As with every major event, we're happy to bring you our picks for Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson.
Event: Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson
Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime
Location: Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Main Card (Showtime)
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson
Kid Nate: Fedor isn’t Fedor anymore. Henderson is 40 but has looked pretty good lately...Fedor by decision in an ugly fight.
Brent Brookhouse: I just don’t see much of a reason to pick Henderson here. Fedor is aging but he isn’t showing an old chin. He takes punishment fine from what I can see. It’s not like Henderson is going to wrestle effectively here and on the feet it’s Fedor with the much better chance of landing a fight ending punch. Henderson doesn’t have the speed or style to try to fight in and out on a bigger foe so it should be fairly one sided. Fedor Emelianenko by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Predicting the utter collapse of Fedor Emelianenko based on getting caught in a triangle by a BJJ master and taking a spirited beating from a man outweighing him by 50 pounds is insane. Absolutely insane. Doubly so when the man opposite the cage is on the wrong side of 40. Even if Dan can land one of those regrettably-named "H-bombs," we saw Fedor take huge shots from "Bigfoot" in February. Fedor Emelianenko by decision.
Leland Roling: It’s difficult to gauge exactly how much Fedor has slowed in recent years. His striking is still formidable to any and all comers despite the technical deficiencies we’ve seen in it. He still possesses the grappling chops to wreak havoc on unsuspecting opponents, and he’s still considered one of the toughest fighters to finish in the sport. I think a lot of people forget that Fedor somehow miraculously escaped full mount at the hands of a much heavier Antonio Silva. Henderson’s power is the greatest threat to Fedor, but in the other areas of this fight -- I’m having a hard time seeing Hendo pull off a win. Henderson’s wrestling is far from an Olympic level in mixed martial arts. He’s been taken down easily by top notch fighters, and I think Fedor will eventually find a way to get it to the ground where he runs rampant on Henderson’s weak grappling game. Fedor Emelianenko via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Fedor is slowing down, his striking is getting sloppier, and he has been controlled on the ground recently. He’s as vulnerable and ‘human’ as we’ve seen him in his career. Those are the reasons why some people are picking Hendo, but I don’t think he’s the guy who will take advantage on those growing flaws. Fedor is the much bigger and stronger guy, so Dan won’t be able to control him on the ground. Let’s also not pretend that he’s some godly technical striker who can pick his opponent apart. He has a bomb of a right hand, but that’s about it. If he can land it perfectly, he can win, but I think Fedor will pull it off. He has a solid chin, he’s bigger, stronger, and I think, the better striker between the two. So while I haven’t been able to shake off this weird feeling that we might see Fedor out cold.. I don’t think my gut-feel is enough reason to pick against logic. Fedor Emelianenko by Decision.
Matt Bishop: I think both fighters are (obviously) nearly the end of their runs (at least that’s what it looks like), but that doesn’t mean that this can’t be a classic. I really get the feeling these two are going to engage in a near-classic in this one. A lot of fans have been looking forward to this fight (and understandably so) and I don’t think they’ll be disappointed. I think Fedor can take Henderson down and that’s his key to victory. We must also cannot forget that Rafael Cavalcante dropped Henderson in their March fight. Combine these things together and I think Fedor snaps his losing streak. Fedor Emelianenko by decision.
K.J. Gould: Neither guy is in their primes but when it comes to knock down drag out fights I’m going to favour the gritty wrestler over the gritty sambist. Fujita made a prime Fedor do the fish dance, Henderson deffinitely has the power to put away the Fedor of 2011. Dan Henderson by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: These are two of my absolute all time favorites, and choosing between them is bringing me physical pain. Henderson has two avenues to victory - either out grapple and control his opponent, or land that giant KO. Fedor has the size and grappling skill to avoid option A, and despite his recent troubles, I still think he has the stand up skills and the chin to avoid option B. I think he’ll be able to outwork Henderson over the 15 minutes. I really hope this doesn’t end with Fedor KO’d, but it could. Fedor Emelianenko by Decision
Dallas Winston: When one punch can change everything, it’s hard to say that anyone is a bad match up for the guy with the best one-punch power in MMA. Other than that, Fedor is fully equipped for Hendo as long as he’s prepared for a dogfight. Heavyweights a minimum of sixty-pounds heavier struggled to ground him from the clinch, and his hips are lightning fast from his guard. Unless Fedor just plants and bombs (which he has, in fact, been doing), the only way I see Hendo winning is by cracking the cyborg’s outer shell and spilling hydraulic fluid onto the canvas. As Bas Rutten would say: Fetter Emelianenko by decision.
