Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery Preview And Predictions

Andrei Arlovski has had one of the bigger falls from grace in the sport of MMA.  Should he lose here, is he totally irrelevant in MMA’s heavyweight landscape?

Botter: I think he’s already irrelevant in the 2010 heavyweight picture. A decisive win over Silva can help change that perception and put him on the road to redemption, but it will take a great performance. Is he capable of that kind of moment? Sure. Will he pull it off against Silva? It’s doubtful.

Kyte: I think he will be, but I don’t think he should be. A third consecutive loss would be seriously damaging, but who he’s lost to should be considered. Rogers has proven to be better than everyone – Arlovski included – expected, Silva is a big dude with some talent, and then there is Fedor. That said, you gotta win for people to care, and Arlovski hasn’t been winning. Another loss and he slips into the ether.

Lawson: It really depends on how he loses if he does, in fact, lose. If he is able to battle for three rounds, show that he can take a punch, and drop a close decision, than he is still relevant. But if he gets knocked out cold for the third consecutive time, I don’t really see a legitimate argument for his relevancy in the division.

Loco: Please see my answer to question 1. Andrei needs this win like Lebron James needs a heart. You know how they use that saying “1 and done”? Well, this is a “1 and done” situation.

Brown: Sadly, I think he’s pretty much an afterthought now. Not that it’s totally deserved, but not working things out with the UFC, then talking about going into boxing. Stuff like that just totally removed him from the public eye and he lost a ton of recognition. I think a loss here would all but end his hopes of ever being taken seriously again in the heavyweight division.

Alistair Overeem has not defended his Strikeforce title in over 2 1/2 years.  Strikeforce said it was due to lack of competitors.  Should Strikeforce even have titles?  Other than the middleweight division, the roster is pretty thin.

Botter: Every promotion needs championship belts, because you need something that fans can identify with. It’s easier to sell an event to the public if there’s something on the line. If they didn’t have belts, they would need to do something along the lines of DREAM-style Grand Prix tournaments to keep the fans interested, and Scott Coker doesn’t seem interested in that idea.

Kyte: I work for an organization called Armageddon Fighting Championship (AFC) out in Victoria, British Columbia, and we’re gearing up for our third show. From the get-go, the plan was to wait on titles until we had a reasonably deep roster and viable contenders, but after our second event, people started saying they wanted to fight for the belt and the fans ate it up. Our headliner for AFC 3: Evolution is a middleweight title fight. Short version – for better or worse, people love title fights and want to be able to identify champions.

Lawson: You have to have titles to be a legitimate promotion at all, in my opinion. However, you also have to have titles that mean something. When your middleweight champion is looking to move to a different promotion, your heavyweight champ has been on the other side of the planet for 30 months, and the other three divisions essentially have no contenders, you have several problems, but getting rid of titles is only going to create more.

Loco: I think Strikeforce should have specific fight card winners. They get a trophy, like at the end of PRIDE fights. The idea that your champion can just kick back with the title for 2 and a half years (which he won off of Paul Buentello) is amazing to me. It’s like the New Orleans Saints not playing next year and they cancel the Super Bowl. Just have fights the fans want to see, with no belts on the line. Just super huge trophies and Tokyo ring girls.

Brown: I’ll preface this by saying I love Strikeforce cards. Usually, they’re pretty stacked with bigger name guys (whether in their prime or not) and have fights I’m generally interested in seeing. I agree they NEED titles to appease the fans. But with the lack of depth in many of the divisions, it is a little silly to have a belt just for the sake of having a belt. I’m totally cool with superfights. Win a superfight, get a trophy. But the lightweight and welterweight divisions, heck, the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions too, are just a little weak to really crown a champ. Perhaps Overeem and Rogers will put on a fight of the year candidate and I’ll be singing a different tune come Sunday.


Antwain Britt vs Rafael Cavalcante

Botter: Britt is the real deal, a physical powerhouse with a ton of speed. He’s the underdog here, but he’ll pull the upset with a violent knockout. Britt by TKO.

Kyte: I like Feijao in this one. Britt has a power advantage, but I think he’ll be too aggressive early and end up getting caught.

Lawson: Both of these guys love taking the victory with a knockout, but Britt has never been knocked out before. Cavalcante would be wise to seek out a submission, but when he chooses not to, Britt takes the fight into his own hands for a decision victory. Britt via unanimous decision.

Loco: I’m picking Cavalcante because I flew across the country to give him fight shorts once. That’s love.

