“Strikeforce: Challengers 8” staff picks

PORTLAND, Ore. – “Strikeforce – Challengers 8” takes place this evening at the Rose Garden Arena and will broadcast live on Showtime beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT. Please join us this evening and share your comments with other MMA fans as provides live results and play-by-play commentary during tonight’s broadcast.

The staff has individually analyzed the “Strikeforce – Challengers 8” main card fights and each one us has given our predictions on how we think the bouts will go.

From 40-year-old Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland taking on the young cocky Rickson Gracie protégé “King” Kevin Casey in the main event, to the lightweight match-up between legitimate gatekeeper journeyman Pat Healy taking on rising talent Bryan Travers making his “big show” debut, we have broke the fights down from the inside out. Take a look, let us know what you think, and let’s get ready for some exciting MMA action!


DENNY HODGE: Casey has been saying he is going to submit Lindland just like “Jacare” did in his last fight, and has even said that Lindland lacks experience when it comes to defending submission attempts. He should save those quotes for his next rap song, and call Spencer Pratt for some of those crystals that protect you in war because he is going to need them. Lindland by TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: I think the biggest question about this fight is whether uber-douche Spencer Pratt is going to be there to root for his buddy, since Spencer appeared in the rap video that Casey put out called “No Surrender”. I have to wonder, if Casey were to happen to tap out to Lindland, would he then make a video called “I surrendered”? But on a more serious note, I hope Lindland gives a crap about this fight or Casey might actually beat him. Coming off of two losses, Lindland may need a little motivation. Not becoming a victim to someone who is friends with Spencer Pratt should be enough. For the good of all mankind, I hope it is. Lindland wins via TKO in Round 2.

RICHARD MANN: Kevin Casey does not belong on a Strikeforce card. He certainly does not belong in the main event. Lindland has looked pretty spent recently, but this is Kevin Casey. Lindland will actually be the better striker for the first time in his career. However, I expect a clinch then takedown then ground and pound game plan. Lindland by TKO.

JACK BRATCHER: I’m not sure what it says about your career when you go from fighting Fedor Emelianenko just a few fights ago to fighting Kevin Casey. Casey does not belong in the same cage as Lindland. However, we are talking about a 40-year-old Olympic silver medalist going up against a young confident jiu-jitsu rapper. Lindland looked to be in pretty good shape in the recent training footage I’ve seen, so hopefully he’s taking this fight seriously. Lindland by decision. Oh, and Spencer Pratt won’t be there. He didn’t feel Lindland was enough of a challenge to show up is what he said.


DENNY HODGE: Woodley is 6-0 with 6 victories by way of submission and has been very impressive in his young career, and he will keep it going as he brings his frenetic pace to Coy, and earns another victory via submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Woodley looks to remain undefeated in a fight that’s going to feature two high-caliber wrestlers. I think Woodley is slightly more well-rounded and definitely more explosive. After some back and forth, Woodley will score a takedown and end the fight with some solid ground and pound. Tyron Woodley wins via TKO in Round 2.

RICHARD MANN: Coy relies on his wrestling game to win decisions. Woodley is the better wrestler. Look for this fight to look like the Zach Light fights. Woodley will get on top and land some meaningful strikers. After a few minutes, he will lock on a submission. Woodley by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Woodley is very talented. Look for him to submit the Team Quest fighter just as he has all his previous opponents. Coy has been more active than Woodley but it should make little difference here. It’s still hard to believe the UFC passed over Woodley for season nine of The Ultimate Fighter. That was probably one of the dumbest moves they ever made next to overlooking an Olympic judoka for season 12.


DENNY HODGE: This fight should be pure fireworks from the start, with both guys looking to KO each other right out the gate. Bowling has been on a roll since his professional debut, with only one fight making it past the first round, and I see him slugging his way to 8-0 over the more experienced Voelker.

