|Image via Strikeforce.com|
Strikeforce Middleweight Championshp:
Luke Rockhold (c) v. Keith Jardine
Doctor Law: It’s free Showtime weekend all over the country. It’s a chance for Strikeforce to gain some new fans by showing what a great product they have. Strikeforce has decided to use this opportunity to air a card that is headlined by their relatively unknown middleweight champion defending against a UFC castoff. Nice job Coker, nice job. Luke Rockhold won the belt in mildly impressive fashion against Jacare Souza. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be terribly impressed by someone defeating a world champion in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in a kickboxing contest. Keith Jardine has never fought at middleweight, so naturally, he’s being granted a title shot. He gets dropped by left hooks…a lot. The law of large numbers says Rockhold lands a few of them. Rockhold by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: I'll admit it. I am not sold on Rockhold. A solid victory over Jacare, sure, but that alone does not make you a top 10 fighter in the division. That said, Jardine hasn't looked good in a fight in God knows how long and he is making his MW debut in a title shot. That pretty much says everything you need to know about the state of affairs in Strikeforce. Rockhold, to his credit, showed very strong stand up skills and generally everyone who has that has made Jardine look silly. Rockhold by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this is a title fight indicative of a somewhat weak division. Luke Rockhold’s win over Ronaldo Souza was shocking, but not all that impressive. Luke reminds me a lot of Frankie Edgar. Both guys just seem to outwork their opponents and seem like very beatable champions. However, Keith is making his first attempt at 185 and that makes his tank questionable. In a fight where stamina is key, I’m not going to pick the guy testing the waters at 185 for the first time. Luke by TKO via ground and pound in the 4th Round.
Lavender Gooms: This fight shows the state of the Strike Force middle weight roster. This dude Jardine hasn’t won yet with Strikeforce, is 2-5-1 in his last 7 fights (let me repeat, that’s TWO wins in his last EIGHT fights) and this is his first fight at middleweight. That truly screams #1 contender. I guess with the current middleweight roster that Strikeforce has, this is the biggest name they could get for Rockhold to fight. I have no faith in Jardine, especially a Jardine fighting at middleweight for the first time. Rockhold’s cardio and wrestling gets him the W. Rockhold by TKO in the 4th round.
Picking Rockhold: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Robbie Lawler v. Adlan Amagov
Doctor Law: Fun Robbie Lawler fact for you: His fight against Steve Berger in 2003 was the first MMA fight ever aired on cable television in the US. Not so fun Robbie Lawler fact: It doesn’t look like he is that interested in being a cage fighter anymore. Lawler is coming off of back to back losses to Jacare and Tim Kennedy and looked especially bored in the Kennedy loss. He’s taking on Amagov, a Russian standup fighter coming off a first round knockout on a Strikeforce show attended by about 45 people. I want to pick against Robbie, but it’s hard to imagine him losing a stand-up fight. He’s only been KO’d once and that was by Nick Diaz. (A third fun fact for you: Diaz kept yelling “Stockton motherf*cker!” at Robbie before that fight even started.) Lawler by 2nd round KO.
Kid Presentable: Amagov has one of the sweetest head kick finishes you will ever see in MMA. Lawler has the hands of well... Robbie Lawler. Robbie has the more proven and storied track record, but recently he has seemed to look a little disinterested in his fights. Sure, he was outsized by Babalu, but he looked straight uninspired against Kennedy and Jacare. I'm going to take a spinning hook kick's chance in hell and pick the upset here. Amagov by KO, 1st round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: The problem with predicting Stirkeforce cards is that the fights tend to be either one sided or they feature one known fighter and a relative unknown fighter. Hence the picks tend to look very similar. I’m going to shake things up and pick Adlan here. Besides just doing it to mix things up, Russian fighters tend to have really strong stand up and I don’t know how interested Robbie is in MMA anymore. Adlan by 1st round TKO.
Lavender Gooms: Who lands the heavy leather first? Lawler does and saves his job. Lawler by KO in the 1st round.
