411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine
Nate Marquardt defends the welterweight title against Tarec Saffiedine in the Strikeforce’s final show! In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier takes on Dion Staring in a heavyweight bout. Also at heavyweight, Josh Barnett fights Nandor Guelmino. Plus, Gegard Mousasi fights Mike Kyle, Ed Herman vs. Jacare Souza, and more!
Patrick Mullin: Estevan Payan, Unanimous Decision
Jeremy Lambert: Payan, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: Estevan Payan, Decision
Alex Rella: Payan, Decision
The staff picks Estevan Payan, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: Adriano Martins, Unanimous Decision
Jeremy Lambert: Gurgel, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: Jorge Gurgel, Decision
Alex Rella: Gurgel, TKO, Round 2
The staff picks Jorge Gurgel, 3-1.
Patrick Mullin: KJ Noons, TKO, Round 3
Jeremy Lambert: Noons, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: Ryan Couture, Decision
Alex Rella: Couture, Decision
The staff calls it down the middle, 2-2.
Patrick Mullin: Tim Kennedy, Submission, Round 2
Jeremy Lambert: Kennedy, Submission, Round 1
Jeffrey Harris: Tim Kennedy, Submission, Round 1
Alex Rella: Kennedy, Submission, Round 2
The staff picks Tim Kennedy, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: Roger Gracie, Submission, Round 1
Jeremy Lambert: Gracie, Submission, Round 1
Jeffrey Harris: Roger Gracie, Submission, Round 1
Alex Rella: Gracie, Decision
The staff picks Roger Gracie, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: Pat Healy, Submission, Round 2
Jeremy Lambert: Healy, Submission, Round 3
Jeffrey Harris: Pat Healy, Decision
Alex Rella: Healy, TKO, Round 1
The staff picks Pat Healy, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: Good on Ed Herman to agree to take this fight on short notice. That ends the good I have to say about Ed Herman here as the only reason to watch this fight is to see what kind of show Jacare puts on. His improved striking should be enough to get Herman to shoot in for a takedown and as soon as he does he’s going to find himself in the danger zone. Jacare will then undoubtedly lock him up in a choke or submission and get a fairly easy victory before heading into the UFC.
Winner: Jacare Souza, Submission, Round One
Jeremy Lambert: We all know that the prediction for this fight is Herman by submission. Obligatory Dustin James joke aside, Souza should easily win this fight. Herman’s entire game is getting inside and clinching up. That’s not going to work well against Souza, who has very good takedowns from the clinch and will destroy Herman on the ground with his grappling. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Souza wants to keep the fight standing in order to showcase his ever improving boxing, but if Herman decides to clinch up, Souza likely won’t mess around too much and he’ll get the fight to ground where he’ll make short work of Herman.
Winner: Souza, Submission, Round 2
Jeffrey Harris: I see this fight going much the same way as Herman’s previous UFC fight with Demian Maia. Herman has shown a lot of improvement in recent fights, but I still find Souza to be a class above him. I think Souza uses his superior grappling to quickly take care of business.
Winner: Jacare Souza, Submission, Round One
Alex Rella: And Ed Herman becomes the only UFC fighter to get sent over to Strikeforce by Zuffa. Herman put together some solid wins from 2011-12 but he’s always had trouble with top grapplers. If Jake Shields could neutralize Herman, Souza is going to kill him. Herman may have a chance if Souza decides to show off his striking but my guess is he’ll go in for the quick submission since his standing in the UFC is uncertain.
Winner: Souza, Round 1, Submission
The staff picks Jacare Souza, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: This is an interesting fight. As good as Mousasi is at judging distance to set up his strikes, Mike Kyle throws caution to the wind and hits damn hard. I think Mousasi would be best served in this fight to use his grappling skills as that remains Kyle’s weak point and it will also serve to avoid Kyle’s power strikes. I think Mousasi can use his distance control to set up a clinch takedown opportunity by baiting Kyle in and once it hits the ground he can take advantage to set up a rear naked choke on Kyle in the second round after controlling the first via ground and pound.
