Quick Hits for Strikeforce: Destruction

By Nicholas Bailey (

A broken toe has forced newly resurgent lightweight Josh Thomson out of the event, which is probably good for Yves Edwards. While the more even fights on the card feature fighters generally heading nowhere, I expect some good action from most of the fights, although the title fight is likely to be abysmal.

Champ Bobby Southworth (+295) vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral (-325) (for light heavyweight title)

This fight is a real mismatch. Although Southworth came into the weigh-ins looking like Mr. Universe (check out the 8-pack), it’s going to take more than WWE abs to beat Babalu.

Babalu’s greatest weakness in his recent bouts has been coming in with his hands down and getting jacked in the grill like a junior high nerd. Southworth simply doesn’t have the power to make this fight-changing, should it happen again. Babalu can likely outpoint him on the feet, despite Sobral’s lack of defense. On the ground, this fight could really slow down to a crawl. While Southworth doesn’t have the skills to threaten Babalu, he is good enough defensively to make it hard for the Brazillian to find a finish.

If the fight drags on, I expect Southworth to gas out badly, at which point Babalu may be able to, inch by inch, grind out a stoppage of one sort or another. Renato “Babalu” Sobral by TKO late.

I think that Babalu is a very safe bet here. Southworth simply doesn’t have the firepower to finish him in any aspect of the game, doesn’t have the wrestling to control him for a decision, and doesn’t have the skill to win rounds from him.

Terry Martin (+110) vs. Scott Smith (-140)

I like this fight. Neither guy is a world-beater, but both can seriously slug. In fact, that’s just about all they can do. Martin can do a decent job of clinching against the cage and using some wrestling and strength to control his opponent, but that gasses him out. Smith…well Smith has decent hands that hit really really hard. That could hurt Martin, since he mostly loses by gassing out, eating one right on the chin, and falling asleep.

Smith has always been a limited fighter, but I favor him in this fight because I think he has better striking, a better chin, and better gas. Martin might be able to pin him against the cage and control him, but I think Terry would gas out before he could win that way. Of course, with the amount of power these guys are packing, the fight is there for the taking whenever they’re exchanging punches. But Martin’s latest performances have been pretty bad, whereas Scott has mostly just been losing to fighters who have more talent and potential. Scott Smith KO round 2.

Yves Edwards (-140) vs. Duane Ludwig (+115)

It makes me sad that Duane has a chance here. Yves is a great pioneer of the sport, and has an admirably technical and well-rounded game. But he just hasn’t looked that great since Mark Hominick trashed him with body punches. Ludwig had great promise with his excellent kickboxing skills, but he was held back by the combination of never being able to wrestle, perpetually struggling with his submission game, and being a standup fighter with a marginal chin. Yves’ biggest problem lately has been getting overwhelmed by a big hitter, and, despite his kickboxing background and his banishing of Jens Pulver to some alternate dimension, Ludwig isn’t a power striker, relying on accumulating damage through combos more than simply taking someone’s head off.

I think Yves can use his well-rounded game to take Duane down and control him, possibly taking his back and submitting him in a scramble. This should be a pretty entertaining fight, since both guys are technical and sharp. Yves submission round 2.

Luke Stewart (+160) vs. Joe Riggs (-185)

Joe Riggs is such a basket case that he’s not even that heavily favored over someone he should be able to hammer mercilessly. Riggs gets embarrassed against top fighters and guys that have the skills to finish him quickly, but he looks like a monster against guys that aren’t on that same level. While Cory Devela did destroy his back with a judo throw, I don’t think that’s really a gameplan against Riggs.

Riggs nearly knocked out Misaki, who is very strong defensively and has a killer beard, so if this is a protracted standup affair, I think one of Riggs big hammers will clip Stewart and crumple him to the canvas. If Riggs wants, I think he can also wrestle and work ground and pound here. Joe Riggs by TKO round 3

I’m betting on Riggs here. Since I don’t think Stewart has the firepower to threaten Riggs under normal circumstances, I see it as -185 odds that Riggs comes in reasonably healthy and doesn’t get another freak injury.

Kim Couture vs. Lina Kvokov (no odds)
This is a total toss-up. Couture was supposed to beat her last opponent but got her jaw broken. Lina was probably hand-picked to lose to her, but I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that it’s likely Kim can’t fight at all and is just going to lose again here. Lina Kvokov by decision.

Darren Uyenoyama (-295) vs. Brad Royster (+250)

After an entertaining fight with Japanese janitor Hideo Tokoro, Uyenoyama returns to fight at a more natural weight class against an opponent he outclasses badly. Royster hasn’t fought in almost two years, and he wasn’t exactly setting the world afire at that time either. Darren should be able to flex his skills and get something nice to put on his WEC application video. Just please change your nickname to something other than ‘bonecrusher’. I hear ‘pitbull’ is nice. Darren Uyenoyama by submission round 1.

I don’t think Uyenoyama is given enough credit at these odds, so I think the heavy favorite is worth a play here.

My plays:

Babalu 3u to win .82u
Joe Riggs 2u to win 1.08u
Darren Uyenoyama 2u to win .65u

General Public Prediction Record
Public Bet History

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