Predictions for Strikeforce Live on Primetime TV


History will be made this weekend when Strikeforce begins its heavyweight Grand Prix tournament in a card headlined by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Fedor Emelianenko. The main event will actually be the second fight of the tournament as in the semi-main event. We will also see a fight between Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov.

If only for a few months, Strikeforce may be able to actually compete with the UFC in mainstream appeal, as they have stacked this tournament with some of the world’s top heavyweights. The winner will face Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, who is also fighting in the tournament.

The first round of the tournament will take place on Showtime this Saturday, Feb. 12 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

Let’s take a closer look at these two big fights in the first round of the tournament as well as the other excellent fights on this very important Strikeforce card

Valentijn Overeem is in fact the older brother At age 34, Overeem has been fighting since 1996.

He has competed for PRIDE Fighting Championship and RINGS. Valentijn is currently associated with Golden Glory where he trains with his younger brother Alistair. He holds notable wins over Renato Sobral and Randy Couture, both by submission. Overeem was born in Amersfoort, Netherlands[1]

Perhaps most interestingly, though, Overeem has only ever gone to a decision twice in his 53 fights and has not done so since 2003.

Known as more of a grappler than his brother, Valentijn will likely look to bring the fight to the ground against kickboxing legend Ray Sefo, who will be just two days away from his 40th birthday when he steps in the cage this Saturday.

Sefo has competed in professional boxing as well as having a long career in kickboxing but will be competing in just his third professional mixed martial arts fight.

Like almost all grappler-versus-kickboxer fights, this one will likely come down to how well Sefo can defend Overeem’s takedown attempts.

Chad “The Grave Digger” Griggs will face Gian Villante in a heavyweight bout that could very well steal the show. While both men weigh under 230-pounds for their fights, both are very active and could be considered as alternates for any potentially injured fighters in the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Griggs is coming off by far the most important win of his career when he punished the much-hyped Bobby Lashley and ended the fight via TKO when he forced the former WWE star to quit between rounds. Many thought that Griggs was brought in as a simple stepping-stone for Lashley who had been babied in his first few pro fights. It turned out, though, that Griggs was ready to play giant-killer and derail the Lashley hype train.

Villante is another very talented, young fighter who has made his name in New Jersey’s Ring of Combat organization, having assembled a 7-1 career record there before making his national debut in Strikeforce this Saturday night.

Both Griggs and Villante are used to bringing the pressure to their opponents and neither man has gone to a decision yet in his career. This includes a total of 18 fights between the two, 15 of which have ended by way of knockout.

Villante has only ever been out of the first round once in his career, which he then finished early in the second round by way of a head kick. While Griggs himself doesn’t have much experience outside of the first round, he has made it out of the second round in three fights in his career and does have the advantage of having previously fought before a national audience.

The fights on this show just keep producing interesting fights on Saturday’s all-heavyweight card will be the clash between “Big” Lavar Johnson and former Muay Thai fighter Shane Del Rosario.

Lavar Johnson actually made his MMA debut in 2004 at WEC 9 when he lost to Doug Marshall by corner stoppage after the first round. Not to be deterred, though, Johnson got right back into the cage just four months later, notching his first win when he knocked out his opponent in his second professional fight.

From then on, Johnson looked like a man on a mission and has assembled a career record of 15-3, with 13 of his wins coming by way of knockout and the two others by way of submission. In his 18 career professional fights, Johnson has only made it to the third round once.

Johnson’s well-documented rehabilitation from a shooting that took place in the summer of 2009 makes him an inspirational story as he took less than a year off before he got back in the cage and knocked out Lolohea Mahe in Mar. 2009.

On the other side of the cage will be the undefeated kickboxer, Shane Del Rosario. The former WBC Muay Thai Heavyweight Champion has put together an impressive undefeated 10-0 record in mixed martial arts, stopping all 10 fights in the first two rounds with only one going out of the first round.

Del Rosario’s Muay Thai history makes him a very dangerous fighter as he obviously possesses very impressive stand-up skills with pinpoint precision and lethal power.

In a fight that will likely end in the first round, look for a knockout one way or another.

he Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix begins with this very important fight between former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and kick boxer Sergei Kharitonov.

Arlovski is one of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts but is in the worst stretch of his professional career, having lost three consecutive fights for the first time.

“The Pitbull” has not won a fight since he defeated The Ultimate Fighter winner and current UFC star Roy Nelson in Oct. 2008. His three losses since have come against Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, and Antonio Silva—all of whom are also competing in the tournament.

Kharitonov has an impressive 17-4 career record and enters the tournament with four wins in his last five fights.

His claim to fame in recent years, though, is that he is the last man to have defeated the current Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem. It took him less than a round before he knocked out the “Demolition Man” in Sept. 2007.

The betting odds for this very important fight for both men are nearly even with Arlovski listed as the slight favorite in some locations.

In analyzing this fight, we really need to look at what each man has lost in recent years. With Kharitonov, the injuries and layoffs have left him a slower, less athletic man than what he was when he defeated Overeem. On the other hand, Arlovski seems to almost have lost his will to fight since his lost to Fedor.

This fight will likely end one of two ways—either an early first round knockout or a very boring decision where both men play it safe and there really aren’t many close calls.

he Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix begins with this very important fight between former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and kick boxer Sergei Kharitonov.

Arlovski is one of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts but is in the worst stretch of his professional career, having lost three consecutive fights for the first time.

“The Pitbull” has not won a fight since he defeated The Ultimate Fighter winner and current UFC star Roy Nelson in Oct. 2008. His three losses since have come against Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, and Antonio Silva—all of whom are also competing in the tournament.

Kharitonov has an impressive 17-4 career record and enters the tournament with four wins in his last five fights. Unfortunately, that streak has been over nearly a four year time span as he has battled through injuries, long layoffs between fights, and a somewhat unsuccessful start to his K-1 career.

His claim to fame in recent years, though, is that he is the last man to have defeated the current Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem. It took him less than a round before he knocked out the “Demolition Man” in Sept. 2007.

The betting odds for this very important fight for both men are nearly even with Arlovski listed as the slight favorite in some locations.

In analyzing this fight, we really need to look at what each man has lost in recent years. With Kharitonov, the injuries and layoffs have left him a slower, less athletic man than what he was when he defeated Overeem. On the other hand, Arlovski seems to almost have lost his will to fight since his lost to Fedor. In fact, he has even considered trading in his MMA gloves for boxing gloves.

This fight will likely end one of two ways—either an early first round knockout.

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