suspect at best throughout his career, Woodley may not realize what he’s coming up against in terms of the striking game. In order to take Daley down, Woodley’s going to need to engage and get in close, and that makes him a ripe target for the Brit.
Woodley is capable of grinding out a couple of rounds in this fight, but Daley has such an advantage in the striking department, and Woodley isn’t on the level of fighters like Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields who have been able to control Daley on the ground. Ultimately, the experience edge and jump up in competition works in Daley’s favor, and I see him giving Woodley a rude welcome to the top end of the division.
PREDICTION: Daley via TKO in the first round
Scott Smith vs. Tarec Saffiedine (Welterweight)
It might be impossible to dislike Scott Smith, which makes it hard to see him step into the cage again after the amount of punishment he’s taken just in the last three years, let alone the rest of his career.
Saffiedine may only have one knockout on his record, but it was a hell of a knockout over Nate Moore last year, and if he hits Smith in the body or the head with that type of force, it’s going to be another rough night for the Smith family.
At the same time, despite being finished a number of times, it takes a lot to put Smith away. He’s got a scary and ridiculous ability to fight through strikes that would finish most fighters, and he’s got a number of insane come from behind victories that attest to that. But when he’s seriously hurt in each of his last five fights, even though he’s come back to win two of them, it makes the prospect of this fight scary.
Ultimately, Saffiedine is more than capable of setting the pace, hurting Smith and keeping him on the defensive. I don’t know that he’s got the killer instinct necessarily to finish Smith before Smith can recover, but I think he’ll be able to do more than enough damage through three rounds to take the fight.
PREDICTION: Saffiedine via unanimous decision
In a tightly contested women’s battle, Miesha Tate captured the Strikeforce bantamweight title with a fourth round submission of Marloes Coenen. Tate used her strength and wrestling to pressure and control the champion. After a first round dominated by Tate, Coenen had her opponents back for most of the second round as she tirelessly worked [...]Learn More
^^^I posted the pics but read the article for the full story.
This is a bizarre position for Scott Coker. The Strikeforce CEO is technically under the umbrella of Zuffa. In a recent interview with SI.com, Dana White swore up and down that he has absolutely no hand in decisions with Strikeforce. Yet when you watch or listen to Coker talking about the future of his fighters and future cards, there seems to be a hesitance about answering questions. That could be the nature of the business or he simply can’t promise anything because its out of his hands.
Coker did a 12-minute interview with AOL.com and had some interesting takes on what comes down the road for Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko. A small part of the convo revolved around Alistair Overeem and his future with Strikeforce.
“I mean that’s something we’re going to sit down with his manager Bas [Boon] and have a conversation about,” said Coker (8:00 mark).
That’s not a yes or a no, but it seemed pretty curt. White recently said Overeem is definitely sticking around so it was odd for Coker to ride the fence on the question.
Coker also explained that Overeem sort of forced the bold move in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix. When the Strikeforce heavyweight champ and tourney favorite said he was out for a fight on Sept. 10, Strikeforce had no choice but to replace him.
“We’ve been very good to Alistair. We’ve been very patient. It just didn’t work out,” Coker said. “If we could’ve took this fight to October or November we definitely would’ve done it.”
Coker said between the busy UFC schedule, Showtime’s boxing slate, the Floyd Mayweather fight in November and MLB’s World Series, there weren’t many dates that made sense.
On other matters, Coker said Fedor vs. Hendo is not a make or break fight for either fighter’s future with Strikeforce. Even with a Henderson loss, he definitely wants to keep Henderson around. He’s jazzed about Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate being the first female title fight under the Zuffa banner. Coenen was a no-show at the Thursday press conference. Coker joked that he had no idea what happened calling it a “makeup issue or breakfast issue or wardrobe malfunction.”
Click on This ^^^ its pretty badass
finally, a nerd using his time making something worthwhileLearn More
Fight Network previews Strikforce’s heavyweight Grand Prix featuring Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers taking place on June 18, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.Learn More
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Jeff Curran will return to compete in the Octagon after a seven year absence. Curran will square off against bantamweight title challenger Scott Jorgensen at UFC 137 on October 29th. Curran (33-13-1) lost fought in the UFC when he dropped a decision to Matt Serra at UFC 46 in [...]Learn More
Strikeforce Fedor vs. Henderson Weigh-in Video is a post from: MMA Interplay UFC NewsLearn More
? The July 22 episode of WWE SmackDown! scored a 1.89 (1.9) cable rating, the program?s best mark since May 20?also a 1.89. SmackDown! had not scored in the 1.80 range since May 27, with the number fluctuating between 1.63 and 1.77 during that time. Friday?s show averaged 2,821,000 viewers over the course of two hours.
