Saturday night brings us Strikeforce: Tate Vs Rousey on Showtime and we’ve got our predictions for the evening’s big fights for you below.

Main Card:

Meisha Tate vs Ronda Rousey

So this much hyped female title fight is finally upon us. I’m surprised that Rousey’s been installed as the clear favorite here, seems a lot of people are buying into the hype.

I want to believe it as it’d be great for woman’s MMA to have a true star emerge, but for now I’m reserving judgement as while there’s no doubting her judo credentials and her armbars are lethal, the reality is there’s still a lot about Rousey’s game we don’t know from her first four pro fights which have all ended in the first minute.

Her striking skills are essentially a mystery, we don’t know how her cardio and gameplanning will adapt if she doesn’t get the quick win and is forced into a potentially gruelling five round fight, nor do we know if she can take a punch or if her submission defense is as good as her offense. On top of that she’s cutting down to 135lbs for the first time.

Meanwhile, Tate has more experience fighting in the cage against tougher opponents, has well rounded skills, has good cardio and indeed even fought in a one-night tournament for Strikeforce in 2010 which she won. Her submission defense is very good as she proved by defeating ‘The Female Rickson’ Marloes Coenen to win the 135lb title last year and against Hitomi Akano who’s also a specialist in both submissions and judo.

So, I have to go with what I know rather than what I don’t here and pick Tate to retain her title, surviving an early onslaught before turning the screw in the later rounds with a mixture of striking and wrestling to earn the decision win.

Miesha Tate to win by decision.

K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thomson

This should be a fun fight between two gritty and usually entertaining lightweight competitors. On his day I’d give Noons the striking advantage thanks to his technical boxing skills, but he’s not been at his best lately and Thomson is good enough and indeed tough enough in his own right in the stand-up department to make a real fight of it.

Meanwhile in all other aspects of the game Thomson has the edge and he works well when mixing things up, creating scrambles and going for submissions. I expect this to be a close one, but I think Thomson’s more complete skill-set will allow him to secure the decision.

Josh Thomson to win by decision.

Paul Daley vs. Kazuo Misaki

Daley wants a title shot at 170lbs, but he’ll need to get past former PRIDE fighter Misaki first who makes his debut tomorrow night.

Misaki is the more complete fighter of the two here, but Daley is an exceptionally dangerous striker to mix-it-up with on the feet for any length of time and has good enough takedown defense to make Misaki stand with him, and I think that’ll eventually lead to a stoppage courtesy of ‘Semtex’ fists.

Paul Daley to win by TKO in Rd2.

Ronaldo Souza vs. Bristol Marunde

Marunde was called in as a short notice replacement for this event and he’s got a heck of an opponent for his Strikeforce debut in former middleweight champion Jacare.

I see this as a bad fight for the newcomer who favors submissions yet is going up against one of the best BJJ practitioner’s in all of MMA. Jacare’s striking has also come on significantly over the past couple of years and one way or another I expect him to emerge with the ‘W’ inside the distance tomorrow night, probably sooner rather than later.

Ronaldo Souza to win by submission in Rd1.

Scott Smith vs. Lumumba Sayers

Smith heads back up to middleweight in an attempt to revive his Strikeforce career against Sayers who’s looking who’s making the step up from the ‘Challengers’ series.

Smith’s gameplan is always the same – keep it standing and don’t be afraid to take some punches to land some of his own. This has worked for him in the past as he’s remarkably durable and hits hard, but the years of constant punishment have taken their toll and his chin is more fragile these days.

I think he’ll live to fight another day against Sayers however who favors submissions, but will find Smith tricky to take down and as a result will be forced to stand and trade and pay the price for it.

Scott Smith to win by TKO in Rd2.

Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)

Sarah Kaufman vs. Alexis Davis

Caros Fodor vs. Pat Healy

Ryan Couture vs. Conor Heun

Roger Bowling vs. Brandon Saling

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