Fedor Emelianenko will face off against Fabricio Werdum in the main event of Strikeforce at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Ca. “The Last Emperor” will try to live up to his status as the best heavyweight fighter in the world and look to add to his collection of victories.
The 31-year-old Emelianenko comes from a strong Sambo and Judo background, but has eight KO victories to show for as well. He trains under grappling coach Vladimir Voronov, boxing coach Alexander Michkov and Muay Thai coach Ruslan Nagnibeda.
Fedor signed a three-fight deal with Strikeforce after the collapse of Affliction. He beat undefeated Brett Rogers by TKO in his debut with the organization. The fight against Werdum is Emelianenko’s second Strikeforce bout, and he has been talking about retirement.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum
Fedor comes in with a 31-1-1 record. He has 16 submission victories to show for. The Russian is considered undefeated in his career by many, as his only loss came on a TKO only seconds into the fight. The bout was stopped in favor of his opponent after Fedor sustained a cut in the opening seconds.
Werdum (13-4-1) has 11 wins by stoppage. He comes from a strong Judo and Muay Thai background and can match Fedor’s ground-game. His striking isn’t the greatest, but he has some knockouts to show for.
Fedor will try to avoid going to the ground, where Werdum could be trouble. The Russian will go for the big blow in the stand-up game, and has a good chance to succeed.
These fighters might be more evenly matched than their records and the odds make you believe, but Fedor has yet to lose a (real) fight. Fedor comes in as the heavy favorite and it’s tough to bet against him. If you still think Werdum can pull off the huge upset, go to 5Dimes for a +425 line.
If you think Fedor will prevail, go to Bodog for a -525 line.
Cris Santos vs. Jan Finney
Cyborg vs. Cuddles. That’s really all you need to know.
Cyborg Santos (10-1) is widely considered the best female fighter in the world. She is a strong striker, and a great ground-game as well. She is Strikeforce’s current women’s middleweight champion and is looking to continue her dominance.
Finney (8-7) is better than her record looks. She has four KO wins, and has faced some tough competition. She is a tough fighter, but can’t keep up with Cyborg on the ground. She is also moving up a weight class, which could affect her fighting.
Cyborg should win this one, but you have to put a lot of money down to back her. Lines range from -1600 (Bodog) to -2000 (Bookmaker).
Scott Smith vs. Cung Lee
Le comes in with six KOs on his report card. He holds a 6-1 record and is primarily a striker. He has improved in his grappling, which will help him against Smith.
Smith (17-6) has all of his wins by stoppage. Like Le, he is primarily a striker with some wrestling ability.
This bout is a rematch of the fighter’s epic 2009 matchup, and Le is looking for revenge. He took Smith down several times with his vicious kicks, but wasn’t able to control him. Smith came back with a big punch in the third round and pulled off the upset.
Le is the favorite again, and I think he will come through this time. He will be on the lookout for Smith’s punching ability, and his improved ground game should help him control the fight, if he can take down Smith again. Go to 5Dimes for a -310 line.
Pat Healy vs. Josh Thomson
Thomson (16-3) relies mainly on his grappling skills. He has some background in kickboxing as well making him a dangerous fighter.
Healy holds 23-15 record. He is very similar to Thomson, with his main focus on grappling. He can strike as well.
Healy is moving down a weight-class and might have some problems with his conditioning. Thomson is the favorite, and should win this one. Go to Bookmaker for the best line at -445.