? WWE.com has added Jim Ross to the RAW roster after ?Chief Operating Officer? Triple H reintroduced the WWE Hall of Famer to the RAW announce booth last night on RAW.
? On the WWEShop.com website, …
There are two Quinton Jacksons. The boisterous, cocky “Rampage” who showed up at the UFC 135 press conference on Tuesday in Denver and hypersensitive, delicate Jackson who lashes out like a youngster if he’s criticized or called on the carpet.
We saw a great example of that when he threatened to quit MMA in late 2009 claiming he was being mistreated and used by the UFC. That came roughly 14 months after UFC management bailed him out and stuck with him after a bizarre driving rampage in Southern California.
This week, in between dropping some epic trash talk on young Jon Jones, Jackson flipped out on Randy Couture. What did Couture do? The retired UFC legend had the nerve to pick against Jackson in his last fight!
A Twitter war unfolded between the 33-year-old Jackson and Couture, 48.
Here’s the video where Couture hurt Jackson’s feelings:
Jackson wore Xtreme Couture/Affliction gear during his walkout at UFC 114x in May of 2010. It sounds like he’s suggesting Couture’s “anti-Jackson” picks are motivated by Rampage changing apparel providers.
Twitter graphic via USA TodayLearn More
We’re in hot & Humid Chicago for this weekend and the photos are up! The card looks to be pretty exciting, so what are your picks?? Fedor or Hendo? Miesha or Marloes? Kennedy or Lawler? Daley vs Woodley? Saffiedine vs Smith? Click the link or photo to view the pics! http://www.combatlifestyle.com/pics/view_album.php?id=2718 Incoming search terms:fedor weigh [...]Learn More
ProElite Inc. (former owners of the famously flawed Elite XC) have decided to try their hand at promoting mixed martial arts once again. After unsuccessfully bidding against the UFC for the rights to Strikeforce, the company has decided to open promotions once again, this time with an August 28 event taking place at the Blais dell [...]
Strikeforce fighters make their prediction for the upcoming heavyweight clash between MMA legends Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson on Saturday, July 30th. Strikeforce fighters pick Fedor vs. Henderson is a post from: MMA Interplay UFC NewsLearn More
British bantamweight Vaughan Lee is the latest addition to the UFC, and he’ll debut at November’s UFC 138 event.
UFC officials today announced that Lee has signed on for the card, which takes place on Nov. 5 at LG Arena at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England.
Lee’s opponent was not disclosed.
<B>By MATT MOLGAARD<BR>
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer</B><BR><BR>
The sport of mixed martial arts is unforgiving, financially unrewarding for most, and in all honesty, extremely dangerous. Far more fighters flounder on the local circuit and destroy their bodies for embarrassing paychecks than succeed in this business. It?s a sad truth that?s been attached to combat sports for too long to track.<BR><BR>
Having said all that, some guys run into miracle breaks and genuinely lucky opportunities. Some even reach the summit, obtaining fortune and a fair degree of fame. This particular piece isn?t about those guys however, as it sounds so much more entertaining to focus on gentlemen who have run smack-dab into the face of wretched luck.<BR><BR>
<B>Corey Hill:</B> Corey?s had a tough go of things, especially for a man who hasn?t even competed professionally for five years. The 6?4? lightweight looked promising during his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter, and even managed to earn a contract with the UFC.<BR><BR>
Things still looked up for the notoriously hard worker, until he turned his leg into a silly-straw against Dale Hartt at UFC Fight for the Troops in 2008. The broken leg not only sidelined Hill for over a year, it earned him a default pink slip from promotional brass. Since the hideous leg injury Hill has competed just four times, and he?s failed to capitalize on the early career momentum he once possessed.<BR><BR>
A victory over Kit Cope remains Corey?s greatest accomplishment; Tough luck for a good prospect.<BR><BR>
<B>Kazushi Sakuraba:</B> ?The Gracie Hunter? kicked off his career with a 12-2-1-1 record prior to running into Wanderlei Silva at Pride 13, where Sakuraba was brutalized in just over 90 seconds. It was a career changing moment for the significantly smaller man, who never again regained the foothold he once held on MMA.<BR><BR>
Sakuraba has since continued to clash with bigger men, usually resulting in losing efforts. The Japanese superstar has compiled a 14-12-0-1 record since.<BR><BR>
<B>Ricco Rodriguez:</B> Rodrigues has never truly fallen off the mat, despite being embarrassed by Tim Sylvia after fighting his way to the top of the UFC?s heavyweight division in 2002. That said, he?s had some terrible luck since: he?s blown up to an obnoxious size (though he?s since lost the weight, and even gone as far as to trim down significantly), embarrassed himself on national television (check out the first season of Celebrity Rehab), lost multiple fights to inferior competition, rediscovered the passion that enabled him to excel earlier in his career, only to shunned by numerous top-tier promotions.<BR><BR>
