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The Fight Report: The Final Strikeforce Event

| January 9, 2013 | 10:18 am | Reply

StrikeforceIt was fun while it lasted! While I’m sad to see Strikeforce ride off into the sunset, I’m happy to see they managed to hold their final card together long enough to give everyone a great send-off. With the winners being assured a place in the UFC, we can expect some tooth-and-nail encounters on Saturday.

Check out the action below!

Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine: It’s the final fight for the Welterweight strap, and we’ve got a great match-up here between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine. Marquardt has long been one of the best fighters in the game, with more tools in his tool bag than several fighters combined. Marquardt though is never out of his element under any circumstance; with his smooth power striking and ability to hook subs on a scramble make him dangerous every second of the match.

His opponent is the uniquely skilled Tarec Saffiedine. A karateka from his youth, Saffiedine has the natural flow of a life-long martial artist, fighting from switch stance and with innate footwork and balance. While he’s never been a KO striker, the sheer volume of accurate attacks he throws make him a chore to deal with on the feet, and his clinch control and fast hips have kept him safe outside of his element thus far.

This is a closer fight than folks think, as Saffiedine isn’t going to get a finish, but he could very well take a decision here. While Marquardt is certainly the better finisher, he needs to catch Saffiedine as he gallops around the cage, which is difficult given Saffiedine’s straight punches and immobilizing kicks. While I do think Marquardt can get it down before the bell, this is a true test for the champion if he wants to be the one to retire the belt.

Quick Reports:

Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring: Dion Staring will fill in for Frank Mir, as he faces HW champion Daniel Cormier in a non-title affair. Staring has been in this sport for quite awhile at various weight classes, but has oddly settled in as a small HW. While his Dutch muay thai is certainly functional, he’s not known as a KO artist and his submission game isn’t nearly at the level needed to flummox Cormier. A fairly simple fight for the champ as he hits a takedown and pounds Staring out in short order.

Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino: The polarizing Josh Barnett will appear in what could be his final ZUFFA appearance, taking on rugged Austrian striker Nandor Guelmino. Guelmino is a gorilla of a man, but surprisingly agile with an arsenal of power shots and defensive abilities. The danger stops once he hits the mat though, and Barnett isn’t foolish enough to engage an opponent in the only area they pose a threat. A fast shot and a few armlock transitions spell an unsuccessful end to Guelmino’s debut and gives Dana White something to think about.

Mike Kyle Strikeforce

Can Mike Kyle defeat Gegard Mousasi?

Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle: Returning from a knee surgery, Gegard Mousasi will look to come into the UFC with a win, taking on AKA’s Mike Kyle. Kyle is one of the most underrated guys in the division at LHW, and while Mousasi can win this with a counter guillotine or superior boxing skills, Kyle’s one shot power and wrestling could snatch a win here as well. It’s truly a toss-up, and will hinge on how much gym time Mousasi can get in before this fight, as a crap gas tank or weak takedown defense will spell his end here.

Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Ed Herman certainly has balls, dropping down to SF and taking on their most feared middleweight in Jacare. While no one can question Herman’s heart, I can’t see a situation where he pulls off a win against Souza here. Between Jacare’s rapidly improving stand-up and the greatest grappling skills in the world, Souza has every out to pull this off.

Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith: One of the more intriguing fights of the night, Roger Gracie will take to the cage for the second time as a Middleweight, taking on tough finisher Anthony Smith. Smith comes into this fight with a size advantage and explosive power in his hands, but has a history of being hustled from top position if it hits the mat. It’s kill or be killed here, as Smith could clip Gracie and put his away, but can’t survive the match with the black belt on top of him. Edge goes to Gracie for being able to muscle in and impose his game plan.

Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith: This has potential as a grappler’s wet dream, as Kennedy and Smith both have unique submission wrestling styles that should mesh well together. While Smith is the larger man, Kennedy has such an amazing flow on the mat, I have a hard time imagining Smith’s strength playing into this much. A rough fight at first turns into a master class by Kennedy, as he locks on a submission late in the match.

Ryan Couture vs. KJ Noons: A great television opener that could go either way, as Couture tries to work his mat game against the fast hands of KJ Noons. Couture and Noons have struggled mightily in Strikeforce, but the caliber of opponents for these two is dramatically different. While Noons has always had issue with elite wrestlers, Couture isn’t the most dynamic takedown artist, and could find himself stuck in a bout of fisticuffs against Noons. This could be on its way to a close decision, but I have to side with Noons for his ability to end the fight and make Couture pay for closing distance.

For Complete Coverage of the final Strikeforce event, click here.

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Category: Featured, MMA, Strikeforce

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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