Winner: Gegard Mousasi, Submission, Round 2
Jeremy Lambert: Honestly, this is the best fight in the main card, which really says something. I’m not that high on Kyle, but he has improved a lot of recent years and does have KO power. It’s possible that Kyle catches Mousasi with a power punch and ends his night or, more likely, of Kyle is going to win, he’ll need to use whatever wrestling he has to get Mousasi down. Of course, even if he does that, he still runs the risk of getting beat up or submitted as Mousasi is very active off his back with his striking and submissions. If it stays standing, Mousasi should be able to pick Kyle apart. And don’t be shocked of Mousasi gets Kyle down as he has some sick ground and pound. Kyle has a good chance early, but he’ll fade as the fight goes on and that’s when Mousasi will take over.
Winner: Mousasi, TKO, Round 2
Jeffrey Harris: Mousasi was a highly touted and much hyped prospect before he got derailed by King Mo when he lost the Strikeforce light heavyweight title. Mike Kyle is a career journey who granted has fought out of his natural weight class a lot but he’s always come out on the losing end of the bigger fights of his career. After throwing a whine fest over how his last fight with Rafael Cavalcante wasn’t going to determine a number one contender for a non-existent Strikeforce title, he was quickly destroyed by Feijao in their rematch. However that got overturned since Feijao pissed hot for steroids. If Mousasi is motivated and hungry he should take care of this quickly.
Winner: Gegard Mousasi, TKO, Round 1
Alex Rella: This should be the best fight on the main card. This is an important fight for both men and I expect them both to go all out. Kyle doesn’t have a definite job in the UFC and Mousasi wants to prove he’s a top contender. I think Mousasi has the advantage in this one but Kyle is a strong striker so he has a chance if he gets in some good shots. But I’ll take Mousasi has he’s just been the better fighter over his career and has only lost to Mo Lawal in Strikeforce.
Winner: Mousasi, Submission, Round 3
The staff picks Gegard Mousasi, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: I had to youtube Nandor Guelmino to see just exactly who he was and how he fights to make a proper judgement here. He’s a very muscular guy who likes to strike from a distance with 1-2 combinations. The problem is he doesn’t judge distance well and usually whiffs on those punches, he moves in straight lines back and forth, and when he gets hit he tries to go for desperation takedowns. This all plays right into Barnett’s hands as Josh will mix it up with just about anyone and by trying to go to the ground Nandor will take the fight into Josh’s wheelhouse. His defense on the ground is poor so I could see Josh winning here by ground and pound or submission, but because its Josh I’ll say a submission.
Winner: Josh Barnett, Submission, Round 1
Jeremy Lambert: I don’t know anything about Guelmino other than he sounds like a drug that Barnett has probably taken in the past. Barnett should easily win this fight, but because he is who he is, he’ll probably look rather unimpressive in doing so or he’ll take way too long to do so. Sooner or later though, Barnett will lock on some type of submission and then do his pro wrestling act in victory.
Winner: Barnett, Submission, Round 2
Jeffrey Harris: Despite his issues, Barnett is still arguably one of the best heavyweight fighters outside of the UFC today. Nandor Guelmino just seems the type of tomato can match-up Barnett enjoyed a great deal out of when he was fighting the likes of Gilbert Yvel, Geronimo dos Santos, and Pedro Rizzo. Barnett will utilize his catch wrestling and submit Guelmino in the first or second round.
Winner: Josh Barnett, Submission, Round 2
Alex Rella: I’ll be honest, I had no idea who Guelmino was before this fight was announced. Barnett is still one of the best heavyweights in the world and I really hope he gets another chance in the UFC. I expect Barnett to get an easy submission.
Winner: Barnett, Submission, Round 1
The staff picks Josh Barnett, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: If the idea was to put Cormier in with an opponent he can absolutely have his way with then mission accomplished. Staring is a slow fighter who likes to throw lead leg kicks which sets him up perfectly to be taken down by the Olympian. He doesn’t like to jab much and when strikes are thrown at him he tends to cover up and backpedal quickly, so Cormier will have a shot to show off his improved striking if he so desires. Ultimately this one looks like its shaping up to be a real beatdown and showcase for DC until he makes his octagon debut.