While we?ll likely never see Rodriguez return to the UFC, he did recently sign a contract with Bellator Fighting Championships, which could signal a long overdue break for the still-dangerous soon-to-be 34 year old.<BR><BR><!–more-break–>
<B>Matt Hamill:</B> Hamill?s placement on this list has nothing to do with the fact that he?s deaf; if anything, that makes him more endearing to the casual crowd. No, Matt earns a place on this list for a number of other reasons.<BR><BR>
It all began at UFC 75, when Matt collided with brash Brit, Michael Bisping and was (arguably) robbed by the judges. One year distanced from that fight Hamill was tapped to collide with friend and former champion Rich Franklin, who outclassed Hamill with ease. The luster was fading, but the ugliness wasn?t over yet.<BR><BR>
Roughly one year after the Franklin fight, Hamill was regaining his momentum. Stoppage victories over Mark Munoz and Reese Andy earned the TUF veteran a fight with fellow prospect Jon ?Bones? Jones. The fight didn?t go well for Hamill, as Jones brutalized the stellar wrestler before being disqualified for landing a series of illegal elbows.<BR><BR>
Two more wins followed for Hamill (including a unanimous decision over former trainer and light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz) before once again being derailed (this time) by Quinton ?Rampage? Jackson in his last outing.<BR><BR>
In just four years Hamill has had a victory wrongfully stolen from him by judges, been mauled by two former champions and was completely embarrassed by the soon-to-be champion. It?s not the worst run of luck in the sport?s history, but it sure as hell isn?t the best either.<BR><BR>
<B>Karo Parisyan:</B> Ah, Karo, Karo, Karo? Mr. Parisyan was once considered a top five welterweight. The outspoken UFC veteran was once poised, and promised a title shot against then-champion Matt Hughes. An injury wiped the fight off the slate, permanently. It was all downhill from there, as Karo has battled drug addiction, weight issues, training inconsistencies and, what is likely a permanent set of walking papers from the world?s largest MMA promotion.<BR><BR>
<B>Andrei Arlovski:</B> In 2005, then-champion Andrei Arlovski held the world in his hand. Fast forward just four years and Arlovski has come apart at the seams. Not only has the former champ left the ranks of the UFC, he?s been completely betrayed by his chin, and subsequently matched against notorious heavy hitters Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov, consecutively. Fedor, Brett and Sergei all left the brittle Belarusian unconscious inside the five minute mark. Now that?s tough luck.<BR><BR>
<B>Chuck Liddell:</B> Liddell and Arlovski?s careers share numerous similarities; both have been dominant champions, both have earned reputations as terrifying strikers, and both have seen their ability to take a punch take a vacation.<BR><BR>
Liddell will likely be remembered as the most famous face of the sort for many years to come. Sadly, his chin went south after Rashad Evans turned it into a pile of mush at UFC 88.<BR><BR>
The former top pound-for-pound considerate finished his career with five losses in his final six outings; four of those five defeats saw the fight waved off, with Chuck deep asleep on the canvas. It was indeed an unfit and unlucky twist of fate for the insanely popular Liddell.<BR><BR><!–more-break–>
<B>Matt Lindland:</B> Not only has Matt Lindland never really been a ?company man?, he never really had the chance to reach his full potential. The standout wrestler has (been one of the very few, who) knocked himself out cold, been submitted twice in one fight (see his title bid against Murilo Bustamante), been blitzed by virtual unknown (David Terrell), seen the sport evolve beyond his personal limitations, and was on the receiving end of two of the sport?s most brutal knockouts (by Vitor Belfort at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, and Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2).<BR><BR>
It?s been a long, unlucky ride for Lindland, who?s earned just a single victory in his last five fights. Looks like this gentleman may not even be lucky enough to end his career on a high note.<BR><BR>
<B>Murilo Bustamante:</B> Murilo has never been the luckiest guy to grace the sport. Unlike the majority of other list entrants, it?s always been about Bustamante and the judges. His fights with Chuck Liddell, Quinton ?Rampage? Jackson, Makoto Takimoto and (his second collision with) Dan Henderson are generally viewed as victories for the Brazilian by fans; it?s unfortunate the judges didn?t see what most spectators did, Murilo would probably be considered one of the greatest to compete.<BR><BR>
<B>Miles Jury:</B> I?ve got to be real with everyone here: The latest season of The Ultimate Fighter was aligned perfectly for Miles Jury. I know it, those who follow Jury know it and Dana White knows it. Unfortunately, a torn anterior cruciate ligament prevented Jury from ever even competing.<BR><BR>
While Miles may very well bounce back from the injury, and may even find himself fighting for the UFC one day, there?s a serious chance his knee injury will prevent Miles from living up to the enormous amount of hype bestowed upon him pre-TUF season 13.<BR><BR>
