On Saturday January 12th, 2012, Strikeforce will hold its final mixed martial arts event in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This will be the 63rd event that was put on the promotion, and they are going out on top with a stacked card.
The main event puts UFC export and Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt vs Belgian fighter Tarec Saffiedine. Marquardt looked like an absolute beast in his Strikeforce debut against Tyron Woodley. He ended the fight in brutal fashion by knocking out the previously undefeated american top team product. An the other hand Tarec Saffiedine has to one of the most technical and precise fighters in all of MMA's welterweight ranks. Crisp and clean muay thai skills, and slick and dangerous jiu jitsu skills, make Saffiedine a threat to anyone he faces. This fight comes down to Marquardt's size, power, experience, against Saffiedine's technical abilities. Im going to say Marquardt by TKO round 2.
The next two fights on the main card so two Strikeforce newcomers take on two of there biggest heavyweight stars as Dion Staring and Nandor Guelmino take on Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett respectively. Are these match ups more of a showcase to see Cormier and Barnett march into the UFC with impressive wins? Maybe yes, maybe no, but one thing for sure is there opponents have a huge mountain to climb if they want a UFC contract. Cormier looks like the next big thing in the heavyweight division. He's Olympic level wrestling skills, combined with his athleticism have seen him make through his first 10 fights unchallenged. He has impressed with striking as he has felled big named opponents such as Jeff Monson, and Josh Barnett. Look for a quick victory from Cormier on Saturday. On the other end of the heavy weight showcase is Josh Barnet. A true veteran of the sport and one of its most charismatic individuals. He faces Austrian Nandor Guelmino. Who? Exactly. The 37 year old heavyweight has the opportunity of a life time. Beat Barnet and book a ticked to the UFC. Chances of it happening…….slim to non. Look for Barnet to take this to the ground early and get the submission win.
The final two fights on the main card have two former Strikeforce champions against tough but beatable opponents. Gegard Mousasi, returns after a lengthy layoff to take on one dimensional striker Mike Kyle. The obvious favorite would be Gegard as he has the more well rounded abilities, but u can never count Kyle out as he is a natural fighter with dangerous power. Mousasi will take this fight were ever it goes, unless there is some ring rust and Kyle is on his A game. In the opening bout, former Strikeforce middle weight champion Ronaldo Souza square off with UFC staple Ed Herman. Herman steps up to face one of the most athletic middleweights in the game, and will have to have the fight of his life to earn the victory. The fight may be competitive at first but Souza will impose his game, be it striking or ground and enter the UFC on a winning note.
Also on the card are some of Strikeforce's top talent, in Pat Healy, Roger Gracie, Tim Kennedy, Ky Noons, and Ryan Couture. Look for these guys to make the jump to the UFC with a win.
Strikeforce was a world class promotion that put on some of the best fights in MMA. Unfortunately the show has come to an end, but thanks for the great fights. The positive from the end of the show is that there will be some great match ups from Strikeforce fighters to UFC fighters. I will sit back and enjoy those ones as well.