Winner: Daniel Cormier, TKO, Round 1
Jeremy Lambert: All I know about Staring is that he trains with the Blackzilians and gets beat up by Alistair Overeem in practice. Unless he catches Cormier with the perfect punch, which is very possible, especially at heavyweight, he’s screwed in this fight. Cormier is a good striker in his own right and I wouldn’t be shocked if he decides to use this fight to continue to sharpen his striking. Of course if things don’t go well on the feet, Cormier can just revert to his world-class wrestling, put Staring on his back, and beat him up. I figure that’s going to happen anyway, as Staring will throw a leg kick, end up on the ground, and get pounded out rather quickly.
Winner: Cormier, TKO, Round 1
Jeffrey Harris: Provided Cormier is focused he should take care of business here easily. Staring’s got a lot of fights, but his resume and opponents is not all that impressive and he’s been finished many times. Cormier will come with much better wrestling and he’s got dangerous hands. Cormier wins this one.
Winner: Daniel Cormier, TKO, Round 1
Alex Rella: Cormier recently said the 20-1 odds are disrespectful to Staring and he thinks it will be a competitive fight. I think Cormier is just a really classy guy and is trying to be nice. Staring has trained with Overeem, the Blackzillians, and is on a six fight winning streak but Cormier should still finish this pretty quickly. This is a chance for him to show off his skills before coming over to the UFC. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if Staring made it a little interesting and got into the second round.
Winner: Cormier, TKO, Round 1
The staff picks Daniel Cormier, 4-0.
Patrick Mullin: Nate Marquardt will end his time in purgatory atoning for his sins against Zuffa defending his Strikeforce welterweight title against striker Tarec Saffiedine. Marquardt is a former King of Pancrase but I don’t really remember the last time he impressed me with his grappling which is the easiest way to fight Saffiedine. He’s going to have to stand with the Belgian, but the good news is that his height and reach should provide him with built in defense against Saffiedine’s powerful strikes and force him to take chances to get inside. Marquardt showed off some particularly good close range striking against Saffiedine conqueror Tyron Woodley and I’d expect him to do it again here. He’ll probably use it to wear him down and set up a submission for a successful defense.
Winner: Nate Marquardt, Submission, Round 4
Jeremy Lambert: I like Saffiedine and think he’s better than a lot of people give him credit for, but this is a bad match up for him. Marquardt is a well-rounded fighter who can mess a lot of people up when he decides to turn on the aggression. His problem is that he doesn’t turn on the aggression enough. Despite that flaw, he’s still a better fighter than Saffiedine, and unless Saffiedine can keep things at a distance and out-strike Marquardt, I don’t see how he wins this fight. Saffiedine is an underrated wrestler, but his best takedowns come from the clinch, and even if I thought he could put Marquardt down, he doesn’t want to clinch up with Marquardt were he runs the risk of getting beat up with dirty boxing. It’s also possible that Marquardt, an underrated wrestler and strong grappler, decides to turn the tables and put Saffiedine on his back. If Marquardt fights cautious, then he could lose this fight. But given the fact that he has 25-minutes, sooner or later he’ll press the action, overwhelm Saffiedine, and head back to the UFC.
Winner: Marquardt, TKO, Round 3
Jeffrey Harris: Saffiedine’s Strikeforce run has been overall unimpressive and he gets this shot more out of the fact that there are no other contenders at welterweight for Marquardt to legimitely face. Saffiedine lost to the previous contender in Tyron Woodley, who Marquardt was the first guy to beat and finish. Saffiedine is a decent grappler, but I doubt he will be able to submit Marquardt who has much better submission defense. Marquardt is a much better striker and kickboxer of the level Saffiedine is not used to facing. Marquardt finishes this or gets the decision win.
Winner: Nate Marquardt, Decision
Alex Rella: I was hoping Kazuo Misaki would get the last title shot but Strikeforce decided to be stupid and not utilize the veteran. So Saffiedine gets the title shot because there isn’t anybody else around. I don’t think Saffiedine is anything great but he is a solid grappler with a good chin, so I do expect this to go to the later rounds. Saffiedine has never been finished in his career but he’s also never gone up against a striker like Marquardt before. Marquardt should get a strong finish as he goes back to the UFC. The top of the UFC’s welterweight division is pretty crowded but another KO victory would place him near a title shot.
Winner: Marquardt, TKO, Round 4
The staff picks Nate Marquardt, 4-0.
Remember to join 411’s coverage of Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine on Saturday night!