by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
STRIKEFORCE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP:
JAKE SHIELDS VS. JASON MILLER
Former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields faces off with eccentric grappler Jason “Mayhem” Miller for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title. Both fighters are grapplers, so don’t be too surprised if this fight ends up being a very entertaining ground battle.
Shields is on an absolute tear, not losing a single fight in the last five years. He has arguably been one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts during that span. Miller is known for eccentric antics and entrances before the fight but is all business when the fight starts
Shields is the much better ground fighter of the two and he will prove that once the fight gets there. The one area of the fight that Miller has Shields’ number is on the feet, but the problem there is whether or not Miller can keep the fight standing long enough to do any serious damage and turn the fight in his favor.
Look for Shields to control the fight on the ground and throw every submission possible en route to a decision victory.
GEGARD MOUSASI VS. RAMEAU THIERRY SOKOUDJOU
Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi faces off with Team Quest judoka Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. These two were originally scheduled to meet at Dream 11, but a shoulder injury prevented Mousasi from participating in the fight. Don’t expect these two fighters to let the fight go to a decision as they always leave bring it when they fight.
Mousasi has been on the rise and he showed that in his debut for Strikeforce when he destroyed Renato “Babalu” Sobral in little over a minute of action. Sokoudjou was thought to be the next big thing, but a couple losses in the UFC changed everyone’s opinion rather quickly.
This fight will be a non-title affair, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue, as Mousasi should have no problems in this fight. Mousasi is the much better fighter on the feet and the ground. Look for him to tag Sokoudjou on the feet and finish the fight on the ground late in the opening round.
FABRICIO WERDUM VS. ANTONIO SILVA
Talented heavyweight grappler Fabricio Werdum faces off with former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva. This fight will help determine a challenger to the Strikeforce heavyweight championship. Neither fighter has trouble finishing his opponents, so don’t be surprised if this fight doesn’t see the judges.
Silva showed some versatility in his last fight, finishing with a submission when it became obvious that his opponent could take a punch. Werdum got back on track with an impressive submission victory in his last fight and will look to feed on that momentum.
Werdum needs to waste no time and take the fight to the ground where he will have the advantage and can eventually lock on a submission, but Silva will be tough to take down because of his size. Silva will be looking to knock Werdum’s head off and could very well end up doing that.
This is really a pick’em fight with both fighters having a 50-50 chance to win.
ROXANNE MODAFFERI VS. MARLOES COENEN
Japanese trained American fighter Roxanne Modafferi faces off with Dutch destroyer Marloes Coenen. Coenen was originally scheduled to fight Erin Toughill, but she pulled out due to medical issues. This is a number one contender’s fight for the Strikeforce women’s title, as winner will fight Cris “Cyborg” Santos next year for the title.
Modafferi is taking the fight on only about two weeks notice, so she will look to finish as quickly as possible. She might not have the cardio to go a full three rounds.
Modafferi has the advantage on the ground and needs to waste no time in getting the fight there. Coenen on the other hand will look to finish the fight on the feet, where she has the advantage.
This is another close fight to call because of the late notice for Modafferi has for the fight so expect it to go either way.