Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers Picks & Predictions

By Bryan Levick (

Tomorrow night mixed martial arts returns to CBS for the first time since last October as Strikeforce presents: Fedor vs. Rogers. The televised portion of the card has four bouts and all of them have some sort of title implications involved with them. Now on to my predictions.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers
Strikeforce and CBS have really stepped up here big time with the addition of Fedor on a card that will air during prime time and on free television. Scott Coker took a huge gamble by signing Fedor and if he is to recoup some of his investment he has to educate the average fan on just how good Emelianenko truly is. Picking Rogers as his opponent was a great move as The Grim has had some exposure fighting on CBS and Showtime over the past year. His 22 second destruction of former UFC heavyweight champion and former Fedor victim, Andrei Arlovski is what allowed Strikeforce to put him up against Fedor.

Strikeforce has been doing a hard sell in order to make Rogers, who has all of 10 career fights, a credible opponent for the man many experts call the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. With one punch knockout ability, Rogers can flatten any foe and put them to sleep. He is a fighter’s fighter, where he steps inside the cage and gives it all he has, leaving nothing behind. Unfortunately when you are going up against an athlete the caliber of Fedor, you need much more than knockout power and heart. Rogers may tag Fedor but Emelianenko has shown so much resilience in the past that he knows how to get himself out of trouble. It won’t be long before Rogers is on his back and tapping out to a patented Fedor armbar. Fedor Emelianenko via 1st round submission.

Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Jake Shields (for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship)
This is the bout that will most likely leave the best impression on the fans. These two are young, exciting and fighting for the opportunity to lead the middleweight division into the future. Both men have at one point in their careers competed as welterweights. Shields was the reigning welterweight champion of the now defunct EliteXC. Shields made the move to 185 and took on perennial top 10 middleweight Robbie Lawler back in June. Utilizing his terrific submission skills, Shields took advantage of a mistake made by Lawler and earned a submission victory in just two minutes.

Miller is also an exceptional grappler and has fought some of the world’s toughest competition including Georges St. Pierre, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Robbie Lawler, Frank Trigg, Denis Kang and Chael Sonnen. Neither man is an extremely powerful striker, when two very good grapplers meet up, the fight usually stays standing. With that being said, I see a five round back and forth affair that will be exciting and have fans calling for an immediate rematch. Jake Shields via split decision.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou- Light Heavyweights (non-title bout)
These two were all set to square off in Dream’s Super Hulk Tournament. Mousasi suffered a minor injury and was forced to pull out. Both men have faced Renato “Babalu” Sobral during the past year. Sobral choked out Sokoudjou while Mousasi put Sobral to sleep in a mere 60 seconds. I understand that MMA math never works but common sense does. Mousasi is a more complete striker, a much more accomplished grappler and has much better cardio than Sokoudjou. If this bout goes longer than 2 minutes I will be amazed. Gegard Mousasi via 1st round submission.

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Fabricio Werdum
Silva hasn’t fought in America since July of last year when he defeated the late Justin Eilers to capture the EliteXC heavyweight championship. Shortly thereafter he tested positive for steroids and received a one year suspension. He has fought twice during that time in Japan against sub par competition. Silva’s biggest win of his career was a split decision victory over an out of shape Ricco Rodriguez in February of 2008. Werdum will certainly be a step up in competition for the huge Brazilian. Silva is extremely powerful and is not afraid to take the fight to the ground, although he may want to avoid the mat as he is going up against one of the better submission specialists in the heavyweight division.

Werdum made his Strikeforce debut a successful one as he choked out Mike Kyle in 1:24 back in August. Also Brazilian, Werdum was once considered a top contender for the UFC heavyweight championship until Junior Dos Santos decided to make an example of Werdum and catapulted himself to the top of the UFC food chain while sending “Vai Cavalo” packing. Silva will hold about a 30lb weight advantage on top of his height and reach advantages. It would be in Werdum’s best interests to get Silva down and try and work some ground and pound. Neither fighter can be overly exciting. Unfortunately I see this one being a yawner, going all three rounds. Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision.

So, Strikeforce’s first foray on to basic cable should be an exciting one. I said earlier that all of these bouts held some sort of title implications and here is why I said that. Due to the extreme uncertainty of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, both the heavyweight bouts are key to the division. The winners of said bouts could face off against one another to determine a number one contender or in the case of Scott Coker finally waking up and stripping Overeem of a title has has never defended, it could be for the actual championship. Either way, both bouts are very important.

The Shields-Miller bout is for the Strikeforce middleweight title, nothing more needs to be said.

The light heavyweight bout could carry implications if Sokoudjou was somehow able to defeat Mousausi or at the very least give him a competitive fight. If either scenario were to happen that would create an instant contender in the African Assassin.

Nothing better than free MMA is what I always say, so if you know of any fans on the fence about the sport, give them a call. There is absolutely nothing to lose here. You are getting an opportunity to witness one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time in Fedor Emelianenko compete. Appreciate it because it’ll be the last time he is on free television again!

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