Strikeforce returns tomorrow night with their Rousey Vs Kaufman show and we’ve got our predictions for all the big fights for you below.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman
With all the hype surrounding her at the moment it’s important to take a step back and remember that despite her winning record she’s far from invincible. Her striking is still a work in progress, particularly from a defensive stand-point, with a lack of head movement and tendency to leave her chin up meaning she eats a lot of shots.
That’s where Kaufman could find success as she has relatively decent boxing and should be able to find her chin fairly easily if she can lure Rousey into a stand-up battle. Kaufman’s not a power puncher though which could be problematic as she really needs an extended slug-fest to make her mark.
It’s unlikely that’ll happen as Rousey knows what she’s best at and if she senses she’s coming off second best she’ll immediately try to close the distance and go for the clinch. Her judo background means she’s very strong from this position and has a good chance of getting the takedown.
Obviously we all know that her armbar’s are deadly, but she generally moves well on the ground and isn’t a one-trick pony. However, don’t forget that Miesha Tate had her back for a significant portion of the first round in their fight, so again, she’s not unstoppable on the mat.
Kaufman’s wrestling is better and she’s good on top, but I don’t think she’ll do any better than Tate on her back and while it would be interesting to see what would happen if the fight goes beyond the first round, I think we might be heading for a sense of deja-vu with the finish in the first here.
Ronda Rousey to win by submission in Rd1.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson
This is one of those fights that shows the glaring weaknesses in Strikeforce’s roster. Really former champion ‘Jacare’ should be fighting someone more high profile than Brunson, but unfortunately there just aren’t enough big name fighters on tap to make that happen.
I think Souza will be a clear step ahead of his opponent here. He’s developed into a well-rounded fighter thanks to significant improvements to his striking game and I think he can outpoint Brunson in that regard, while he obviously also has world class BJJ which will put Brunson in danger if he tries to use his wrestling to take the fight to the floor.
If it had been a five-round fight I’d maybe have gone for Souza to win by submission, but for a three-rounder I’ll err on the side of caution and say he gets the win by decision.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza to win by decision.
Roger Bowling vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Bowling and Saffiedine are two graduates of the now defunct Strikeforce Challengers series and they are now trying to push towards title contention in what’s currently a very thin looking welterweight division.
Bowling’s a good athlete who can push a hard pace, but he doesn’t have the technical muay thai striking ability of Saffiedine who’s dangerous with all eight limbs.
In addition, a major flaw in Bowling’s all-action style is a bit of a weak chin, and that’s the kind of weakness that Saffiedine is well qualified to take advantage of, and I expect him to do so within two rounds.
Tarec Saffiedine to win by TKO in Rd2.
Lumumba Sayers vs. Anthony Smith
Sayers is a fighter on an upswing at the moment after a quick win over Scott Smith in his most high-profile to date so far, while his opponent on this occasion, also named Smith, is getting his first taste of main card action.
Sayers is a finish or be finished kind of a fighter – all eight of his fights, win or lose, have ended in the first round. Submissions are his best weapon, but he can also slug it out on the feet and has solid power.
Smith stands 6ft 4″, tall for a middleweight, and he likes to swing for the fences which has provided him with a number of big finishes, but also leaves him open to being finished himself.
Overall this should be a fast and furious fight and I see Sayers hurting an overly-eager Smith early and then finishing him by submission.
Lumumba Sayers to win by submission in Rd1.
T.J. Cook vs. Ovince St.Preux
St.Preux was outclassed by Gegard Mousasi in his last fight at 205lbs, but there’s no shame in that and he’s still a decent light-heavyweight fighter.
Cook’s an aggressive striker, but he’s had a distinct disadvantage in this fight in that regard as St.Preux comes in with a whopping 7.5″ reach advantage which he’ll be using to keep him at bay in the early stages.
St.Preux’s also got decent wrestling and should be able to control Cook on the mat. Cook’s glaring weakness is his vulnerability to submissions, but OSP is something of a position before submission fighter so I think he’ll have to go the full 15 minutes to get the win on this occasion.
Ovince St.Preux to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Julie Kedzie vs. Miesha Tate
Bobby Green vs. Matt Ricehouse
Adlan Amagov vs. Keith Berry
Germaine de Randamie vs. Hiroko Yamanaka