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Are You Ready: “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum”

Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum has few of the makings of a classic. From top to bottom there is very little to capture the imagination in this card. Fedor Emelianenko is obviously the main attraction but it takes two to make a fight interesting and there is little in the record of FabricioWerdum, who has lost four out of his last 11 fights, to suggest he is going to unduly trouble ‘The Last Emperor’.

Fedor has shown an increasing tendency to take punishment in his recent victories but it would be a major surprise if the most dominant heavyweight on the planet were to fail where the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Junior Dos Santos have succeeded.

Fedor’s retirement is rumoured to be imminent and Alistair Overeem is the only remaining credible opponent not contracted to the UFC. Overeem is riding an eight fight win streak and, unlike Werdum, has earned his shot at Fedor. The sooner Strikeforce matches these two heavyweights together the better. Although Fedor will be a strong favourite against Overeem this should at least be a competitive fight whereas the bookmakers think that Fedor will have no difficulty in dispensing of the challenge of Werdum and I am inclined to agree with them.

There are many MMA fans who feel that any card featuring Fedor is worth a watch but those that have grown disillusioned with the Russian since his refusal to sign with the UFC are unlikely to tune in purely on the strength of the remainder of the card.

The co-main event features a women’s world title match between Jan “Cuddles” Finney and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. If you thought the main event looked a bit one sided check out the odds for this fight, you could get 15/1 on Finney to win.

Finney may have won her last four fights but prior to that she had lost seven out of her previous nine. Cyborg may have lost her first ever MMA fight but she went on to win the next nine deposing the previously unbeaten Gina Carano in the process. I suspect Finney is going to be on the wrong side of a bad beating and I personally am not particularly interested in seeing it happen.

Scott Smith vs. Cung Le II is one the few redeeming fights on this card. Le was dominating Smith in their first meeting until Smith somehow scored a surprise knock out in the third and final round. Le had been out of action for over 18 months and could have been excused a little ring rust going into this fight. He is unlikely to make the same mistake twice and will be looking finish Smith as soon as possible to avoid being on the wrong end of another unlikely comeback.

I think that Le is one of the most talented mixed martial artists on the planet but unfortunately he came into the sport a little too late to leave a truly indelible impression on it. Wrestlers might be able to continue fighting MMA at an elite level into their 40s but wrestling is very much strength based and strength is the last thing to desert an aging fighter.

Cung Le is primarily a stand up fighter and his game is far more reliant on speed. Aged 38, and with his acting commitments seemingly taking precedent over his fight career, I suspect Le’s MMA career will soon be coming to a premature end. I still think he has plenty to offer Strikeforce and I expect him to redeem the only loss of his career against Smith.

Former lightweight champion Josh Thomson will be looking to get his career back on track against Pat Healy after losing his title to Gilbert Melendez late last year. Getting past Healy will be no easy task, he is a hugely experienced veteran who holds wins over Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and Dan Hardy. Healy was a late replacement but he is riding a three fight win streak and will be looking to put himself firmly in the title picture with a win over Thomson.

“Strikeforce: Los Angeles” was not on paper a particularly promising card but still provided more than its fair share of entertainment. Perhaps the latest installment of the Strikeforce series will also prove to be greater than the sum of its parts but given the sort of matchmaking on offer, I seriously doubt it.