Picking Lawler: Dr. Law, Gooms
Picking Amagov: Kid P, DJ Mark
Muhammed Lawal v. Lorenz Larkin
Doctor Law: Lorenz Larkin has a big test in front of him. He has shown great standup in his fights and I’m a fan of anybody who rocks the Melvin Manhoef shorts. Unfortunately for him, King Mo is a fantastic wrestler that can put him on his back. Mo rebounded from his tough loss to Feijao by knocking the holy hell out of Roger Gracie. He’s also officially a part of AKA, the premier camp for wrestlers turned mixed martial artists. This fight will take place wherever Mo wants it to. King Mo by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: Larkin offers a really nice young LHW prospect in a division that is in big need of a youth influx. King Mo, while no spring chicken, has also been considered one of the brightest prospects in the sport. I think Larkin will have moments and show why he is someone to look out for in the future, but Mo and his elite level wrestling will be too much for him. King Mo by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: I can’t wait for this fight. I’ve been a huge King Mo fan since I first saw him fight in Sengoku years ago. King Mo is just such an awesome, entertaining and smart fighter and I really think he can shine in the sport. I hope someday he’ll fight in the UFC and the whole world will get to know who this entertaining man is. On the other hand, I’ve had my eye on Lorenz Larkin as well. He’s an extremely talented and entertaining stand up fighter, but styles make fights and King Mo’s wrestling will trump Larkin’s stand up. King Mo by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Anyone who claims to be a king is ok in my book. Larkin faces his toughest challenge in King Mo. This is a huge step up in competition to the big leagues from the Challengers series cards he has been a part of. If King Mo is smart he’ll use his wrestling to wear him down. If King Mo tries to put on a show and stand, Larkin has a shot. King Mo by TKO in 3rd round.
Picking Lawal: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Tyron Woodley v. Jordan Mein
Doctor Law: I didn’t know who Jordan Mein was before he fought Cyborg a few months ago. He looked very impressive in that victory. Woodley hasn’t lost a fight yet, but it looks like he goes out of his way to look as unimpressive as possible while winning. I still think he lost that fight to Saffiedine and he almost got omoplata’d by Paul Daley. I’m picking Mein for the upset because I want him to win…that’s clearly a recipe for success. Mein by 2nd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: Two things have been certain in Woodley fights: He is going to win the fight, but he is going to make it close. Jordan Mein showed really good standup taking apart man Cyborg in his last fight, but gassed out a bit toward the end. Fortunately for him, that tends to be Woodley's problem too. This one is going to go whoever wants to take the lead early, and will probably be ugly come the third. I'm tempted to take the upset, but I am going to go with old faithful here. Woodley by 29-28 decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: I was extremely impressed with Jordan’s Stirkeforce debut against Evangelista Santos. After looking over his record he has wins against some decent wrestlers, but he also has some loses against some as well. This is a tough pick since Tyron has a really good record, but always seems to gas late in the fight. I’m going to go out on a limb here and take Jordan Mein via 3rd round TKO.
Lavender Gooms: Woodley has been perfect record wise and looked good in his last fight against Daley. His stand up has improved to go along with his already great wrestling. I see Woodley using his wrestling and the clinch to work his way to a decision victory. Woodley by decision.
Picking Woodley: Kid P and Gooms
Picking Mein: Dr. Law and DJ Mark
Tarec Saffiedine v. Tyler Stinson
Doctor Law: Tarec has good standup and as I said above, he got hosed in his fight against Woodley. Stinson has…well, I don’t know what Stinson has because I’ve never seen him fight. I’ll tell you this, he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. He may as well not exist. Saffiedine by decision.
Kid Presentable: Tarec is a pretty sweet striker, and Stinson is a guy I have never heard of that wants a title shot after this. Calm down son, even I am ahead of you on the list of contenders in Strikeforce. Saffiedine by TKO, round 2.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Tyler Stinson is another guy that made a big splash with his Strikeforce Debut with a 15 second KO in the first round. However, there’s just something about Saffiedine that I’ve always liked. I just like the way Saffiedine fights, it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite MMA fighters Guy Mezger. He’s a technical striker with good takedown defense and a solid ground game. I got Saffiedine by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Since Jean Claude Van Dam isn’t making movies anymore, can we call Saffiedine the new “Muscles from Brussels?” Saffiedine handles Stinson with his kickboxing and karate background. Saffiedine by decision.
Picking Saffiedine: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
1. Lavender Gooms: 23-6 (.793)
2. Doctor Law: 22-7 (.758)
2. DJ Mark with a “K”: 22-7 (.758)
4. Kid Presentable: 19-10 (.655)