Matt Roth: I love America. A lot. As such, I really can’t pick against an American, especially when they are fighting a Russian. Henderson’s wrestling has been overstated as has Fedor’s decline in skill. That being said, my jingoism will prevent me from picking Fedor in this fight. Henderson will knock him out and retire Fedor in the middle of the cage on Saturday night. Dan Henderson by Knockout.
Tim Burke: For all of his wrestling accolades, Dan Henderson has been taken down by a lot of guys over the course of his career. And for all the hype about Fedor’s power that was generated by his North American run, he’s still a grappler at heart and that’s the game he wants to play. Fedor’s never been murdered by one shot in his career, and I don’t see the H-bomb being that first time. Fedor controls the fight on the ground, beats Hendo up, and coasts to a career-saving win. Fedor Emelianenko by decision
Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate
Kid Nate: Coenen ends up on her back against any opponent who has any wrestling. She is the champ because she’s dangerous off her back. She’ll have five long rounds to submit Tate. Coenen by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Tate is only better in one area, wrestling. But that’s an area that can decide a fight with ease. Still, Coenen should be able to fight off her back effectively and maybe grab a submission as well as winning the portions of each round spent contested on the feet. Tough call but I’ll go with Marloes Coenen by submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: The style clash will be interesting to watch. In a three-round fight, I’m much more inclined to take Tate. With 25 minutes to find a limb, however, I feel more comfortable taking the fighter who has the more obvious avenue to finish. Marloes Coenen by submission, round three.
Leland Roling: Many fans won’t give this fight much thought, but in reality -- it’s a solid match-up considering Carmouche’s success against Coenen on the ground. I still believe Coenen has the edge, however, as she’s a better striker and can threaten with a variety of submissions off her back. Despite those advantages, Tate is more experienced than Carmouche ever was, and I think she’ll be fully prepared to drill Coenen to the mat and do just enough to steal rounds while avoiding submissions. Miesha Tate via decision.
Anton Tabuena: This should be a tough fight to pick, and it should be a very entertaining bout between two very talented fighters. Miesha Tate definitely has a chance of winning, but I think Coenen is slightly better with both stand up and submissions. I think it can go either way, but I’m picking Marloes Coenen by a late Submission.
Matt Bishop: Liz Carmouche laid out the blueprint of how to beat Coenen. Can Tate just improve on that and fully execute it? Absolutely I think she could. But there’s something about Coenen. She has that "it factor" where I don’t think she’ll ever be out of a fight off her back because of how good her skills are there. I think this plays out almost exactly like the Coenen/Carmouche fight. Tate gets so, so close to the title but Coenen ultimately pulls off another stunner. Marloes Coenen by submission, round 5.
K.J. Gould: Coenen has the advantage on the feet, but I don’t rate her guard as highly as others. Tate clearly has the wrestling advantage but may be rusty due to the layoff from the knee injury. Normally I’d pick the more active fighter but I’ve a gut feeling Tate’s wrestling and top game will be enough to neutralise Coenen’s guard game. Miesha Tate by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: For some reason I always find myself having a very difficult time picking women’s fights. I think the general shallow-ness of the WMMA pool makes it tough to evaluate how everyone stacks up against each other - just that they all are a step below Cyborg. Coenen has faced much tougher competition though, including that win over Kaufman. Her troubles in the Carmouche fight make me hesitate, but I’ll take her anyway. Marloes Coenen by submission
Dallas Winston: Coenen’s guard is silky smooth but I don’t know if her sub skills alone can pull her out of the fire yet again. She’s also twenty-five fights deep with steely composure. Conditioning will inevitably play into this five-round affair, and I’m leaning toward Tate’s tenacity early and Coenen’s durability later. I think Tate takes the first three rounds and slows down but avoids the sub. Miesha Tate by decision.
Matt Roth: Remember when I said I love America? Well I really do. Marloes Coenen had trouble with Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate is basically a better version of Carmouche. Logic would dictate that Coenen will have issues with Tate’s takedowns and grappling skills. She won’t finish the fight but she’ll body Coenen to a decision. Miesha Tate by Decision.
Tim Burke: Coenen’s going to have a fairly easy time with Tate here. I believe that people put way too much emphasis on the Carmouche fight, considering Coenen had to deal with a change of opponent nine days out. Tate’s going to have more trouble getting Coenen down than most think, and Marloes will pick her apart standing. I have a feeling this will be a long, grinding fight and Tate’s cage rust is going to come into play. Marloes Coenen by decision
Robbie Lawler vs. Tim Kennedy
Kid Nate: Kennedy doesn’t have the wrestling he needs to impose his game on Lawler. That means he’s getting KTFO’d. Lawler by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Lawler feasts on guys who play into his hands. I don’t think Kennedy will make that mistake. Tim Kennedy by decision.
