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The Betting Corner: Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final

| May 17, 2012 | 9:20 am | Reply

As this train wreck of a Heavyweight Grand Prix comes to a close, it really helps you appreciate that Bellator can put on so many snag-free tournaments. Through a slew of injuries, both real and painfully fake, and a great deal of completely random alternates, we arrive at Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier, with the winner being locked in the forever stasis of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Division.

Depressing, right? Well, when you look at what we have to bet with, you’re not going to feel much better, but we can still try to turn a buck here. Below is my comparison betting odds for this event, any props that catch my eye, as well as much general confidence in my prediction where variables of the fight game are involved. Now, onto the fights!

Josh Barnett -140

Daniel Cormier +110

Props: Fight Goes Distance/Over (2.5)

Confidence: Moderate

This tournament was about as complicated as it could possibly have been, yet we finally get a tournament winner, as Josh Barnett faces Daniel Cormier. Barnett is one of those guys that people remember as a person more so than they remember him as a fighter, and this tends to play an advantage in the fight world. While he’s certainly a clown, he’s also one of the best pure submission grapplers in the world and brings a unique boxing style that has helped him tremendously in his career.  Cormier has looked great for his part of this tournament, but having never seen him on the defensive on the mat bothers me, as Barnett could very well put him there in this bout. If this fight turns into a striking match, I’d have to give Cormier a small edge due to footwork and overall speed, but the idea this could hit the mat spells trouble for the unproven submission defense of Cormier. Overall, I’m not seeing a ton of value here and would only advise the Over play if it comes in at a positive number, and certainly if it comes in at 1.5 rounds.

Melendez looks to retain the belt against ThomsonGilbert Melendez -350

Josh Thomson +250

Props: None

Confidence: Very High

The last bout in a trilogy is usually there to answer some questions, but this time it’s completely unnecessary, as Gilbert Melendez faces Josh Thomson. While I like Thomson as a fighter, his career has been seriously hampered by repeated leg injuries. With the second bout between these two having been a complete domination by Melendez, I can’t see this going much differently considering the amount of time Thomson has spent outside of the cage. While the idea of a Melendez finish is intriguing at the right price, I can’t recommend any specific outcome due to the question marks constantly surrounding Thomson’s health. If you like a number, hit it, but the straight line is the only safe bet here.

Rafael Cavalcante -120

Mike Kyle -120

Props: Kyle by KO

Confidence: Moderate

It seems like forever ago that Mr. Feijao’s hype train was blasted off the tracks by the often overlooked Mike Kyle, and here we see these men meet at a crossroads. For Cavalcante, having the Light Heavyweight strap torn from his hands by Dan Henderson seems to have altered his mojo, leading to a flat performance in his last fight against Yoel Romero. Oddly, this measured attack may be exactly what he needs to beat the heavy-handed Mike Kyle, whom makes his way back to Light Heavyweight after Strikeforce dissolved their HW division. This fight was a coin-flip the first time and will always be a coin-flip, as Feijao’s technical striking is countered by Kyle’s bone-crushing power and superior cardio.  When this fight went down back in 2009, Cavalcante came in at -500, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing that kind of disparity this time around. Look for the Kyle KO prop or just go straight depending on what kind of chance you’re looking to take, but whatever you do, don’t count the big man out here for a second time.

Chris Spang -160

Nah-Shon Burrell +130

Props: Fight Ends Inside Distance/Under

Confidence: Moderate

While his undefeated record is gone, Chris Spang is still a surprising talent in the Welterweight division, and will face fellow youngster Nah-Shon Burrell. Burrell comes into this bout on a bit of a controversial decision win over James Terry, but showed sharp striking skills and athletic ability in his win that seemed to sway the judge’s more so than the fans. These two actually stack up well, but Spang brings a more polished style to the cage due to his professional boxing background and anti-wrestling submission game. While Burrell might be a hair quicker, Spang has the talent edge and I see him having all the outs here. The best bet I feel is an early stoppage though, as both guys are young bucks and will want to throw leather early, leading to a finish for either guy and a safe wager to kick off your night.

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Category: Betting, Exclusive, 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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