Strikeforce: Fedor Vs Werdum takes place in San Jose on Saturday night and thanks to the presence of Fedor Emelianenko it should produce impressive ratings for Showtime.

Truth be told this isn’t the most competitive fight card we’ve ever seen, on paper at least, so it’s not the most difficult set of predictions we’ve ever been faced with. There’s always the risk of an upset though and that unique buzz of anticipation and expectation that comes when one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters enters the cage, and that’s why this is still an event that’s not to be missed.

Fedor Emelianenko Vs Fabricio Werdum

As you’d expect Fedor Emelianenko is the clear favorite in this fight. If it wasn’t for the fact that Strikeforce lack strength in depth then Fabricio Werdum’s two fight win streak against Mike Pyle and Antonio Silva would in no way have qualified him to fight a man who hasn’t lost in 29 fights and only has one loss – due to a cut – in his 10 year career.

Werdum is a good fighter, he’s just not a great one. His stand up is decent. It’s improved over time but he’s unlikely to have the power to trouble Werdum, and he leaves gaps in his defense when he goes on the offensive which Fedor will exploit. He does however possess a dangerous ground game and his BJJ is his best bet to trouble the Russian.

Fedor didn’t get to this point in his career by chance though. Part of his success has been due to the fact that he is well rounded in all aspects of the game and he’s successfully fought high level BJJ proponents in the past such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (3 times), Ricardo Arona and Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobra.

I believe Werdum will have trouble getting Fedor down in the first place, while on the feet the power that ‘The Last Emperor’ wields will put the Brazilian in constant danger of being flatlined. I don’t see Fedor as indestructible and I do think there’s signs that he may no longer be at his peak, but he’s still a force of nature that Werdum won’t be able to stop.

Prediction: Fedor Emelianenko to win by KO in Rd2

Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos Vs Jan Finney

There’s not a whole lot that needs to be said about this fight. Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos is so far ahead of the pack at the moment that it’s difficult to see who can threaten her. The fact that there’s few genuinely talented fighters at 145lbs makes life even tougher, and so with an 8-7 record and a career spent mainly at 135lbs, Jan Finney suddenly finds herself stepping into the lions den.

Finney’s skills are somewhat limited, especially compared with Cyborg’s well rounded abilities. Her main strength is her stand-up which is rather unfortunate considering that also happens to be where Santos likes to devour her opponents.

Strikeforce reportedly chose the challenger after being impressed with her recent performances. She does come in on a four fight win streak, but on closer inspection two of those wins came to fighter’s who were making their competitive debut.

Looking further back she has had a history of coming undone against a series of quality opponents like Erin Toughill, Gina Carano, Shayna Baszler and Meisha Tate, and considering Cyborg is the toughest of the bunch it’s not hard to see how this fight is going to go down.

Prediction: Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos to win by TKO in Rd1

Cung Le Vs Scott Smith

Six months after their first encounter Cung Le and Scott Smith get set to go to war from a second time, and honestly I don’t expect either fighter to come up with a radically different gameplan.

That means we can expect to see more of Le’s eye-catching armory of flashy kicks, and more of Smith standing stoically in front of him, eating a barrage of damaging strikes while hoping to eventually land one killer blow in return. I do expect Le to be a little more cautious to conserve energy so he doesn’t gas out in the latter stages of the fight, and perhaps throw in a takedown or two along the way, but that’s about it.

Smith is of course the master of last ditch comebacks, but you can only rely on that so many times to get you out of jail free and I think he’ll fall short this time around and Le will win a dominant decision victory.

Prediction: Cung Le to win by decision.

Josh Thompson Vs Pat Healy

After facing Gilbert Melendez in a lightweight title fight that turned out to be one of the best battles of 2009, Josh Thompson finds himself in a considerably less glamorous bout with a middle-of-the-road opponent in Pat Healy.

Healy’s not an opponent to be taking lightly though despite his patchy 23-15 record as he’s a tough grinder with a ton of experience that will be competitive on the mat where he poses a submission threat, as Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and Dan Hardy can all testify, and on the feet as well.

More often than not though Healy has come unstuck against fighter’s a little higher up the competitive ladder, and Thompson certainly fits that bill. Curiously, despite the fact that Thompson has fought at a consistently higher level promotionally he yet consistently fought the same caliber of opposition. I do believe that he is the better all-round fighter though, and should prove it en-route to a win on the judges score-cards.

Prediction: Josh Thompson to win by decision

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