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It’s Showtime: Looking Ahead to a Great Night of Strikeforce Fights!

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Zuffa has, for the most part, a stranglehold on the MMA industry. There have, however, been challengers to their dominance over the years. Promotions like Pride and Affliction have put on major world-class events but ultimately had trouble competing with the deep pockets of Zuffa. The thing that I like so much about Strikeforce is that they put on a quality product and have an impressive talent roster, yet seem to have a business model that will ensure that they remain financially solvent. They are not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every event on multiple fighters like some other promotions have done. You'll find less emphasis on dancers, DJ's, heavy metal rock bands and pyrotechnics. Where Strikeforce places its emphasis is on delivering a quality night of fights with a good mixture of talented and well-matched fighters that have a crowd pleasing style. There is no doubt that Zuffa, with their UFC and WEC brands, consistently put on the best MMA events. But Strikeforce has quickly been elevated into one of the largest players in the industry, and is a promotional company that would appear to have the business insight to remain a viable producer of high-quality MMA programming for a long time to come. Now for a breakdown of their June 6th show on Showtime:

Middleweight- "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (16-4) vs. Jake Shields (22-4-1)

 

This catch-weight bout between two of the most talented fighters on the Strikeforce roster makes for the perfect main event to such a stacked card. Here you have a world class middleweight against a world class fighter in Shields that is coming up from welterweight to challenge himself.

Prediction: Lawler by knockout in the second.

Heavyweight- "The Pitbull" Andrei Arlvoski (15-6) vs. Brett "The Grim" Rogers (9-0)

Arlovski, a former UFC heavyweight champion, has always possessed an insanely talented offensive repertoire. However, he would be well-advised to employ a more conservative and measured approach that will better protect him from being open to big shots. The need for this new approach could be seen in full effect back in January when he fought the world's number one heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko. Arlovski was dominating the standup game with crisp striking until he got sloppy and leapt in with a flying knee (with his hands down). The rest is history. In Rogers, he will find a dangerous, large opponent that has heavy hands and an aggressive gameplan. Do not walk away from the television during this fight or you might miss a highlight-reel knockout.

Prediction: Rogers by knockout in the second.

Nick "Bad Boy" Diaz (19-7) vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (16-5)

Diaz is a world class fighter and Smith is one of the biggest fan favorites under the Strikeforce banner. Diaz would appear to be the more versatile fighter in this matchup but never count out Smith, who always makes for an entertaining fight.

Prediction: Diaz by submission in the third.

Middleweight- Joe "Diesel" Riggs (29-10) vs. "The New York Badass" Phil Baroni (13-10)

I'm unsure if this will be the fight that opens up the telecast on Showtime, but it would unquestionably be the fight that I would choose. Both of these fighters are all-action competitors that rarely take a step backwards. Because he's such an experienced veteran, it's easy to forget that Riggs is only 26 years old! My gut feeling is that Riggs takes this one, but "The New York Badass" has knockout power and is coming off of three straight victories. This is another fight that has serious potential to be a crowd pleaser.

Prediction: Riggs by knockout in the second.

Light Heavyweight- Kevin "The Monster" Randleman (17-12) vs. Mike Whitehead (23-6)

Many industry insiders have always viewed Randleman as an underrated fighter because of the fact that he has spent much of his career fighting top-notch heavyweights. Naturally a light heavyweight, Kevin would have accumulated a much better record if he had padded his record with cupcakes or fought his entire career at 205. But Kevin has never backed down from a challenge, which is good because he faces one in Whitehead. Mike has won 14 of his last 15 fights, the only loss being a decision to Renato "Babalu" Sobral.

Prediction: Randleman by decision.