Saturday, July 14, 2012

Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy preview

Anyone remember the last Strikeforce event?

It was in May when the Heavyweight Grand Prix ended. If it's not clear that Strikeforce is on its way out, I think people are kidding themselves.

I see tonight's two title fights as preparation to retire the company as soon as the contract allows it. Getting champions in each weight class creates unification bouts, something that has a proven history of selling when the titles mean something.

I'm not sure if these fights make them mean something, but my expectation is that the fights tonight represent a setup to some fights later on.

So let's start with the Middleweight title fight between champion Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy. Rockhold and Kennedy were each impressive in their last showings.

Rockhold is a predominantly ground-based fighter, sitting at a brown belt in BJJ, but he's shown some stand-up abilities. Kennedy has made his name as a veteran of the military but recently defeated Robbie Lawler to show his in-ring prowess.

The difference here, I feel, is that Rockhold is a bad match for Kennedy. He's struggled in the past with BJJ guys (See: Jacare Souza) and I feel the same will be true here.

He won't be able to finish him, but I take Rockhold by decision.

The other title fight is for the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight title, as Nate Marquardt faces off with Tyron "The Black Jon Fitch" Woodley.

My general rule for this bout is that an elite middleweight moving down in weight class is more than a match for a lay-and-pray specialist. I'll take Nate by KO 1.

Rest of the Main Card:

Middleweights: Keith Jardine v. Roger Gracie - It's a Gracie, and he's shown more than the 0 stand-up his relatives had. I'll take Gracie by Submission in Round 2.

Middleweights: Robbie Lawler v. Lorenz Larkin - Friend of the Blog Larkin is undefeated still, thanks to King Mo's stupidity. He moves down in class to fight a top middleweight contender. I take Larkin's size and boxing over Lawler's. He wins by decision.

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