STRIKEFORCE has started to put together their January event, after two straight cancellations. The show, planned for Oklahoma City on January 12th, has announced 5 bouts so far, including three title bouts. The Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez will face Pat Healy, his opponent from the cancelled September show, Middleweight kingpin Champ Luke Rockhold takes on Lorenz Larkin, his opponent from November’ cancellation, and Welterweight titlist Nate Marquardt takes on Tarec Saffiedine. The card will also feature top Heavyweight Daniel Cormier, as he takes on newcomer Dion Staring. Though the card looks solid so far, it isn’t the ‘Supercard’ people were talking about for a last show….
The UFC is apparently not doing STRIKEFORCE any favors with talent. In fact, the biggest asset STRIKEFORCE has as far as talent, 135 lb Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, is rumored to be UFC bound and has not been listed to fight on this card at all.
Yet the UFC is not shipping any talent over to STRIKEFORCE to liven the card up at all.
Healy versus Melendez was the headliner for one of the cancelled shows, and Melendez will likely be installed as a massive favorite in the fight. Though Melendez has been caring for an injury, and Healy is a tough customer, he is unlikely to present Melendez with anything new or challenging in the fight.
Likewise with Rockhold and Larkin. Rockhold has been strong and dominant as the 185 lb champion, and in fact would make a solid fit in the 185 lb division of the UFC> A match with up and comer Cris Weidman would have been interesting, instead we get Larkin again, a fighter who is likely not ready for Rockhold.
Marquardt and Saffiedine is a more intriguing match, however we will see Marquardt’s experience come through in this one. I look for Marquardt to be installed as a solid favorite as well.
The new matchup on the card has Heavyweight star Daniel Cormier facing off against newcomer Dion Staring, a training partner of Alistair Overeem with a solid 28-7 record and a lot of experience under his belt. Staring however, has no one like Cormier on his resume, and is likely to not have the wrestling to stay up on Cormier. Once it gets into ground and pound, this one will be over quickly.
Overall, STRIKEFORCE is gathering as many of their bigger names as possible for their final card, but they have failed to put together any truly compelling matchups. Stay tuned to see if the oddsmakers give up anything as value, but these all look like bet the dog or pass type matches, the favorites will likely be too heavily favored to make it worth betting.