Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva was an exciting night of fights for fans. The all Heavyweight Strikeforce event actually provided a lot of entertaining fights and was probably a quite successful event for Strikeforce. It kicked off the beginning of their Heavyweight World Grand Prix in exciting fashion and already there is a lot of intrigue after the massive upset in the main event.
I made picks and betting predictions on the card and one important thing for a bettor to do, is to look back at the fights and see where we were right and where we were wrong. I went 3-2 on public predictions, but went 3-0 on my betting picks, including a huge underdog win with my pick of Antonio Silva in the main event. So congratulations if you decided to come along on the Underdog Train for profit.
For a quick recap of the fights and results from the undercard check out my own site HERE
For now let’s get into the main card fights.
Chad Griggs defeated Gian Villante by TKO in Round 1 (2:49)
[adinserter block=”2″]Closing Betting Line: Gian Villante (-325) – Chad Griggs (+250)
My Prediction: Villante by TKO in Round 2
My Placed Bets: None on this fight
What Happened?: I said in my analysis that I expected Villante to wrestle and use takedowns to win him this fight. I didn’t recommend a bet, because I thought the odds were too steep, and they continued to get worse, so I stayed away. I’m never a huge fan of laying big odds on a largely unproved prospect. Villante had a clear path to victory with his wrestling. Instead, he played right into Griggs’ strengths.
I said that the longer this fight stayed standing, the more it would benefit the underdog; Griggs. And “The Gravedigger” proved me right. He took advantage of Villante’s willingness to stand and trade and won most of the fight’s exchanges. Villante had a speed advantage, but Griggs was able to pick his shots and land the bigger, more powerful punches. Eventually after some back and forth trading, Griggs landed some shots that dazed Villante. Griggs sensing his opponent was rocked went right after him and delivered as another sizeable underdog.
Grand Prix Handicapping Thoughts for the Future: Villante proved that against the bigger and tougher competition of big league Heavyweights he’s not going to last. He needs to cut the weight and drop to 205 pounds, where he might find more success. Also, he needs to stick to a game plan and focus on winning the fight, using his strengths instead of playing into the strengths of his opponent. The loss will surely hurt his reputation and lose him some faith from his supporters in the betting public.
Griggs didn’t show us a whole lot that we hadn’t seen before. Villante never really worked for takedowns, so it’s hard to see if his defensive wrestling improved. But he again showed us that he has good stand up ability, crisp boxing and big power in his punches. Anyone willing to stand and trade with him is clearly putting themselves in jeopardy of getting knocked out.
Valentijn Overeem defeated Ray Sefo by Submission in Round 1 (1:37)
Closing Betting Line: Valentijn Overeem (-156) – Ray Sefo (+141)
My Prediction: Overeem via Submission in Round 1
My Placed Bets: 0.5 Units on Overeem (-150) to win 0.3333 Units (WON 0.3333 UNITS)
What Happened?: This fight kind of went exactly as I predicted in my analysis. Overeem and Sefo spent a bit of time trading on the feet, but Overeem was cautiously looking for openings the whole time. It didn’t take long for him to find one and capitalize. He was able to secure the neck of Sefo, and earn an awkward looking takedown. Overeem wasn’t able to lock in a full Guillotine Choke but was wrenching on Sefo’s neck and that was enough, as he earned a rare submission from a Neck Crank.
Grand Prix Handicapping Thoughts for the Future: Sefo showed that he has decent stand up skills, but no one was ever questioning his ability as a kick boxer. But, he clearly has issues in his overall MMA game. Despite expansive training with Randy and the team at Xtreme Couture, Sefo looked completely lost once the fight hit the mat, and tapped out from an unimpressive submission hold not long after. At 40 years old, he likely doesn’t have much of a future in the sport.
