MMANonstop Fight Night Picks – Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum
Valentijn Overeem vs. Chad Griggs:
Mark: In this fight, I think both of these guys will be looking to keep the fight standing, and although he hasn’t shown the same potential as his brother, I’m giving Overeem the experience advantage over Chad Griggs which will make the difference in the judges eyes. Give me Overeem by decision.
Brendan: These two men are going to meet in the center of the cage and throw some serious leather until one of them gets caught. Although Valentijn is the older brother of SF HW Champ, don’t sleep on Chad Griggs – a 10-1 fighter who has yet to hear the 15 min bell, Griggs has finished all but three of his opponents in the first round. I see Griggs catching Overeem in the middle of the firefight, and following him to the ground to finish with a 1st round TKO stoppage.
Brian: While Overeem has a distinct advantage in experience, I have to say that Griggs is going to finish this one mid-late first round. He has devastating hands, and I see a TKO in Overeem’s future, and he won’t be on the fun side of it.
Jordan: I am very excited for all the HW fights on the main event portion of the card. Like my peers have said, these fighters are going to throw punches and it should be enjoyable to watch. I think this fight will go to the second round where someone is going to get caught, and that someone is Overeem. I am taking Griggs via TKO in the 2nd.
Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson:
Mark: This is another fight where there is an apparent discrepancy in the experience factor, but I believe that will actually be a disadvantage to Jeff Monson. He’s much older and has too many miles to keep up with a beast like Daniel Cormier. Monson does have a dangerous jiu jitsu game, but Cormier’s athleticism and wrestling chops will prevail. I see Cormier wearing down Monson in the first with more of the same to start the second round where shortly thereafter he finishes the fight. I’ll take Cormier via 2nd round TKO
Brendan: With the history of these two fighters, fans should expect to see a fast-paced affair. This is a classic “Old Lion vs. New Lion” matchup and I anticipate we will see the passing of the torch from Monson to Cormier. Although I don’t see Cormier stopping the “Snowman” I do see the young gun pushing the pace and earning the Split Decision.
Brian: Here’s a fight just like the previous one, one up and comer, and one grizzly vet of the cage. I see this one going the other way though. Daniel Cormier is a big dude and 5’11″ and @250, but I think Monson takes the kid the distance and wins this 29-28 on all three judges cards.
Jordan: When Shane Del Rosario was injured and pulled out of the fight, Strikeforce stepped up and brought in the veteran Jeff Monson who has 53 pro fights in his career. Daniel Cormier is a former Olympian and an NCAA All-American. Cormier’s wrestling and overall athleticism will wear down and prove why he is top prospect in the Heavyweight Division. Listening to Monson in pre-fight interviews, he doesn’t sound like his confidence is very high for this fight and I have him losing via a 3rd round via TKO.
KJ Noons vs. Jorge Masvidal:
Mark: This is the fight I’m most intrigued to see. With a potential title shot vs. Gilbert Melendez on the horizon, both of these guys will be looking to impress. As unsure as I am as to which way to lean, I’m supremely confident that this fight NEVER hits the mat. I expect a stand up war from both guys with guns blazing. My feeling is that Noons will be extra motivated knowing that a victory could put him on track to bigger fights and bigger paydays and I think he pulls out a close decision. Noons by majority decision
Brendan: Noon’s has the paper advantage in techincal boxing skills, but “Gamebred” has proven he’s no slouch when it comes to the striking game. With rumors spiraling that the winner of this fight will certainly be considered a frontrunner for the next title-shot (along with the winner of the “JZ” Calvalcante vs. Justin Wilcox). With that in mind I see both fighters taking a conservative approach in hopes to secure their title-shot, however only one can prevail – that one will be K.J. Noons by Unanimous Decision.
Brian: There are so many little pieces to this fight. Noons is making his first cut down to 155 since signing with Strikeforce and just pushed Nick Diaz the distance in his last fight, which isn’t easy to do. Masvidal has faced some pretty stiff competition in his time, and I don’t think he’ll fall for another inverted triangle, but I do think he loses this fight if the weight cut doesn’t really affect Noons. A big “IF”. I’ll still say Noons late in the 2nd via tapout, RNC.
Jordan: I have been impressed with both of these fighters in their previous fights, but I don’t see either of them getting the finish. This is my pick for FOTN and I think we are going to see both of these fighters stand and try to work their game. Masvidal is focused on Noons, while it seems like KJ is focused on winning a LW title. I think despite the distraction, Noons will end up winning this via Unanimous Decision.
Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal bout – Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett:
Mark: With his checkered past at the forefront of much of the prefight hype surrounding Josh Barnett, one would think that his focus would not be squarely placed on facing The Grim this Saturday. Rogers has knockout power that Barnett will have to contend with, but I think he’ll be able to close the distance on Rogers to negate his power and then put his on his back without much difficulty. From there, I see Barnett finding an easy submission and moving on in the Grand Prix. Give me Barnett via 1st round submission (Americana or Kimura for bonus points)
Brendan: The “Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett will not get any free passes on his journey through the Strikeforce HW Grand Prix, as he is scheduled to face Brett “the Grim” Rogers in the co-main event on Saturday. The game plan here is clear – Barnett needs to take Rogers to the ground using his superior catch-wrestling skills, and then utilize his top-game to overpower “the Grim” into a TKO stoppage. I see this exact scenario playing out mid-to-late 2nd round, with Barnett advancing to meet Sergei Kharitonov in the next round.
Brian: Barnett, the cagey veteran, versus the rough and tumble straightforward puncher Brett Rogers. While I haven’t seen the lines on this one, I am assuming Rogers is the underdog, but I’ll give him the edge in this fight. Barnett hasn’t been in the cage in a year, and I imagine he’ll be a little rusty. UPSET Alert. Rogers via TKO early in the 2nd.
Jordan: When many people first saw the brackets for the Strikeforce HW Grand Prix, they predicted Josh Barnett would be moving out of his bracket and into the finals. This first round matchup against Brett Rogers should be entertaining, and Rogers always has a chance that he can catch Barnett, but I agree with the odds makers that Barnett is moving on in the bracket. My guess is via a 2nd Round TKO.
Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal bout – Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum:
Mark: This fight is a great stylistic matchup. Overeem has the world class striking credentials while Werdum is a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Vai Cavalo was about to catch lightning in a bottle against Fedor Emelianenko in a colossal upset, but I’m sure Overeem learned enough from that fight to avoid wandering into the Brazilian’s guard. Look for Overeem to land a few power shots in the first while he finds his range and avoids the takedown attempts before closing the deal in the 2nd by dropping Werdum with strikes and then swarming him on the ground. Overeem by 2nd round TKO.
Brendan: It’s about TIME!! With the hype surrounding this fight I can hardly sit still long enough to write my predictions. Given Werdum’s last fight with Fedor, and the “Demolition Man’s” utter destruction of 9 of his last 10 opponents in the first round, don’t get up to get a drink/go to the bathroom/call your wife…don’t even blink! I see Overeem taking the center of the cage, unloading with a barrage of strikes knocking Werdum to the ground and then forcing him back to his feet to stand and bang. It will be a short night for Werdum with Overeem scoring the KO victory in the 1st.
Brian: This one, I have gone back and forth with multiple times. Barry Bonds….I mean, Allistair Overeem has the obvious advantage on the feet and is an absolute beast of a striker, and Werdum has basically not had a “gimme” fight since late 2005. It’s difficult because I want to say that I think Werdum keeps his upset streak alive and pulls this one out…but I can’t. Overeem by KO in the 1st, and Rogers will eventually get a rematch.
Jordan: As much as I want lightning to strike twice, I do not see Werdum picking up the upset victory. This fight was supposed to set up the super fight between Overeem v. Fedor Emelianenko, but the The Last Emporer’s loss to Antonio Silva in the opening matches of the HW Grand Prix will force us to wait. Overeem wins this fight in the first round via KO and depending on his performance, may put him among the top 3 HW’s in the world.
Mark: Noons v. Masvidal
Brendan: Noons v. Masvidal
Brian: Cavalcante v Wilcox
Jordan: Noons v. Masvidal
Mark: Allistair Overeem
Brendan: Allistair Overeem
Brian: Brett Rogers
Jordan: Allistair Overeem
Mark: Josh Barnett
Brendan: Magno Almeida
Brian: KJ Noons
Jordan: Magno Almeida
Brian Churchin co-hosts the MMANonstop.com Podcast and he created his series “The Book On…” exclusively for MMANonstop.com, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan Churchin examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on MMANonstop.com. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48
Jordan runs the MMANonstop.com twitter feed and co-hosts the MMANonstop.com Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/nonstopmma