Brown: I think Britt goes in and takes advantage of his spot on the televised card. Britt by TKO.

Roger Gracie vs Kevin Randleman

Botter: Randleman doesn’t have the physical skills he used to, and he’s legendary for leaving himself open to submissions. That spells disaster against a submission artist like Gracie. Gracie by submission.

Kyte: Gracie by early submission. Next.

Lawson: Gracie’s ground game is simply too elite for a guy like Randleman. “The Monster” makes a mistake early in the fight and pays with a first round submission loss. Gracie via submission in Round 1.

Loco: I’m picking Roger Gracie because Randleman will find a way to lose and it’s not 1998. He hasn’t had a solid win since 2004. And that was on my birthday. Well, it’s not my birthday on Saturday, so I have to give the nod to Roger.

Brown: I’ll take Roger Gracie in this one. Randleman’s game is to get the fight to the ground, but the ground is the last place he wants to be with Gracie. Gracie by submission.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Joey Villasenor

Botter: Villasenor is a gamer, but this fight is a showcase for Jacare. Souza will get this to the ground in the first round, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before he gets the submission. Jacare by submission.

Kyte: If Villasenor can keep it standing longer than it goes to the ground, he can sneak out a decision. That said, Jacare is too good on the ground to miss an opportunity.

Lawson: “Jacare” is one of the top prospects in all of mixed martial arts, let alone Strikeforce. Villasenor is certainly a tough opponent, but he’s not going to be able to stop the rise of Souza. “Jacare” via submission in Round 2.

Loco: I like Jacare subbing Villasenor in the first. Should be a fun fight, but I really don’t think Joey can handle Jacare’s size or his damn near untouchable ground game.

Brown: I think Jacare is going to take the fight, but Villasenor is going to make it closer than the experts think. Jacare by decision.

Andrei Arlovski vs Antonio Silva

Botter: Arlovski needs to play it smart, to stay outside Silva’s range and use leg kicks to control the pace of the fight. Unfortunately, I think we’ll see him make one of those trademark Arlovski mistakes, get caught, and get knocked out. Silva by TKO.

Kyte: I’m hoping to see a return to the aggressive, dangerous Andrei Arlovski of old. I might be crazy, but I think he still has something left to offer.

Lawson: Arlovski is certainly going through quite a cold streak, but the former UFC heavyweight champion still has dynamite in his hands. Take his power and his alleged newfound discipline and Antonio Silva is in for a rough one. Andrei Arlovski via technical knockout in Round 1.

Loco: I am picking Andrei Arlovksi because the man has let me down so much, it is numerically impossible for this streak to continue. Andrei uses his speed, stays on the outside, and catches SIlva with a big right to knock him down, followed by a TKO victory. Please Andrei. Please.

Brown: My heart wants to say Arlovski because he’s a pretty cool guy and I’ve been watching him fight for years. However, the guys at ATT think Silva really is something special and I’ve seen signs of greatness in some of his fights. Silva via TKO.

Alistair Overeem vs Brett Rogers

Botter: Overeem outmatches Rogers in just about every aspect of MMA, from striking to the ground game. Any hope Rogers has of winning the fight hinges on his overhand right, and Overeem is far too technical and smart to get caught with it. Overeem will pick Rogers apart on the feet and then finish him on the ground with brutal ground and pound. Overeem by TKO.

Kyte: Overeem might be the best heavyweight striker in the sport. Other guys have more power, but no one has as complete an attack. That is bad news for Brett Rogers.

Lawson: Overeem may have been out of action in Strikeforce for some time now, but viewers will quickly be reintroduced to his outstanding striking. Rogers will be outmatched on the feet and suffer his second consecutive knockout loss. Overeem via knockout in Round 1.

Loco: Jon Anik of ESPN said he guaranteed a Brett Rogers victory. That’s good enough for me. Rogers has faced Fedor, who is infinitely better than anyone Overeem has faced. 1st round KO for the big man. Even after Rogers beats Overeem, we still won’t have a real champion, since Rogers is coming into this after a LOSS. Fedor v Rogers 2, the fight we have all been waiting for, I think. Maybe we’ll see that before 2012 and the world ends. Who knows, the belt seems cursed.

Brown: There’s a very good chance that Overeem will prove me wrong and Brett Rogers will knock him out in the first minute, but I’m going with Overeem. I like what I’ve seen lately and I see him getting to Rogers late in the second round. Overeem via KO.

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