Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson" from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is all set to rock the Chicago suburbs tomorrow night (July 30) 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 non-televised portion of the card much earlier in the evening.
With a title like "Fedor vs. Henderson," it's pretty clear what the talk of the town has been as we inch closer to Saturday night. Will famed Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko be able to reclaim his position as one of the world's top heavyweights? Or will Dan Henderson drop the iron curtain on the former PRIDE champion and send him to his third consecutive loss?
In short, be prepared for a kick-ass night of fights.
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.: "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) vs. Dan "Hendo" Henderson (27-8)
Nostradumbass predicts: If Jon Jones moved up to heavyweight to fight Brock Lesnar, I'd probably be excited. Dan Henderson packing on a whopping extra pound to fight Fedor Emelianenko? Not so much. I know, I know, blasphemy, right?
Anyone who has had the misfortune of following my predictions throughout the years knows I've enjoyed many candlelit dinners and fireplace snuggles with Fedor's nuts, but this is a silly match-up, even for me, and one that skates by on the fading starpower of its two names.
Sure, "Hendo" is the light heavyweight champion and a mixed martial arts legend, but he turns 41 in less than a month, has competed at 185-pounds and for all the talk about the "H-Bomb," has gone to the scorecards just as often. That's what happens when you have a limited skill set, which he does, because he wins by way of knockout or wrestlemania.
27 wins, two submissions.
What makes him such a great fighter is that he's accomplished so much with so little. I don't think it's an insult to say he doesn't have the most technical striking or high level jiu-jitsu, nor is it an insult to think he'll lose tomorrow night.
You want to say Henderson's right hand is as dangerous as Fedor's? Or that his wrestling is as good as the Russian's Sambo? Well, let's say those things are equal, I still have to go with the fighter who is not only faster, but bigger.
It really is that simple.
Emelianenko has been down on his luck lately and the "Bigfoot" beatdown was a tough pill to swallow, but he's the same fighter he's always been and like Henderson, he hasn't evolved much over the years. I can watch a PRIDE fight from either combatant and it won't look much different than their last outing.
Having said that, with comparable skill sets, an older, talented and still-dangerous heavyweight beats an older, talented and still-dangerous
middleweight light heavyweight. That's my prediction and I'm sticking to it.
Betting lines (as of July 29): Fedor Emelianenko (-250) vs. Dan Henderson (+190)
Prediction: Emelianenko via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Marloes "Rumina" Coenen (19-4) vs. Miesha "Takedown" Tate (11-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: A lot of write-ups I've seen covering this fight have been critical of Marloes Coenen based on her recent performance against Liz Carmouche, especially now that "Girl-Rilla" was handled by Sarah Kaufman at last weekend's "Challengers" event.
I'm not sure how fair that is for a couple of reasons.
"Rumina" took the Carmouche fight on short notice and Kaufman is a former champion. But more importantly, Coenen won. Don't tell me Anderson Silva pulled off comeback of the year against Chael Sonnen but then Marloes is an Amstercan with the same performance.
What it did highlight is her takedown defense, or lack thereof.
That will definitely be a problem against Tate, who isn't called "Takedown" because she likes Bob Seger. In fact, I expect this thing to go south sooner rather than later, as Coenen is the better technical striker and will have a distinct advantage for however long this thing stays upright.
The big question here is how well Tate can find the balance between aggressive top control and reckless abandon. She needs to make the most of her wrestling to score points, but she must also maintain discipline and stay out of the submission as Coenen has already proven what she can do off her back.
I believe Tate will execute her gameplan, much like she did against Hitomi Akano nearly a year ago, winning the judges in three of the five rounds and stealing the strap -- assuming the layoff doesn't leave her gasping for air in the championship rounds.