Overeem is on a bit of a career resurgence with 3 straight wins, and actually looked pretty good in this fight. His stand up looked good, and physically he looked in better shape than he usually does. He has a good training camp, but he’s advancing in age, so I doubt he turns himself into a contender. However, he should always be able to beat one dimensional fighters with his experience and well-roundedness. But the way this fight went down, it’s tough to make any meaningful analysis of his skills, other than him being in better physical shape than usual.
Shane del Rosario defeated Lavar Johnson by Submission in Round 1 (4:31)
Closing Betting Line: Shane del Rosario (-250) – Lavar Johnson (+190)
My Prediction: del Rosario via Submission in Round 3
My Placed Bets: 0.5 Units on del Rosario (-175) to win 0.2857 Units (WON 0.2857 UNITS)
What Happened?: Late money poured in on undefeated Shane del Rosario after the weigh-ins. And though bettors might have been sweating a little bit at the beginning of the fight, del Rosario came through for his supporters. I expected the two to feel each other out on the feet to get the fight started, and that’s what happened. But it didn’t last long, and early in the round Johnson earned a takedown and was ground and pounding on del Rosario for a bit. Shane was able to escape back to his feet, and the two began to slug it out once again.
The crowd came alive as the big boys kept looking for the knockout. That’s when my analysis proved correct, despite being two rounds earlier than I expected. Del Rosario settled down a bit and was able to use his speed to land some big counter punches as Johnson swung wildly. He then earned a trip takedown and put a ground clinic on Johnson. He quickly advanced to mount and delivered punches before transitioning to a straight Armbar and earning the tap-out.
Grand Prix Handicapping Thoughts for the Future: This was probably a good fight for both guys. Johnson fared better than many expected him to and was able to deliver some decent shots on the ground at the beginning of the fight. Johnson actually looked good on top, but del Rosario was able to escape relatively easily, so Johnson should look to improve his offensive grappling and wrestling a bit. In the stand up game, Johnson remains a threatening Heavyweight with big power who can end fights standing with any clean punch.
Shane del Rosario continued to improve his stock with the big win. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said we would surely see more of him on the main cards. He looked great escaping from the bottom against Johnson early in the round, and showed some real improvement in his grappling skills. He transitioned easily to mount and was able to ground and pound effectively. His transition to a straight Armbar was very smooth and impressive for a fighter who started as mostly a striker. His time spent at DeathClutch Gym is clearly paying dividends for the young Heavyweight.
Sergei Kharitonov defeated Andrei Arlovski by Knockout in Round 1 (2:49) – Grand Prix Quarterfinals
Closing Betting Line: Sergei Kharitonov (-130) – Andrei Arlovski (+115)
My Prediction: Arlovski by Unanimous Decision
My Placed Bets: None on this fight.
What Happened?: Basically what I thought would happen but talked myself out of. I said it several times in my picks and analysis that I thought Arlovski’s chin would likely betray him and it did. During the stand up, Arlovski did show a speed and technical boxing advantage. However, Kharitonov used the clinch and dirty boxing to land bigger power punches and test the chin of Arlovski. Midway through the round, he landed good Uppercuts from the clinch and rocked Arlovski, he poured on the offense as Arlovski swung wildly trying to defend himself, and Kharitonov knocked him out cold at 2:49 of the first round.
Grand Prix Handicapping Thoughts for the Future: Sergei Kharitonov proved to have a solid game plan going into the fight. He said he didn’t think Arlovski would be able to stand up to his power and he proved himself right. Knowing that Arlovski was more of a technical fighter, Kharitonov negated his advantage by fighting from the clinch and using dirty boxing. He landed the power shots and put an end to the fight early. Also good for him, was he took very little damage from Arlovski which is important moving onto the next round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Andrei Arlovski showed what everyone (including me) already knew. I said that I wasn’t sure I could trust Arlovski’s chin, but thought that his technical boxing would be better than Kharitonov’s. Both of those turned out to be true. Any time Arlovski fights it’s going to be hard to pick him since anyone with any semblance of power seems to knock him out with ease. That glass chin is a definite problem, and now on a four fight skid, one would have to wonder is the Belarusian will consider retirement.
