“Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson” staff picks

The ( staff weighs in with their thoughts and predictions on “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson” which airs LIVE on Showtime tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Fedor Emelianenko (31-3, 1 NC) vs. Dan Henderson (27-8)

ODDS: Fedor -260, Hendo +200

RICHARD MANN: Emelianenko’s star power has taken a serious hit. In MMA back-to-back losses will do that to a fighter. Despite the losses, Henderson does not present the same challenges as Antonio Silva and Fabricio Werdum. This fight will probably stay on the feet, and that means that Emelianenko will be able to do enough to take the decision. Emelianenko by decision.

DENNY HODGE: There is no way I can pick against Fedor. Regardless of his recent losses, I’m still going with the G.O.A.T. in this one. Henderson’s right hand could be the equalizer, but I think he will look to take Fedor down, but even there he won’t be able to control Fedor for long. I just don’t see Henderson connecting with a right hand solid enough to put Fedor away, but I do see Fedor countering that right hand and putting Henderson away. Fedor by TKO.

JOSH CROSS: This fight is a tough one for me to pick. If the fight remains standing I think Fedor has the advantage, but I don’t think by as much as some might think. In his last two fights Henderson has shown just how vicious he can be on his feet, but with both fighters being as tough as they are, I don’t see anyone getting knocked out. Moving on to the ground game of both fighters, Henderson is known for his wrestling, but I think Fedor’s size will offset most of Hendo’s game. Fedor isn’t good with big guys on the ground like Bigfoot, but Henderson is no Bigfoot. This fight could go either way, but right now I feel like Fedor has more advantages in this fight than Henderson does. Pick: Fedor via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: Lots of people saying that Fedor looked good at the pre-fight workouts and all. Don’t most fighters look good in those workouts? I mean really. This fight is fairly simple…Fedor still has most of the explosiveness and hand speed, but that’s all he’s used in his past few fights and it has cost him. If he relies on those skills alone, he’ll lose again. If he’s going to win this fight he needs to get it to the ground and submit Henderson as Hendo is prone to submission at times. Both guys have good power, but both have very good chins so I think those cancel one another out. I think Hendo will be able to take Fedor down, the question is will he avoid being submitted? I think so. I think the chances of him winning a decision are higher than Fedor submitting him. I’m going with Henderson via decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Fedor Emelianenko.

JACK BRATCHER: Too bad this isn’t a five-rounder. Even though, odds are it probably won’t go past the second. Neither of these fighters are really the “grind it out” type; they come in blasting and blasting hard. Both guys have extremely heavy hands and a clean shot by either guy could end the fight. Fedor went to Holland and seems to have gotten very serious about his training for this fight. Hendo has looked great in his last two fights, knocking out Babalu and then Feijao to win the light heavyweight title. At 40-years-old Hendo still seems to be in his prime. And when you think about his record of 27-8, who he has fought, and the fact he has never been (T)KO’d, it is frankly quite amazing. I have to go with Fedor. I think he is the better and faster boxer. He seems to have better and more combinations. I’m going to be very sad if Fedor gets KO’d by Hendo, and make no mistake, it is highly possible. I see Fedor hurting Dan, then pouncing and submitting him with a choke.

Marloes Coenen (19-4) vs. Miesha Tate (11-2)

ODDS: Coenen -115, Tate -115

RICHARD MANN: Coenen showed in her last title defense that she is not the best defensive wrestler. Tate will be able to get takedowns. However, five-round fights favor the fighter who is more dynamic and has the best finishing ability. Coenen should have an advantage on the feet, and she is always dangerous with submissions off her back. Coenen by submission.

DENNY HODGE: Tate will pick up where Carmouche left off. In that fight Carmouche gave the champ all she wanted, controlling the clinch, and repeatedly putting Coenen on her back, before being subbed in the 4th. Tate will do the same, and is crafty enough to avoid submission dangers on the ground. Tate by unanimous decision.

JOSH CROSS: Both fighters are good on the ground and I think we will see a lot of grappleing in this fight. I could see this bout going either way since all it takes is one mistake to get submitted. That being said, I’m going to have to give the edge to Coenen because she has more experience than Tate. I just think Tate will make a mistake before Coenen and the champ will capitalize on it. Pick: Coenen via Submission.

KELVIN HUNT: As I said in the preview…I think Tate is the stronger and better wrestler of the two. If she’s in shape she should be able to win this fight provided she’s aware of Coenen going for armbars off her back. Tate via decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Marloes Coenen.

JACK BRATCHER: Remember when Miesha Tate used to co-host our women’s MMA podcast, Cage Divas? Look it up, they had some great shows. And now, just think, she is about to become the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound champion. I’m very impressed by the fact Tate picked up her life and moved so she could train full time with Team Alpha Male. It’s the PERFECT camp for her. As a wrestler herself, now she gets to practice daily with that team of men, headed up by Urijah Faber, who are roughly the same size as her. She’s going to put Marloes on her back and grind this thing out for a five round decision. Tate will be the new champ, and I’m looking forward to Tate vs. Kaufman 2.