Betting lines (as of July 29): Marloes Coenen (-125) vs. Miesha Tate (-105)
Prediction: Tate via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Tyron "T-Wood" Woodley (8-0) vs. Paul "Semtex" Daley (27-10-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: Anyone giving Paul Daley much of a chance here? I'm not. He's called "Semtex" because his hands are explosive. Just ask Scott Smith, who lost the ability to chew solid food back in December 2010. Unfortunately the British bricklayer has the takedown defense of a newborn calf. Just ask Josh Koscheck, who neutralized his biggest weapon at UFC 113 just over a year ago.
That begs the question: How arrogant is Tyron Woodley?
I find it hard to believe an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler would "stand and bang" against someone with Daley's power. If he does, he deserves to kiss canvas. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see him shoot at the touch of gloves because if we've learned anything about the various disciplines that mixed martial arts comprises, it's that wrestling>everything else.
You would think a guy like Daley, who will have his fortieth professional fight tomorrow night, would eventually take some time away from assaulting the heavy bag and work submissions from his back. In this camp he should be doing it from sunrise to sundown. In fact, he could go the last six weeks without throwing one strike and still have the better hands against "T-Wood."
There isn't much to dissect here. "Semtex" has more experience, better hands and ridiculous power. What he doesn't have is the ground game to stay competitive against a wrestler of Woodley's caliber, which means the boo-birds will have plenty of ammunition at the Sears Centre.
Prediction: Woodley via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: It's too bad Robbie Lawler can't make welterweight, because I would love to see a bomb-off between him and Paul Daley. Since he can't, he'll continue to swim with 185-pound sharks, including Tim Kennedy on tomorrow night's card.
So, what do you need to know about this fight?
Kennedy has 13 wins, seven of which have come by way of submission (54%). Lawler has seven losses, five of which have come by way of submission (71%). You don't need the abacus to figure this one out: Lawler is toast.
I like that Kennedy talks a good game heading into each contest. We knew he could play soldier. But who knew he could play salesman? Remember when he said he was going to outstrike Melvin Manhoef? (I said he was a salesman, I didn't say he was a good one.)
Anyway, "Ruthless" Robbie, a 10-year veteran of the sport, is a powerful striker and tough as nails, but the former Green Beret knows a thing or two about tactical warfare.
Bad decisions get you killed.
He has serviceable hands, but Kennedy is here to win because he desperately wants that championship rematch against "Jacare" Souza and I don't believe he's willing to risk that just to prove a point tomorrow night. The blueprint will be shoot, control, submit.
Betting lines (as of July 29): Tim Kennedy (-280) vs. Robbie Lawler (+220)
Prediction: Kennedy via submission
170 lbs.: Tarec "The Sponge" Saffiedine (10-3) vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (17-8)
Nostradumbass predicts: Here's my favorite Scott Smith stat: In his last 10 fights, he's been the betting favorite just once, a 2008 clash against Terry Martin at Strikeforce: "Destruction."
He's managed to defy the odds on five separate occasions.
Against Saffiedine, "Hands of Steel" is once again the underdog, but I don't believe we'll see his patented comeback finish this time out. In fact, we may never see it again.
In order to have a "comeback," you have to first be losing. How often do we see a Scott Smith fight where he dominates from bell to bell? Not often. He's also 32 now and has taken a Nogueira-esque amount of punishment in his career.
True, he only has four (T)KO losses on his record, but the knockout loss to Paul Daley was chilling to watch and he was getting his ass whooped by Cung Le in both fights following the beating he took at the hands of Nick Diaz.
I just don't know how much more abuse he can take. And now that he's shed some pounds to make welterweight, I'm not convinced he still has the "Hands of Steel."
Saffiedine, a black belt in Shihaishinkai karate, still has a long way to go before he can call himself elite, but in this fight he's an easy pick for me because he's younger, quicker and much more technical with his strikes.
I don't expect him to finish the wily veteran, but I do expect him to control the stand-up for the better part of three rounds.
Prediction: Saffiedine via unanimous decision
That's a wrap, folks.
Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson."
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.