Strikeforce: 'Overeem vs Werdum' predictions, preview and analysis

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Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum" from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, is all set to kick off the second leg of the promotion's heavyweight grand prix tournament tomorrow night (June 18) live on Showtime.

MMAmania.com will provide live results and blow-by-blow commentary of the main card action beginning with the Showtime telecast at 10 p.m. ET on fight night. In addition, we'll be updating all the undercard results from the HDNet-televised portion of the card much earlier in the evening.

"Demolition Man" is back against what many pundits consider his first quality opponent is several years. Can the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion avenge his 2006 loss to Fabricio Werdum? Or will "Vai Cavalo" expose the Dutch destroyer as a nothing more than a musclebound pretender?

Also featured on the main card is Brett "The Grim" Rogers, who may be one loss away from going back to the tire shop at Sam's Club. Then again, an upset win over former PRIDE FC star Josh Barnett and he's right back in the heavyweight title hunt.

Don't blink -- it could be over that quickly.

I've also included the latest odds and betting lines from our comrades at OddsShark.com to give you an indication of where the bookmakers stand in each contest.

See you on the other side.

265 lbs.: Alistair "Demolition Man" Overeem (34-11) vs. Fabricio "Vai Cavalo" Werdum (14-4-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: Ladies and gentleman, we're about to find out if the hype is real. Yes, it's true, I think "The Reem" is the best heavyweight in the game today -- but I also recognize that he's a long way from proving it. Avenging his loss to Werdum would be a helluva good start.

I think he gets it done.

The biggest thing Overeem has going for him right now is momentum, having competed in nearly 20 fights since 2009 between mixed martial arts and kickboxing.

A lot of haters will poo-poo on his exploits in K-1 and somehow make the argument they shouldn't be considered in judging his merit as a fighter but seriously, where's the logic in that?

"Well Nostradumbass, K-1 is one-dimensional, it's only striking."

If that's the case, then half of the so-called "MMA fights" we've seen over the last year should be stricken from the record. You know the ones I'm referring to, where two guys who have no business throwing hands decide to "stand and bang" for three boring rounds.

At least in K-1 you see some actual technique, which is why we have the term "K-1 level striker."

But is striking going to be enough against Werdum? The Brazilian also has (or had) some momentum after his upset win over Fedor Emelianenko in June 2010. While that win lost some of its luster after Antonio Silva dropped the iron curtain on the "Emperor" back in February, it's still worth noting.

My question is how much stock do I put in that performance when he basically tripped over his own two feet and had a triangle choke handed to him on a silver platter? Prior to that he engaged in a slap fight against "Bigfoot" that he barely won by decision and also notched a submission win over Mike Kyle, who was a blown-up light heavyweight.

While I don't discount it, I just can't get that excited by what he's done over the last two years.

In the end, you have what may be the division's best striker against what may be the division's best grappler. So why does "Demolition Man" win? Because it's a lot harder for Werdum to get this thing to the ground than it is for Overeem to keep it on the feet.

"The Reem" will not be denied.

Betting lines (as of June 17): Alistair Overeem (-500) vs. Fabricio Werdum (+300)

Prediction: Overeem via technical knockout

265 lbs.: Josh "The Babyface Assassin" Barnett (29-5) vs. Brett "The Grim" Rogers (11-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: While a lot of people have been getting on Overeem for his Japanese can-crushing, it should be worth noting that Josh Barnett hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire either. In fact, the biggest name he's fought in the last five years is Jeff Monson.

I still think he beats Brett Rogers.

"The Babyface Assassin" has serviceable hands but they aren't dangerous enough to use against a wrecking ball like Rogers nor would it make any sense. He's a fantastic wrestler with deadly jiu-jitsu skills having ended 17 of his 29 wins by submission (58-percent). That means "Da Grim" has about a minute to win this thing.

Stranger things have happened.

My concern is Barnett might be taking this fight a little too lightly. Rogers may look like a steel-plated hearse but he's incredibly agile for his size and won't go down without a fight. He smashed through Fedor's arm-lock attempts like they were peanut brittle and just because Barnett can get him to the ground doesn't make it a "gimme" fight.

It will be interesting to see how long Grim can keep this thing competitive. If we get the angry bulI or "pre-Fedor" Rogers than we could have ourselves a fight. But if we get the same fighter who huffed and puffed his way to a sloppy decision win over Ruben Villareal then it's a wrap.

I think he'll show up but the constant defending and work from guard will eventually tire him out and Barnett will finally get that Kimura he's looking for in the third round.

Assuming he doesn't get KTFO in the process.

