Arlovski vs. Kharitonov Pick

2011 Strikeforce Grand Prix Picks and Predictions Arlovski Kharitonov

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (TheSpread) – Former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski takes on Sergei Kharitonov in a first round matchup of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix on Saturday night.

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Kharitonov enters the fight as the favorite according to oddsmakers from online sportsbook Sportsbook.com with betting odds of -130 while Arlovski comes into the bout with odds of +100. This bout takes place from the IZOD Center on Saturday night and will air on Showtime at 10PM ET

HOW ARLOVSKI WINS

At one time, Arlovski (15-8) was considered the most dominant champion in UFC history. He ran through opponents with his lethal hands and quickness. But, a knockout loss to Tim Sylvia seemed to change his career as he has never showed that same explosiveness again and exhibited a weak chin at times. Arlovski has now lost three straight bouts, so he is fortunate to be part of this tournament to begin with. Still, he has deadly power in his hands and if he can stay patient and composed, he can out-strike anyone in the division. He can’t be afraid to take a punch at times and needs to believe that he can win this fight against a guy that has a history of knockout wins.

HOW KHARITONOV WINS

Kharitonov (17-4) is a bit of an unknown in this tournament as he has never fought on American soil prior to tonight’s bout. 16 of his 17 wins have been by TKO or submission as he has beaten some of the best in this tournament already. Kharitonov has struggled against bigger heavyweights, but that won’t be a problem here as Arlovski is a slimmer heavyweight opponent. He can win by landing a few strikes early and mixing in some knees and takedowns. Arlovski is not strong off his back and tends to shy away from contact if things aren’t going his way early. Look for Kharitonov to try and dictate the pace early on.

WHO TO PICK?

My pick for this fight is with the Russian Kharitonov. Arlovski is just not an elite-caliber fighter at this stage of his career and his issues are bigger than physical, they are mental. At this level, you need a killer instinct and narcissistic confidence that he just doesn’t have anymore. Look for Kharitonov to bully Arlovski early and finish him off with a flurry late in the first round.

STRIKEFORCE FREE PICK: SERGEI KHARITONOV -130

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