<B>Chad Corvin:</B> Chad Corvin is the supreme heavyweight who never was. Highly touted by 2010, Corvin signed a contract with the UFC after destroying six opponents in less than two years. But Chad?s luck would change drastically after singing his contract.<BR><BR>
Numerous injuries have kept Corvin out of commission since his last fight on February 20th, 2009. It?s been reported that a brain injury of some sort prevented medical clearance for Chad?s UFC debut, which was initially scheduled for UFC 113. Since then, Chad?s been released by the UFC, and persisting injuries have put an indefinite halt to the young prospects career. Pretty ugly luck for a man once deemed the future of the heavyweight division.<BR><BR><!–more-break–>
<B>Todd Duffee:</B> Two years ago the only two words MMA fans seemed to know were ?Todd? and ?Duffee?. Now however, the young goliath has all but disappeared from the radar.<BR><BR>
After securing an impressive seven second knockout of Tim Hague, Duffee returned at UFC 114, where he met the ever-durable Mike Russow. For twelve plus minutes Duffee abused Russow, and looked to be on his way to a clear-cut unanimous decision win. Then a Russow punch from nowhere found the chin of Duffee, and all the promise that surrounded the 25 year old was dispelled along with his senses.<BR><BR>
Since then Duffee played a detrimental role in a frequently publicized feud with UFC president Dana White (who deemed the youngster had an ?attitude problem?), which ultimately led to Duffee?s promotional release. To make things even worse, Duffee was matched against top 10 heavyweight, Alistair Overeem in his first bout since being booted by the sports leading promotion. Duffee remained in control of his senses for all of 19 seconds before Alistair Overeem found the button and turned the lights out.<BR><BR>
<B>Efrain Escudero:</B> Escudero was one of the first TUF winners to get the axe from UFC brass. After compiling a 3-2 record for the UFC, he was abruptly released from his contract. Few saw it coming, but most considered Efrain a true commodity, and expected the lightweight to continue on in his winning ways outside of the octagon.<BR><BR>
It was not to be; Escudero managed to put together three victories post-UFC, but ran into a wall when he met fellow UFC castaway Fabricio Camoes in a featured bout for Tachi Palace Fights. Camoes outhustled Escudero over three rounds to upset the favorite, and possibly earn himself another chance with the UFC somewhere down the line. Good luck for Camoes, tough luck for Escudero, who has yet to fight since.<BR><BR>
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All these people are good for is molesting little kids, assaulting the elderly and fisting the handicapped. Its retarded how people cannot even bring a bottle taken from the customer lounge on board…Learn More
With a series of shocking developments and interesting finishes, the first round of strikeforce?s World Heavyweight Grand Prix is now in the history books. Four men survived the first round: Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem. We even know what second-round fights will take place: Overeem faces Silva while [...]Learn More
Jorge Rivera has made peace with the fact that he won’t be fighting Alessio Sakara – again.
Would he agree to try once more after three meetings have been scratched for one reason or another?
“I’ll fight whoever they ask, but it will be hard to get up for that fight again,” Rivera, who now fights Constantinos Philippou at UFC 133, today told MMAjunkie.com Radio.
By <a href="mailto:email@example.com">Chris Howie</a> <Br>
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer<Br><Br>
Daniel Cormier may just be the most talked about fighter not on everybody's radar just yet but with Alistair Overeem out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and the door open for Cormier to jump into the main bracket after winning his alternate reserve bout, fans may start to recognize the undefeated rising star.<Br><Br>
8-0 in his mixed martial arts career, the former Olympian will now face Antonio Silva in the semi-finals of the tourney in September and spoke about the opportunity he has to prove himself to the world this week:<Br><Br>
"People are saying that the tournament means nothing because Overeem is out, it's the biggest thing in my life. When I first saw the tournament started, I thought it was the greatest collection of heavyweights in one bracket. I still get to fight some of the best heavyweights in the world, and if I string this together, I think it validates me as a mixed martial artist."<br><Br>
"I'm faster than he is, I'm more athletic and a better wrestler, and I think I'm a pretty decent mixed martial artist. I've gotten better to the point that I think I'm ready to compete with the best guys in the world. I won't know how far I am in this journey until I do test myself with someone like that."<br><Br>
Props: <a href=http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/cagewriter/post/Cormier-talks-about-Silva-the-Grand-Prix-and-hi?urn=mma-wp5017>Cagewriter</a><Br><Br>
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