Mike Fagan: Robbie Lawler dozing off at Thursday’s press conference is a fantastic metaphor for his entire career. Tim Kennedy by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Great match-up here and an even tougher fight to call. There are obvious keys to victory, although Kennedy’s means to winning is much more tiring for him. Since this is only a three-round bout however, a clinch game to tie up Lawler’s power could be success for him. Unfortunately, he has to find a way to avoid being dropped while trying to initiate those situations, and Lawler is one of the very best in the weight class at flipping the light switch with one shot. Robbie Lawler via decision.
Anton Tabuena: If Kennedy’s initial takedowns attempts get stuffed, or if he decides to stand up with Lawler, he’s going to lose. I think that’s going to happen. Robbie Lawler by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Well, Kennedy has to get this to the mat. You don’t want to play with fire and risk standing in front of Lawler’s left hand for too long. It’s too powerful. Kennedy looks motivated and Lawler, well, he looks like Lawler. Motivation wins here. Tim Kennedy by submission, round 2.
K.J. Gould: I remember when Lawler was a Welterweight prospect in the UFC but he never truly developed beyond a brawler with some power. I think Kennedy’s striking is cleaner and his submission game clearly superior. Tim Kennedy by submission.
Fraser Coffeen: I like Lawler, but if I’m being honest, the last time he truly impressed me was the 2nd Scott Smith fight, and that was 3 years ago. I think he’s slowing down, and is just going to get outworked here. Tim Kennedy by submission.
Dallas Winston: I can’t help but envision this fight like Lawler vs. Sobral, with a methodical stalker picking his spots to bring the walls closing down on the fleeting striker. Lawler’s flying knees and fiery boxing will probably provide enough excitement and anticipation to keep us on the edge of our seats. Kennedy’s hands are coming along well, his beard is strong and he’s a technical leviathan from the top position. Lawler needs to protect his neck from guillotines and D’arce chokes in transitions, but I see all his efforts spent defending. Tim Kennedy by decision.
Matt Roth: People expect this fight to come down to Lawler’s vaunted power and Kennedy’s ability get the take down to avoid said power. Tim has underrated boxing and a helluva chin. Lawler has solid takedown defense but lacks the grappling skills to be effective off his back. I’m going with the new Army Combatives Black Belt and picking Tim Kennedy to finish Lawler in the second by TKO. Tim Kennedy by TKO.
Tim Burke: This fight is tough to call. Kennedy had trouble taking down Melvin Manhoef for a couple of minutes, so I definitely think he’s going to have trouble with Robbie Lawler. That being said, I don’t think Lawler can knock Kennedy out, and that’s really the only way he’s going to be able to win. Kennedy will struggle initially, but turn the tide not long after and grapple his way to a W. Tim Kennedy by decision
Kid Nate: Daley’s really really dangerous on the feet. Woodley is a good but not great wrestler. Daley will spend some time on his back but he’ll land that bomb. Daley by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Woodley doesn’t have the best wrestling game for MMA and the differences in Daley’s approach to wrestling that he has talked about (and I’ve had confirmed) I think will allow him to stay upright enough. I say enough because he’s so far ahead of Woodley when it comes to striking that it’s not going to take long for this fight to end on the feet. Paul Daley by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Paul Daley says Tyron Woodley’s wrestling isn’t at the same level as Josh Koscheck. Sure, but it’s still good enough to beat him. Tyron Woodley by decision.
Leland Roling: I’m probably one of the few Paul Daley fans on the face of the Earth, mainly due to his incredible knockout power and technique on the feet. Similarly to my MMA idol Melvin Manhoef, he has little means to stopping high-level wrestlers however, and Woodley happens to be a two-time NCAA All-American. Unless Daley has improved his footwork enough to circle away from Woodley’s attempts, he’s going to find himself on his back for most of this fight. Tyron Woodley via decision
Anton Tabuena: Woodley has a chance to take things to the ground and control him, but I don’t think he can pull it off. Daley is a HUGE step up in competition for him, and I expect the Brit to survive on the ground and get in the few fight ending shots he needs on the few moments they’re on their feet. I could be completely wrong about this, and we could see a Josh Koscheck replay, but I think it’s going to be Paul Daley by TKO.
