Strikeforce preview and quick picks for 'Henderson vs Babalu' on Dec. 4 in St. Louis


Despite a few late injuries to some main card fighters, the show will still go on for Strikeforce this Saturday night (Dec. 4) at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. "Henderson vs. Babalu" will air live on Showtime beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

The event will feature a light heavyweight rematch between longtime veterans of the sport, Dan Henderson and Renato Sobral. "Hendo" defeated "Babalu" via majority decision under the RINGS banner way back in 2000 in the final of a star-studded tournament. It was the third fight of the night for both men.

Also on tap is a dynamite welterweight contest between sluggers Paul "Semtex" Daley and Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith. The fight will be Smith's 170-pound debut.

In addition, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Ovince St. Preux, "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler, Matt "The Law" Lindland, Mike "Mak" Kyle and Benji "Razor" Radach will be in action.

To help get you better prepared for the festivities, I've given some analysis and predictions for the main card fights after the jump.

205 lbs.: Dan "Hollywood" Henderson vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral

This is a rematch from a fight in 2000 that Henderson won via decision, and I expect the same winner and loser to emerge in this one, as well. The only difference is that I think Henderson will find a way to put "Babalu" away this time.

He's got big time power in his hands, and in a fight that he should want to keep off the mat, he'll get every opportunity to unleash those weapons. "Babalu's" strength is his jiu jitsu, but "Hendo's" wrestling ability should allow him to keep the fight upright and out of the Brazilian's comfort zone.

Half of "Babalu's" career losses have come by (T)KO. Forty percent of Henderson's wins have come by (T)KO. I don't like that math for Sobral if he gets forced into a stand-up fight.

It's also worth mentioning that Henderson hasn't fought in nearly eight months, and he's been itching to get back into the cage so he can try and erase the memory of the loss to Jake Shields from his Strikeforce debut. He had Shields rocked early in that fight before he eventually gassed out and missed his opportunity.

I don't expect him to blow any chances on Saturday night, though. I've got "Hendo."

Final prediction: Henderson via knockout

185 lbs.: "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. Matt "The Law" Lindland

At this point in their careers, Lawler is the much better fighter. As long as he can keep Lindland from hugging him to death, he should come away with the win.

Of course, that's easier said than done. Lawler hasn't exactly had the best success against good wrestlers over the last few years. Jake Shields and Jason Miller were both able to submit him, and everybody else he's faced have basically elected to stand and trade with the brawler.

But it's not as if Lindland has been blowing anyone away with his submission skills during that time, and he's certainly not Jake Shields or "Mayhem" Miller in the strength department at this point, either. He also struggled in the early going against Kevin Casey of all people, and he was embarrassed by Vitor Belfort and "Jacare" Souza. He's near the tail end of his career, and if Lawler can land clean shots, he should be able to add to his 82 percent knockout rate on Saturday night.

Lawler isn't Vitor Belfort and it may take him a bit longer, but I think this fight will end in similar fashion. We know he has power, and he's become a much more technical striker over the years, as well. I believe he'll find an opening to stop Lindland before the final bell.

Final prediction: Lawler via knockout

170 lbs.: Paul "Semtex" Daley vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith

This one should be fun to watch, but I have a hard time thinking anyone who prefers to stand and bang has much of a chance in a fight with Daley. I see this ending badly for Smith. He eats a lot of punches in his fights, and it won't take many from "Semtex" before he'll be sleeping.

If he thinks Nick Diaz, Cung Le, and Robbie Lawler hit hard, wait until he feels the Brit's power. This is a don't blink type of fight, and I expect there to be some quality highlight reel footage afterward, courtesy of "Semtex," of course.

The take two to give one approach isn't going to work here for Smith.

Final prediction: Daley via knockout

265 lbs.: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva vs. Mike "Mak" Kyle

Mike Kyle is lethal on his feet. He has all kinds of knockout power, and he's built up some momentum over the last year, too, with five straight victories. But he's not a heavyweight, and his ground game is nonexistent. Plus he hasn't had much time at all to prepare for this fight.

"Bigfoot" is going to win this one. The safest route would be to overwhelm the AKA product with his size, get him to the mat, and work his Brazilian jiu jitsu skills until a submission opportunity presents itself. I don't expect him to waste much time, either. I'm looking for a first round submission victory of some sort for the big man.

Don't get me wrong, Silva is plenty capable of winning this fight on his feet, too, but why bother? His BJJ is light years ahead of Kyle's, and he's going to have a monstrous size advantage.

Kyle doesn't have much more than a puncher's chance. You're safer playing the lottery than betting on him to win this fight.

Final prediction: Silva via submission

205 lbs.: Benji "Razor" Radach vs. Ovince St. Preux

St. Preux, a former University of Tennessee linebacker, has excellent size and length for a light heavyweight. Radach, on the other hand, is a middleweight who used to fight as a welterweight. There is going to be a big size difference between the two, and it feels like Strikeforce is looking to showcase St. Preux with this match-up.

Radach is a stand-up fighter, with damn good boxing skills, though. I'm not saying he doesn't have a chance to win, but he's going to have a lot of trouble getting inside on St. Preux, who does a nice job using his long legs to strike and keep his distance in his fights.

Radach is basically a knockout or be knocked out type of fighter, and the tale of the tape in this one leads me to believe he'll be on the receiving end on Saturday night.

St. Preux seemed to get tired pretty easily against Britt, but Radach will have a much more difficult time wearing him down without the weight and wrestling advantages that Britt had. Plus, Benji hasn't competed in over a year and a half. Meanwhile St. Preux will be making his sixth start of 2010. Radach has twice as many career fights, but recent experience should even that out. I've got St. Preux.

Final prediction: St. Preux via knockout

That's it's from us. Sound off with your predictions in the comments section below.

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