Three of Strikeforce’s five belts are on the line at “Strikeforce: “Nashville” live on CBS from the Sommet Center in Music City, Tenn.
International intrigue, mind games and divisional and pound-for-pound rankings are just a few of the reasons to tune into free primetime fights. Here are our picks for Saturday nights bouts with odds courtesy of bodog – FIGHT! is currently 41-17 with its picks in 2010.
It’s rare the champion is an underdog, but that’s exactly what Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields is. He’s had more fights on network TV than any other mixed martial artist and has the chance to seize the defining moment in his career with a successful title defense over fighting legend Dan Henderson.
Henderson, an Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler with unforgiving power in his hands, hasn’t seen action since UFC 100 last July. The first round “Knockout of the Night” over Michael Bisping at the largest event in UFC history resonates enough for bookmakers to favor former Pride 183 and 205-pound champion over a champion on a 13 fight, 5 year win streak.
Preventing Shields from scoring a takedown to work his submission game forces him to deal with Hnederson’s sleep-inducing hands. Shields stifling ground game and solid conditioning could drag Henderson into the wrong kind of fight; however, Henderson’s wrestling decides the bout.
FIGHT! Pick: Henderson
(King Mo’s heavy hands and wrestling will be the difference against Mousasi.)
Muhammad Lawal’s NCAA Championship-level wrestling and heavyweight punching power present interesting problems for Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi. The Iranian-born Dutch-Armenian is fluid and effective with his strikes and submissions; however, his 15-fight win streak has been free of wrestlers of Lawal’s caliber. “King Mo” has the athleticism and raw power to close the distance Mousasi, expose the one area of Mousasi’s game we don’t know much about, and put him down with punches if it turns into a firefight.
FIGHT! Pick: Lawal
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez defends his belt against DREAM Lightweight Champion and Japanese star Shinya Aoki. Aoki’s mind and arm bending submissions will make their debut in the United States and in the cage, where he’ll encounter new pressures and positions. Aoki thrives in Japanese-style technical grappling matches but there is no telling how he will respond to power takedowns and a wrestler’s top control. Melendez has the ring generalship to damage Aoki with sprawl and brawl or cage-pressed ground and pound.
FIGHT! Pick: Melendez
Jason “Mayhem” Miller is a durable and well-rounded enough veteran to submit Strikeforce newcomer and Tennessee local Tim Stout.
FIGHT! Pick: Miller
FIGHT! Pick: HendersonResulting Outcome: INCORRECT
Gegard Mousasi -250 vs. Muhammed Lawal +190
FIGHT! Pick: LawalResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Gilbert Melendez -155 vs. Shinya Aoki +125
FIGHT! Pick: MelendezResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Jason Miller -1400 vs. Tim Stout +700
FIGHT! Pick: MillerResulting Outcome: CORRECT