Matt Bishop: I have a feeling this is where Woodley’s experience level could catch up to him. Like Anton said, this is a giant step up for Woodley. Luckily for him, though, he gets a big-name opponent who is perfectly matched for him. If he can be patient in setting up his takedowns and not get too far ahead of himself, he wins this fight with his wrestling. Tyron Woodley by decision.
K.J. Gould: Daley’s been saying all the right things about his wrestling training but he’s had a deficit in this department for years and usually ends up disappointing against a remotely talented wrestler. I look forward to him proving me wrong but I think he’ll lose a decision to Woodley. Tyron Woodley by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I recognize that he’s done a lot and defeated lots of skilled opponents, but I still just don’t think Daley is all that great. He matches up very well against strikers, but has a weakness in the ground game. Woodley has the perfect tools to exploit that weakness. Tyron Woodley by Decision
Dallas Winston: Woodley’s shown the potential to represent Kryptonite, but Semtex is a bloodthirsty animal and an equally unappealing match up for him. Veteran fighters struggle to survive with Semtex standing, and he’ll be a sitting duck anytime he’s not connected. Daley has a murderous left hook, killer instinct, thorny in-fighting, and under-rated takedown defense and scrambling. Woodley will have to prioritize control over offense, which fans -- and even the UFC brass -- absolutely detest, and refs are quickly intervening at the slightest lulls in action lately. Paul Daley by TKO.
Matt Roth: The expectation with this fight is that Paul Daley has been in more big fight situations and should (key word) be more than T Wood can handle at this point in his career. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that Woodley will be able to get the fight to the ground and "Koscheck" to a decision. Tyron Woodley by Decision.
Tim Burke: Tyron Woodley is pretty overrated, and he’s definitely no Josh Koscheck. He had a lot of problems with Nathan Coy, and dropped a round to Tarec Saffiedine. Daley’s not as easy to take down as people think, and Woodley’s going to get his bell rung when he tries. T-Wood is another Strikeforce prospect getting pushed too fast and it will blow up in their faces. Again. Paul Daley by TKO.
Scott Smith vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Kid Nate: Saffiedine is more skilled but Smith is far more dangerous. Smith by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Smith has given the world some tremendous moments. He also takes body shots so poorly and his once great chin is starting to fade. It’s not a good combination for a guy who fights with the style he does. Tarec Saffiedine by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Scott Smith is shot. Tarec Saffiedine is going to escalate talks about retirement that Paul Daley ushered in back in December. Tarec Saffiedine by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: I’m a big Scott Smith fan, but Saffiedine is way too underrated to get the cold shoulder in this one. While he hasn’t shown impressive finishing ability, Saffiedine is one of the few new Team Quest products who has a blue-chip style that can frustrate and wear down Smith over three rounds. Look for Tarec’s speedier footwork to make Smith miss often. Tarec Saffiedine via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I am not even interested in seeing this fight at all... but Saffiedine will pull it off. Tarec Saffiedine by Decision.
Matt Bishop: I really don’t know what to think about this one. Smith has been knocked out and hurt so many times I’m starting to lose count, but Saffiedine isn’t exactly the type of fighter that is making me fear for Smith’s safety, so this is a tough call. I think Smith has too many miles on him at this point. This is a big fight for him. He needs a win badly. I don’t think he gets it. Tarec Saffiedine by decision.
K.J. Gould: Eh I don’t know. I don’t care enough about either fighter to give any in depth analysis so I’ll just pick Smith. Scott Smith by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: The big point for me in this one is that I don’t see Saffiedine as someone with great finishing ability, and he’s going up against a guy who remains dangerous until the moment you put him away. Smith is a very fun fighter whose ability to entertain has moved him up the ranks more than his ability to win, but I think over the course of 15 minutes he’ll find a way to connect. Scott Smith by KO
Dallas Winston: Smith’s advantages are his experience, determination and the ability to knock out each of the four to seven transparent and wavering figures he can make out in front of him. Saffiedine has likely been training the "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" routine and will employ crafty movement to out-point Smith with intervals of clean combinations from a safe distance. Tarec Saffiedine by decision.
Matt Roth: I don’t like Scott Smith as a Welterweight. But I still like Scott Smith. And he’s got power where he’s dangerous the entire fight. I don’t think that Tarec Saffiedine is someone who can stop Smith or get him to the ground to out grapple him. Scott Smith by KO.
Tim Burke: I’m a huge Scott Smith fan, but I’m also a realist. Like Roth said, I don’t like him as a welterweight and Saffiedine should be smart enough to avoid getting into a firefight with him (although he did blow his gameplan against Woodley). Strikeforce booked this for excitement, but it will probably be fairly dull. Tarec Saffiedine by decision.