MMA promotion Strikeforce is putting on its second CBS Televised event Saturday night, which features three title fights. Here is a look at the bouts and our picks for the winners.
The Strikeforce promotion is not considered as strong as the UFC but still has a number of talented fighters. Here is a breakdown of the three title fights.
Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (+325) vs. Dan Henderson (-500)
Dan Henderson makes his Strikeforce debut after his stint with the UFC where he last knocked out Michael Bisbing. Shields is a true welterweight fighting in a higher weight class, but has been able to defeat notable opponents like Robbie Lawler and Jason Miller. Shields is very good on the ground with tremendous submission skills while Henderson is an outstanding wrestler with a lot of power in his punches. Henderson will be the much bigger fighter, as he fights regularly at Light Heavyweight as well. Look for him to control Shields on the ground with his wrestling and size to win the Strikeforce title.
Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (-250) vs. Muhammed Lawal (+190)
Mousasi has been dominant as of late, winning his last 14 fights, including his last three by TKO. At just 24-years-old Mousasi has shown he may be one of the top pound-for-pound fighters. He has powerful strikes, slick submissions, and a cool demeanor. His opponent, Lawal, is 6-0 in his MMA career, but never fought anyone to the level of Mousasi. Lawal is cocky and arrogant, but also has plenty of power with his punches. He will need to keep the fight standing to win, but we don’t see that happen. Look for a Mousasi win by submission or TKO from ground strikes in round two.
Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez (-160) vs. Shinya Aoki (+130)
This fight should be very competitive. Melendez has won his last three, but all of his fights have been fast paced and close. His win over Josh Thompson won him the title, but now he faces Aoki who bounces around to different weight classes and finds success in each. Aoki is very solid on the ground and likes to apply a variety of submission holds. He is very aggressive and will keep Melendez on his toes. Melendez can win with his boxing and wrestling while Aoki can use his speed and submission skills to win. Ultimately, we think Melendez will prevail in a hard-fought decision.
Strikeforce: Nashville Information
Date: Saturday, April 17
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Tenn.
Time: Main card airs at 9PM ET
TV Coverage: CBS
Posted: 4/17/10 12:45PM ET