Betting lines (as of June 17): Josh Barnett (-500) vs. Brett Rogers (+300)

Prediction: Barnett via submission

155 lbs.: Karl "KJ" Noons (10-3) vs. Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal (21-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: This is without question the easiest fight to predict. KJ Noons likes to strike. So does Jorge Masvidal. Noons is the better striker. Masvidal is hard to finish. What does all that add up to? A unanimous decision win for "King Karl."

What, that's not "in-depth" enough? Alrighty then, I'll give you another two paragraphs of "analysis" -- but only because the winner might get a lightweight title shot.

Surprisingly, Noons only has one less submission win that the more experienced Masvidal. Unfortunately "Gamebred" only has one. That's correct. They have 31 wins between the two of them and only one submission. That was a result of Jorge's rear naked choke over Eric Reynolds under the Bellator banner back in 2009.

You can make the argument that Masvidal is a better MMA striker than Noons and is more effective with the leg kicks, but he's going to have to fire off about two dozen every round if he wants to take the decision. I just have this feeling that KJ lures him into a boxing match and that's not a fight Jorge can win.

I have Noons sweeping the scorecards in a fairly uneventful unanimous decision win.

Betting lines (as of June 17): Karl Noons (-150) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+130)

Prediction: Noons via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Daniel "DC" Cormier (7-0) vs. Jeff "The Snowman" Monson (42-11)

Nostradumbass predicts: I really want to pick Monson here for obvious reasons. You have a fighter who's bread and butter is wrestling taking on another fighter who is a jiu-jitsu wizard. On paper it looks like Monson can neutralize Cormier's most effective weapon.

But does that mean he can win it on the feet?

Unfortunately not, because "The Snowman" has arms like a T-Rex and has only won two fights out of 42 by technical knockout (4.76 percent!) He's also 40-years-old and while he's always in good shape, trying to grapple with a guy the size of Cormier, who can be relentless with his offense, is going to take its toll and tire him out.

That's not to say this is a lock for "DC."

He's definitely a fantastic fighter and a top prospect, but going 7-0 against competition that no one has ever heard of doesn't mean you're ready for the big time. The reason I'm sticking with Cormier is because we've seen that great wrestling trumps just about everything else. When in doubt, put it on the wrestler.

I'm also not fond of Monson's recent performances, which may be further proof that he's on the downswing. Choking out Jason Guida doesn't do much for your stock and going to the scorecards against Tony Lopez and Maro Perak has me doing the people's eyebrow.

The bottom line is this: Monson should in no way, shape or form be a +300 underdog to a guy with seven fights in his career who has yet to compete outside of Strikeforce: "Challengers." That said, I think Monson is just too old, too small and soon-to-be too tired to submit Cormier tomorrow night.

Cormier by unanimous blanket.

Betting lines (as of June 17): Daniel Cormier (-360) vs. Jeff Monson (+300)

Prediction: Cormier via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Chad "The Grave Digger" Griggs (10-1) vs. Valentijn "The Python" Overeem (29-25)

Nostradumbass predicts: U Chad? Mr. Griggs made a name for himself as cannon fodder for Bobby Lashley in his Strikeforce debut last August. Unfortunately for "The Dominator," he who digs graves had Lashley's career in a pine box by the end of round two, thus catapulting himself into the promotion's 2011 grand prix.

Not that I believe for one second that Lashley would be here if he won, but that's a post for another day.

Putting the punchlines aside, Griggs is actually a pretty talented fighter. As with most competitors who mix it up on the local scene, you're only as good as the names you beat.

That said, he really kept the party going back in February by spoiling the highly-touted debut of Gian Villante -- but that was a fight that saw the former Ring of Combat standout, a talented wrestler, play right into "The Grave Digger's" rock 'em, sock 'em robot style of fight.

No question he employs the same strategy against Overeem in Dallas and while it's easy to be fooled by "The Python's" barely-better-than .500 record, I think he plays it smart here. I can't imagine a fighter with his experience will let what I consider to be his one last shot at becoming somebody stateside go up in smoke just to get into a slugfest against a man with epic sideburns.

On the contrary, I think the Dutchman lures his foe in and makes this a ground war, and I don't know if Griggs has the arsenal to keep himself afloat when it goes south. His lone loss came by way of Kimura and Overeem has 17 submission wins to his name (58-percent).

I know the fans are hoping for another slugfest and Griggs is probably planning on giving them one. That's why he falls on Saturday night.

Overeem by superior gameplan.

Betting lines (as of June 17): Chad Griggs (-130) vs. Valentijn Overeem (+100)

Prediction: Overeem via submission

That's a wrap, folks.

Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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