Zuffa’s second brand, STRIKEFORCE, limps along with little publicity or love as they head into their July 14th card scheduled for Portland, Oregon and headlined by a Middleweight Title fight between champion Luke Rockhold and challenger Tim Kennedy. The rest of the card is interesting as well, and one that has a solid list of fighters that are trying to bounce back from losses, such as the always entertaining Jorge Masvidal and JJ specialist Roger Gracie. Also of note is the appearance of youn Ryan Couture, the son of UFC legend Randy Couture.
By the time the fight goes down in mid-July it will have been roughly one year since we last saw Tim Kennedy. Kennedy is a tough guy who owns some good wins, but how will ring rust affect him against Rockhold, a champion who has been building momentum like a snowball rolling downhill.
Rockhold remains undefeated, even as STRIKEFORCE has slowly raised the level of his competition in the past year.
Also on the card is former UFC contender Nathan Marquardt, returning to the Zuffa fold to take on Tyrone Woodley for the vacant Weterweight title. Woodley is a tough guy, and we have yet to see how Marquardt will look at 170 lbs, when he has comepted at a high level at 185 lbs. This is one to wait and see the weigh ins, for sure.
Roger Gracie certainly need s a win and an impressive one, since his last outing saw him get hit and roll over (literally) to Mo Lawal. Facing Keith Jardine, he might get hit again, but Jardine is a good bounceback opponent for Gracie, as Jardine has had nothing in the tank for a long time.
Jorge Masvidal is also coming off a loss, but he fared better against 155 lb Champion Gilbert Melendez. He faces Justin Wilcox in a bout that could be harder than many expect, but will see Masvidal favored.
As for Ryan Couture, well, he is young and he is 4-1 in his MMA career. he fights at 155 lbs, and from what I have seen, he simply doesn’t have his father’s grit, talent and athleticism. It has been exposed once before, and it will be exposed again IMO, the question is, is opponent Joe Duarte the guy to do it?
Overall a decent offering from Strikeforce and one worth watching. The show airs 1 week after the UFC’s Sonnen-Silva 148 event! Enjoy!