Robbie Lawler (18-7, 1 NC) vs. Tim Kennedy (13-3)

ODDS: Lawler +200, Kennedy -260

RICHARD MANN: Lawler does not seem interested in anything besides throwing huge power shots. Kennedy should be able to work some takedowns and dominate on the ground. Even if he can’t put Lawler on the mat, he should be able to avoid heavy strikes on the feet and score enough for a decision. Kennedy by decision.

DENNY HODGE: Everybody on planet earth knows that if Lawler connects, usually it results in somebody doing the stanky leg. The problem is, Kennedy won’t just stand in front of him and exchange. Kennedy will pick his spots when Lawler loads up and will put him on his back. Once there, Kennedy will control position en route to a unanimous decision victory.

JOSH CROSS: The outcome of this fight hinges on where it takes place. Lawler has the advantage standing whereas Kennedy has the advantage on the ground. While Lawler has shown that he does have some good takedown defense, I feel like Kennedy will be able to get him to the ground and from there he will dominate. Pick: Kennedy via Submission.

KELVIN HUNT: Lawler has a puncher’s chance and that’s about it. I think Kennedy’s cardio is superior and he definitely is the better grappler. I think he wears Lawler down and submits him late in the fight or wins a decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Tim Kennedy.

JACK BRATCHER: Tim Kennedy is too well-rounded for Robbie Lawler. Props to Lawler for moving his camp to Arizona and making necessary changes to improve. At only 29-years-old it should not be “too late”. He could possibly still come back and make a legit run at middleweight, but those are hypotheticals. What’s real is Tim Kennedy is going to win this fight. And he’s likely going to win it via submission in the second or third round.

Paul Daley (27-10-2) vs. Tyron Woodley (8-0)

ODDS: Daley +200, Woodley -260

RICHARD MANN: Most adages in MMA make we want to rip my hair out. However, “styles make fights” is probably one of the truest things in the universe. Daley is basically custom made for a guy like Woodley. Takedowns should come early and often. Of course, if Woodley plays around on the feet, he could end up in serious trouble. Woodley by decision.

DENNY HODGE: The UKTT guys on the Underground forum will be disappointed once again after this fight. Daley won’t get “bingo’d” (as they like to say) by Woodley, but Tyron will put the heat on him from the bell. Woodley’s take downs will wear out Daley as he repeatedly fights off the TD attempts. Daley won’t be able to sit down on his punches with the constant threat of the TD’s either, so he will be a little gun shy in close quarters. Woodley outworks him for the decision victory.

JOSH CROSS: I think the outcome of this fight comes down to endurance. Daley has had trouble and suffered losses in the past to good wrestlers. Woodley is obviously a good wrestler, but he has shown that he has issues with endurance the longer the fight goes. Unless Woodley has improved his cardio then I think he will control the fight early but then get tired and then Daley will capitalize. Pick: Daley via TKO.

KELVIN HUNT: Woodley should be able to take Daley down. I think Daley will give Woodley a better fight than most people think. If he connects with that left hook Woodley could be in trouble. For the most part I think Woodley strikes enough to set up the takedown and either grinds out a decision or submits Daley late in the fight as he’s undderated on the ground in my opinion.

BRIAN FURBY: Paul Daley.

JACK BRATCHER: If Woodley decides to have a pissin’ contest with Daley and stands and trades with him, he’s going to sleep for the first time in his career. I don’t think he’s that foolish. This is his chance to move to the main Strikeforce show for good (no more Challengers Series) with an impressive win over Daley. It’s probably not going to be a pretty fight but Woodley should be able to put Daley on his back and grind out the decision.

Scott Smith (17-8, 1 NC) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (12-1-1)

ODDS: Smith +220, Saffiedine -300

RICHARD MANN: Over the course of his career, Smith’s calling card has become his ability to take punishment and come back and win fights. However, in his last fight, a single punch from Paul Daley completely evaporated Smith. We have seen that violent knockouts can chip away at once impeccable chins. Will Smith still be able to take big shots and keep coming forward? On top of that, Saffiedine will be the better striker. Even if he can’t finish Smith, he should be able to stay on the outside and score at will. Saffiedine by decision.

DENNY HODGE: Smith has suffered some violant KO’s of late, but Saffiedine won’t be much of a threat in that department. Smith has the power to inflict those same types of KO’s on his opponents also, but Saffiedine is too well rounded to get caught up in a slug fest. Look for Saffiedine to win in the transitions and scramble on his way to a decision victory.

JOSH CROSS: Smith has a history of being tough and being able to take a beating. This toughness has helped him survive long enough to win fights by landing some of his power punches. While that scenario could play out again in this fight, Saffiedine has shown that he has some good cardio in some of his previous fights. That’s why I think Saffiedine will remain quick enough throughout the fight to avoid getting caught by Smith. Pick: Saffiedine via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: Saffiedine via TKO.

BRIAN FURBY: Scott Smith.

JACK BRATCHER: Team Quest’s Tarec Saffiedine, at 24, is going to be too young, too fast and too well-rounded for the 32-year-old Scott Smith who is primarily a brawler. Smith has the experience advantage. He’s fought the much stiffer competition but Tarec is on his way up and Smith will serve as another stepping stone. Saffiedine wins either by decision or submission.

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