On January 12th, 2013 the formerly second biggest Mixed Martial Arts organization in North American will close its doors forever, but not before going out with a bang. Well that is at least what the original intentions were for the final Strikeforce card. Strikeforce: Champions was set to feature multiple title defenses by the organizations champions, but after a rash of injuries only one title fight remains. Nate Marquardt, the shortest tendered Champion in the promotion, will headline the newly name Strikeforce: Marquardt vs Saffiedine card against long time Strikeforce fighter Tarec Saffiedine.
A former UFC Middleweight, Marquardt made his promotional and divisional debut in his last performance and won the vacant Welterweight title in an impressive victory over formerly undefeated Tyron Woodley. Opposing Nate will be Belgian striker Tarec Saffiedine who has won three straight fights and holds a record of 5-1 under the Strikeforce banner. This fight will bring Strikeforce to his end, but for whichever fighter emerges with the title it will signal a new beginning as they move into the upper echelon of the UFC’s 170 pound rankings.
Also on the main card, Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier and tournament finalist Josh Barnett will be in action. Cormier, already the owner of a freshly signed UFC contract, fights journeyman Dion Staring in a fight most likely designed to further bulk up the record of the undefeated former Olympian. Josh Barnett’s path to the UFC is not nearly as certain as past poor relations with Dana White along with a number of other less then flattering career moments have made Barnett a risk the UFC brass might not be interested in taking. If Barnett is able to dispatch his opponent, Nandor Guelmino, in impressive fashion and pass the post fight drug test he would make a strong argument for another shot inside the Octagon.
The final two bouts on the main card also carry major implications for the men involved. Mike Kyle battles Gegard Mousasi in a 205 pound bout and Jacare Souza meets UFC crossover Ed Herman at a 194 pound catchweight. Herman will return to the UFC win, lose, or draw and Kyle, Mousasi, and Souza will all most likely join him but the winners of these two pairings will have added leverage within their respective divisions when they make their debut’s.
The preliminary fights of the main card feature numerous marquee names including Pat Healy, Roger Gracie, Tim Kennedy, and KJ Noons. The entire card can be viewed below along with the latest episode of Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Predictions covering the five main card fights. The preliminary predictions can be found at the link posted below and make sure you check out the Strikeforce Bet Pack and make your Picks in the public Pick section of the website.
Main card (Showtime)
Welterweight Championship bout: Nate Marquardt (C) vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Heavyweight bout: Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Heavyweight bout: Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino
Light Heavyweight bout: Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
Catchweight (194lbs) bout: Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo Souza
Lightweight bout: Pat Healy vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Middleweight bout: Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
Middleweight bout: Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith
Lightweight bout: Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons
Lightweight bout: Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martins
Lightweight bout: Michael Bravo vs. Estevan Payan