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Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Predictions




by Tim Stroud

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will continue Saturday at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX. The Grand Prix will pair two more quarterfinal match-ups with Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett.

In the first two quarterfinal fights, we saw Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva defeated Fedor Emelianenko by TKO (doctor stoppage) and Sergei Kharitonov beat Andrei Arlovski by KO to advance to the next round. If the fights on Saturday are anything like these two, we are in for a treat.

In the first two fights, Strikeforce decided to have a fourth judge on hand in case a fight ended in a draw. Since then, Zuffa, LLC purchased Strikeforce and decided to make a change. If either of the two quarterfinal fights ends in a draw, then there will be a sudden death round to find the winner. I think that this is a huge improvement because the fighters will get another opportunity to win and not leave it up to a fourth judge.

Here are my predictions for all five main card fights.

Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum

Overeem and Werdum have fought once before. They met each other at the Pride 2006 Openweight Grand Prix. Werdum took the victory by submission (Kimura) in the second round. Werdum is currently on a four fight win streak and he’s coming off the biggest win of his career, when he defeated Fedor Emelianenko on June 26, 2010. However, Overeem has won 9 of 10 (one no-contest) and is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. Werdum has a chance if this fight goes to the ground, but I see Overeem using his superior striking to win and advance to the next round.

Pick – Alistair Overeem

Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett

Rogers is coming off a rough stretch where he has only won once in his last three fights. Barnett has an impressive 26-5 record, but his biggest knock is that he has tested positive for anabolic steroids three times. Rogers can KO anyone at any time and Barnett likes to take guys down and get a submission, but he also has some power in his punches. If Rogers can stay on his feet, then he has a great shot at landing the knock-out shot, but I don’t see it happening. Barnett will use his experience and skills to take this fight to the ground and make Rogers tap.

Pick – Josh Barnett

KJ Noons vs. Jorge Masvidal

Noons and Masvidal is an intriguing match-up. They both rely on their boxing skills, but in different ways. Noons loves to throw the leather and get after his opponent, while Masvidal is more of a counter striker. Noons is coming off a tough decision loss to Nick Diaz, while Masvidal is coming off of a decision win. I see this fight staying on the feet and Noons will stop Masvidal for the win, and possible title opportunity.

Pick – KJ Noons

Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson

Here we have a battle of ground specialists. The undefeated Cormier and Monson are both wrestlers, but Monson is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Monson has a wealth of experience and has faced a lot of top fighters in MMA. This will be Cormier’s eighth fight and he hasn’t faced anyone as talented as Monson. With that said, I think Cormier uses his superior wrestling to take the veteran down and win a decision. This will be Cormier’s biggest win to date.

Pick – Daniel Cormier

Valentijn Overeem vs. Chad Griggs

Overeem, the less talented brother of Alistair, has a ton of experience, but just a 29-25 record. Overeem can strike and submit, but he is not great at either. Griggs, best known for defeating pro wrestler Bobby Lashley, is a no nonsense fighter. Griggs throws a lot of punches and he doesn’t back down. I see Griggs going right at Overeem and getting a KO or TKO in the first or second round.

Pick – Chad Griggs

Tim Stroud is a Kentucky-based writer. Follow him on Twitter @TheEntityMMA

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