Friday, November 6, 2009

Breaking Down the Strikeforce Fedor vs Rogers Card

MMA returns to network television this Saturday (Nov. 7th) for the first time in over a year. The last live MMA fight to grace the mainstream airwaves ended early when Seth Petruzelli finished “Kimbo Slice” in just fourteen seconds. Since that time, EliteXC has gone belly up, but CBS remains fully committed to broadcasting MMA. So much so, in fact, that they’ve reloaded with North America’s second-deepest fight promotion, Strikeforce, along with the undisputed number-one heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko.

Impressively, the main card includes two world-ranked fighters in every single fight. Ranked fighters include:

Fedor Emelianenko (HW #1), Jake Shields (WW #7), Brett Rogers (HW #8),Gegard Mousasi (LHW #8), Fabricio Werdum (HW #13), Antonio Silva (HW #22), Sokoudjou (LHW #22), and Jason Miller (MW #24).

Rankings According to the USA Today/SBN Poll

Look for this post on Top MMA News, it's the first of what I hope will be many contributions to that site from BC MMA Fan.

Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (-625) vs. Brett “The Grim” Rogers (+425)
Depending on your allegiances, Fedor Emelianenko (30-1) might be a nearly-infallible demi-god or an over-rated can-kicker. My own opinion lies somewhere in between, but I get the cause for debate. Some say Fedor’s unparalleled dominance should speak for itself. Others argue that he has not fought a truly top-ranked HW since a decision win over Mirko “Cro-Cop” in 2005. His fight with Brett Rogers (10-0), which, incidentally, will be both Fedor’s first on a Strikeforce card and his debut appearance in a cage, is unlikely to sway many on either side of the argument. Well, not unless Fedor gets knocked out. That’s not quite as crazy as it sounds, either. Given his massive size and strength advantages, not to mention a career (T)KO rate of ninety-percent, “The Grim” has the quintessential puncher’s chance. What Rogers lacks, however, is a ground game that stacks up against a Sambo-based submissions ace like Fedor. Nor does Rogers possess the necessary experience to match strategies with “The Last Emperor.” I predict that, like a Russian chess master, Fedor will know exactly where to press his advantages.

Prediction: Emelianenko by Submission (Armbar), Rd. 1

Jason “Mayhem” Miller (+260) vs. Jake Shields (-340)
An elite and natural welterweight, Jake Shields (23-4-1) fights these days as an undersized, middleweight, fringe contender, but, since the UFC’s roster includes almost every decent 170lb fighter that Shields has not yet beaten, along with many of those he has, poor Jake does not have much choice. His opponent is Jason “Mayhem” Miller (22-6), the hilarious host of MTV’s “Bully Beatdown,” who is out to remind MMA fans that he is more than just a pretty face. Jake Shields has superior jiu-jitsu and probably slightly better grappling overall, even if his striking from top-position is none-too-special. “Mayhem” has already stated he’s not interested in a “hugging contest” and will look to keep the fight standing, but Shields has already demolished, accomplished MW brawler, Robbie Lawler. So I do not see “Mayhem” with a clear advantage anywhere. While I do believe the line should be a bit closer, I’ll take Shields to squeak by in a close one.

Prediction: Jake Shields by Unanimous Decision

Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (-650) vs. “The African Assassin” Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (+450)
These odds are identical to the betting advantage that Emelianko has over “The Grim,” but, the way I see it, Rogers has a legit puncher’s chance, while Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-4) has almost no chance at all. Why is that? It could be because I can not shake the image of Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1) steamrolling “Babalu” Sobral in August. On the other hand, maybe its because Sokoudjou’s only significant wins were a pair of flash knock-outs that happened almost three years ago. Either way, I just do not see how this fight stays competitive for long. Ultimately, Mousasi is far too well-rounded to fall into any traps set by “The African Assassin.” Of course, I also think “The Dreamcatcher,” questionable cage-name notwithstanding, could be the future of the LHW division.

Prediction: Mousasi by TKO, Rd. 1

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (-150) vs. Antonio “Junior” Silva (+120)
Fabricio Werdum (12-4-1) is fairly massive with decent stand-up and world-class jiu-jitsu. In fact, he won the heavyweight tournament this year, for the second time since 2007, at The ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in Madrid. Unfortunately for him, fellow-Brazilian Antonio Silva (13-1) is, frankly, gargantuan with devastating strikes and a very solid ground game. Silva has never been submitted and nearly seventy percent of his wins have come by (T)KO. One of the last giant-sized 6-oz glove that came Werdum’s way was attached to a Junior Dos Santos uppercut and resulted in “Vao Cavalo” taking an unintentional nap. So you’ll forgive me if I take this opportunity to squeeze in an underdog pick. Consider it a “Junior” curse for Wedum, if you like.

Prediction: Silva by TKO, Rd. 2

Related Posts:

Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers Lineup

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