Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 | 6 p.m.
If You Go
- What: Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine
- When: Saturday, January 7, 5 p.m.
- Where: The Joint at the Hard Rock
- Tickets: $35 to $100, Ticketmaster
- TV: Showtime, tape-delayed at 10 on west coast
- Luke Rockhold, ‘King Mo’ Lawal push each other to Strikeforce headliner status
- Showtime extends Strikeforce deal for next year
- Prospect Lorenz Larkin looks to bring excitement to Strikeforce Challengers 19
- Keith Jardine returns to big stage as late replacement on Strikeforce card
- Strikeforce coverage
- All MMA/boxing coverage
Strikeforce officials rallied to put together Saturday’s fight card at the Hard Rock when it became obvious that the company’s television deal with Showtime would extend another year.
Strikeforce booked matches and promoted the card in less time than normal at the end of last year. The rush was because of the opportunity to take advantage of Showtime’s free preview weekend, which will make tomorrow’s card available to millions of homes.
“It’s a great showcase for our talent,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said.
Coker did his best to deliver some of the organization’s top talent. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Mohammed Lawal and Tyron Woodley are among the best pound-for-pond competitors left in Strikeforce.
They all had to sacrifice and implement a shorter training camp to compete on the card. Lorenz Larkin, who meets Lawal in one of the headlining fights, admitted that he was hesitant to accept the bout on four weeks’ notice.
“I don’t like taking fights at the last minute,” Larkin said “If it’s such a high-caliber guy, I don’t like a short camp like that.”
It should prove interesting to see if the short notice affects any of the fighters on tomorrow night’s card, which starts at 5. Showtime’s telecast airs via tape delay on the west coast with the preliminary bouts slated for 8 on Showtime Extreme before the main card at 10 on the flagship channel.
Check below for betting odds and picks of the five main card bouts.
Middleweight Championship Bout: Luke Rockhold (8-1 MMA, 7-0 SF) vs. Keith Jardine (16-10-2 MMA, 0-0-1 SF)
Line: Rockhold -550, Jardine +400
Matchup: Many are wondering aloud if the 36-year old Jardine is up for this opportunity. He got beat up in his Strikeforce debut, but salvaged a draw against Gegard Mousasi because of a penalty point deduction. Jardine is only 2-5-1 over the last two years, and the two wins have come in smaller promotions outside of the UFC and Strikeforce. Rockhold, 27, comes from an athletic background and will look to keep his distance and pick Jardine apart from the outside. Jardine will want to rush in and turn the bout into a dirty slugfest.
Pick: Rockhold by TKO
Middleweight Bout: Robbie Lawler (18-8 MMA, 2-4 SF) vs. Adlan Amagov (9-1 MMA, 2-0 SF)
Line: Lawler -170, Amagov +140
Matchup: A lot of people are hyping Amagov as a 185-pound contender, especially Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. The Russian hasn’t lost since his debut fight four years ago, when he said he had no idea what he was getting into. Lawler, even though he’s lost two in a row, is more of a proven commodity. He went 4-3 during a run in the UFC earlier this decade and has knocked out 15 opponents.
Pick: Lawler by decision
Light Heavyweight Bout: Mohammed Lawal (8-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) vs. Lorenz Larkin (9-0 MMA, 3-0 SF)
Line: Lawal -550, Larkin +400
Matchup: Larkin has never faced anyone near the caliber of ‘King Mo’. Lawal is a former Strikeforce champion and national champion wrestler. Larkin’s fast-paced striking style has gained favor with fans, but Lawal’s stand-up game has come around as well. Six of Lawal’s eight career victories are by knockout.
Pick: Lawal by TKO
Welterweight Bout: Tyron Woodley (9-0 MMA, 7-0 SF) vs. Jordan Mein (23-7 MMA, 1-0 SF)
Line: Woodley -320, Mein +260
Matchup: Woodley out-wrestled feared striker Paul Daley en route to a unanimous decision win last summer. It’s exactly what the former University of Missouri athlete does best. He’s the top welterweight in Strikeforce, even though the belt is still vacant. But Mein is no walkover. The 21-year old Canadian has fought professionally for five years and started training in kickboxing under his father, Lee Mein, when he was 11-years old.
Pick: Mein by TKO
Welterweight Bout: Tarec Saffiedine (11-3 MMA, 3-1 SF) vs. Tyler Stinson (22-7 MMA, 1-0 SF)
Line: Saffiedine -360, Stinson +280
Matchup: Saffiedine is pining for a rematch with Woodley if the two win their bouts at the Hard Rock. Like Woodley, Saffiedine has an underrated challenge this weekend. Stinson, as evidenced by his 15-second knockout win in his Strikeforce debut, has the powerful striking to combat Saffiedine’s grappling-based attack. The Belgian has five wins by submission and five by decision.
Pick: Saffiedine by decision