Friday, January 7, 2011

Strikeforce Challengers 13: What to Watch For

Tonight’s edition of Strikeforce Challengers features some unusually worthwhile match-ups – unusual because these Challengers events are often half the calories of a regular Strikeforce yet half the flavor.  But that’s not the case with this one, though.  In the main event, two welterweights who’ve made the most of their tenure on Showtime will meet in a clash between beastly wrestler and thrilling striker, while on the undercard another storied judo guy steps into the cage and a pair of ladies clash to determine who may be worthy enough to be sacrificed to the organization’s 145-pound goddess of war sometime in the future.  So if you tune into Showtime tonight (which is free thanks to a weekend-long preview), this is what to watch for:

  • Daniel Cormier, Devin Cole and the reason why these two heavyweights aren’t in Strikeforce’s big heavyweight tournament – Cormier is still pretty green and Cole’s best days were in the IFL.  Plus, they haven’t quite embraced the art of “stand and bang”.  However, with the myth of Bobby Lashley dispelled, someone’s going to need to take his place as “big badass wrestler”.  Can Cormier do it?
  • Rhadi Ferguson, who might contain within his repertoire the next highlight-reel judo throw – Or he might not.  Years ago the MMA world was keen on this guy committing to cagefighting.  But that was then, and as Father Time is not kind to fighters, one has to wonder if Ferguson can still put opponents on their asses.  The UFC has Dong Hyun Kim and Bellator has Rick Hawn.  Will Ferguson be Strikeforce’s resident judoka? 
  • Julie Budd, Amanda Nunes and the question of “Who will Cyborg kill in 2011?” – Really, these ladies are both kind of short on the experience necessary to give the champ any kind of trouble.  Unfortunately, who else is going to step into the cage with her?  Nick Diaz?  Robbie Lawler?
  • Ovince Saint Preux, Abongo Humphrey and the inevitable Brandon Vera fight – Let’s face it, with Vera recently cut by the UFC, chances are either Saint Preux or Humphrey (or both) will be facing him in Strikeforce soon.  So which one will it be?  The athletic dude who moves around a lot or the dude that stands and takes a lot of punishment?
  • Tarec Saffiedine, Tyron Woodley and the next big Strikeforce welterweight – Thus far we’ve Saffiedine kick ass and Woodley kick ass, so this match-up promises to be a big dose of awesome.  Also, depending on who wins and how, Strikeforce could have its next big 170-pound star (as opposed to just “rising star”, which these guys already are).  Who will it be?

UFC to Counter Strikeforce Tournament with "Best of TUF" Tournament

In response to the upcoming Strikeforce heavyweight tournament announced earlier this week, the UFC has begun formulating plans for a “rebuttal” of epic proportions – this one involving an eight-man tournament of their own consisting of some of the best, most-compelling fighters to ever grace the TUF House.  The “Best of TUF” event is scheduled for February 12, the same night of Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko/Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski/Sergei Kharitonov match-ups, and the UFC’s star-studded ION-broadcast roster includes:

  • Jason Thacker – The dark horse of TUF’s first season, few believed in Thacker’s ability, but for about a minute and 34 seconds at the TUF 1 Finale, he gave Chris Leben all he could handle.  Then Leben knocked him out.
  • Danny Abbadi – The karate man extraordinaire of TUF 3, Abbadi made waves in the show when he refused to change his underwear for days on end.
  • Marlon Sims – Although he may have been a substandard fighter in the cage, TUF 5’s Sims was a beast on patio concrete.  Watch out, porchfighters!
  • Jon Koppenhaver, aka “War Machine” – This TUF 6er doesn’t crap in toilet bowls.  Not even while in jail.  Enough said.
  • Junie Browning – If TUF 8 had a “bad boy”, then it was Browning.  Coincidently, if MMA had a painful, infected cyst that needed to be lanced and then treated with antibiotics, it was Browning.
  • Kimbo Slice – Come on, even a TUF 10 vet’s gotta eat.