Antonio Silva defeated Fedor Emelianenko by TKO in Round 2 (5:00) – Grand Prix Quarterfinals
Closing Betting Line: Fedor Emelianenko (-450) – Antonio Silva (+385)
My Prediction: Silva by Unanimous Decision
My Placed Bets: 1 Unit on Silva (+300) to win 3 Units (WON 3 UNITS)
What Happened: A lot of late money came in on Fedor and I actually ended up adding one more half unit on Silva at +325, and another half unit at +375, so I actually cashed in for a bit more on this fight. In terms of the fight however, it went largely as I expected, although Silva showed a bit more dominance than I ever thought possible.
The first round gave a slight edge to Emelianenko on most people’s scorecards. Silva tried to use his jab and reach advantage to stay on the outside of Fedor, but Emelianenko was able to sneak inside and land some decent punches. The two clinched and traded time against the cage eating and throwing knees. Fedor went for a Guillotine and Silva stumbled to the mat while escaping. Fedor dove into his guard and delivered some big punches, and almost got himself into a mount position, but had to settle for a crucifix position. Silva was able to get back to his feet and land some big punches, but Fedor was right there to trade with him until the end of the round.
The second round was all Silva. Five seconds into the round Silva ducked a punch and got a double-leg takedown. Emelianenko never got up. Silva quickly moved to half guard and delivered some ground and pound, before moving to mount and delivering some huge ground and pound. Fedor gave up his back several times, and Silva was almost able to lock in a Rear naked choke, before going for more ground and pound. He almost finished the fight with an Arm-Triangle choke, but Fedor again managed to escape. Silva continued to pound away however, and although Fedor looked for a knee bar with only seconds left in the round, it was a dominant round for Silva and he had battered the face of the Russian.
When Fedor returned to his corner after the round he was inspected by cage side doctors. They decided that he was unfit to continue. His right eye was completely swollen shut and bloodied and battered. The eye actually made what GSP did to Josh Koscheck look unimpressive.
[adinserter block=”1″]Grand Prix Handicapping Thoughts for the Future: After the fight Fedor hinted at retirement and although he hasn’t even hit 40 years old, that may not be a bad idea. He was once thought of as the most dominant Heavyweight on the planet, and earned his reputation, but he has now lost two straight fights. At 230 pounds, size definitely plays a part in his recent struggles. And as MMA evolves and Heavyweights get bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled, it’s going to be harder for Fedor to win. As it is, he showed his trademark durability, but was lacking the usual ground game from the bottom that had allowed him to escape from danger before.
For Antonio Silva he proved a lot in this fight. He said he thought his edge would lie on the ground and he went after it. Although he struggled to earn a takedown in the first round he was competitive on the feet, although it might be cause for concern that Fedor was able to land so easily despite the reach disadvantage. On the ground though, Silva put on an impressive showing. The BJJ Black Belt transitioned positions easily and almost ended the fight with two submission attempts as well as ground and pound that basically rearranged the face of the Russian. Silva proved that if you let him get on top of you, you’re going to be in for a long, hard, painful night.
Final Thoughts on the Card
Betting wise it was obviously an excellent night. Our two favorites came through for us and earned us a decent chunk of change. Seeing how easily Overeem dominated Sefo, I think I should have maybe laid a full unit on him at the price of -150, but hindsight is always 20-20.
And our big underdog bet came through for us. Those are the type of bets you only need to win once in a while to make them profitable, and anyone who came along for the ride congratulations on earning some cash with me.
I’ll be looking forward to UFC 127 later this month. As well as UFC on Versus 3 and Strikeforce: Columbus in the first weekend of March. Check out MYMANCAVE.ca and CamelClutchBlog.com for more previews and my picks for these events.
Lee McGregor is a fan of all combat sports including both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. When not catching fights or watching hockey, he can be found as an Author and Editor at his own website MyManCave.ca
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