BRIAN FURBY: This is a time that a lot of fans in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas have been waiting for. Local standout Roger Bowling finally makes the transition to one of the bigger shows. Both guys are solid punchers, and event though Voelker has an experience edge (28 total pro fights to Bowling’s 7), look for Bowling to end the fight early. What’s the most common description I hear (and say) when talking about Bowling? Dude hits like a mack truck. Want an example? Take Seth Baczynski, who is currently on TUF. Bowling KO’d him in nine seconds. Nine seconds. I wouldn’t expect this fight to go too much longer than that. Roger Bowling wins by KO in Round 1.

RICHARD MANN: Voelker is not ready for this level. He was losing handily to Erik Apple, before Apple gassed. A lot of people have been excited about Bowling, because he is a strong athlete. He might not be the next great prospect, but he should be able to pick up a victory here.

JACK BRATCHER: Voelker is the much more experienced fighter but Roger Bowling is the man. With seven fights and seven finishes under his belt, Bowling has a ton of momentum coming into this fight. Voelker is very talented on the feet and this could be one of the best fights of the night. Look for these two to bang it out until someone drops, and it’s most likely going to be Voelker. Roger Bowling by first round TKO.


DENNY HODGE: Saffiedine can look either super good, or really bad at times, and this one could go either way, but I have to go with Saffiedine by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: I don’t really know much about either of these fighters, so my pick is based purely on odds and some internet stats I found. I would like to know, however, where Saffiedine got the nickname “Sponge”. Any answers? Outside of that, both guys appear to be tough fighters and have good submission games. However, Saffiedine is a clear favorite with the oddsmakers so I will give this one to him. Tarec Saffiedine wins by unanimous decision.

RICHARD MANN: Saffiedine is the better-known prospect. However, here he takes on a former Purdue wrestler, and he will have trouble staying off his back. Saffiedine is the much better striker, but he will have a hard time getting his strikes off while defending takedowns. Moore by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Tarec Saffiedine is fun to watch. After his dismantling of James Terry at “Strikeforce – Challengers 6” he talked to about his striking background. He has really adapted his Taekwondo into a striking style that works for MMA and he will use kicks that a lot of fighters do not. And as good as his striking is, all of Saffiedine’s finishes have come from submissions, so he is very well-rounded. Because he had a solid martial arts background and then plugged what he already had into training with Team Quest, he has become a real formidable prospect. I don’t know that much about Moore, but he seems to be well-rounded. He’s 6-1 and has finished all of his wins; 2 (T)KOs and 4 submissions. I’m going to take Saffiedine by decision.

PAT HEALY (22-15) vs BRYAN TRAVERS (13-1)

DENNY HODGE: Healy has faced some major competition throughout his career, and is one of the toughest guys in the game. Travers is 13-1 but has fought limited competition in his career and will have his hands full when he faces “Bam Bam.” Healy by submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Looks like Pat Healy is going to be facing a bigger guy in this fight, but one who is also much less experienced. Healy has faced quality opponents throughout his career, losing to many of them, but beating a few and even giving the ones he lost to a good fight. I think Travers may be able to muscle Healy around early in the fight, but look for Healy to score a submission win either late in the first round or early in the second. Pat Healy wins by submission in Round 1.

RICHARD MANN: I have a soft spot for Pat Healy. His first fight with Ryan Ford is one of my favorite fights. He actually wins by submission after being dominated and not landing a single punch. However, Travers will be able to get takedowns and stay on top for a decision victory. It won’t be pretty, and it might lead Michael Schiavello to write another column that makes absolutely no sense. Travers by decision.

JACK BRATCHER: This should be one hell of a fight. UFC veteran Healy is much more experienced and has faced some of the biggest names in the game. He has wins over current UFC fighters Mike Guymon, Dan Hardy, and Carlos Condit. Travers has some quality wins too just not as many. Travers will have a size and probably strength advantage and how this fight ends will largely depend on how hungry and well-prepared Healy is. I’m going to pick Healy via third round (T)KO.

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