The January 12th, 2013 card that is slated to be STRIKEFORCE’s last event was looking to be on it’s last legs earlier this week, but that is not the case now. The event, planned for the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City was called ‘Champions’, but most of the title holders are off the card. STRIKEFORCE, in contrast to their recent ‘do nothing’ style that led to two show cancellations, appears to have moved quickly and they have announced a full card. Let’s take a look at the latest card….
The big news is that former titleholder Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza is stepping in for the injured Luke Rockhold to take on Lorenz Larkin in the Middleweight division, and that Light weight champion Gilbert Melendez has been replaced by Jorge Masvidal as the opponent for Pat Healy.
Souza will likely come in favored against Larkin, though Larkin is coming down from Lightheavyweight. Souza is UFC material at Middleweight, and I look for him to win this fight on the ground. If Larkin can make a stand up fight of it, he has a chance.
Healy and Masvidal is a pick ‘em fight in my book, as both are solid competitors who run hot and cold. Expect a three round fight, with the winner being the more active of the two in the striking department.
Other standouts recently announced for the card include Heavyweight star Josh Barnett and long time prospect Roger Gracie. Both are facing opponents that will see them favored in their bouts, as Barnett gets unknown Austrian Nandor Guelmino, who at 11-3 against strictly European competition is unlikely to have the bag of tricks to defeat Barnett. Gracie gets veteran Anthony Smith, who has put together a 3 fight win streak heading into this fight and is 17-8 at just 24 years old. In an interesting twist, Smith may actually be the least experienced opponent Gracie has ever faced, as at 5-1, he has gone against many very experienced opponents. With all due respect to Smith, he is also in the bottom rung of skill in terms of Gracie opponents, s look for Gracie to be favored by a large margin.
The complete card appears below. Look for lines on the entire card to start appearing at the books throughout December. If any matches come off this card in December, the specter of cancellation will continue to hover above the card.
- Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine – for the SF Welterweight Championship
- Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring (Heavyweight)
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle (Lightheavyweight)
- Lorenz Larkin vs. Ronaldo Souza (Middleweight)
- Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino (Heavyweight)
- Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal (Lightweight)
- Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith (Middleweight)
- Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith (Middleweight)
- Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons (Lightweight)