Fedor Emelianenko, a man who was recently considered the pound-for-pound best MMA fighter in the world, will be making his first appearance in the cage after his submission loss to Fabricio Werdum. The loss was Fedor's first in 10 years, second in his entire career. On Feb 12, the former champion will face Brazilian Antonio Silva, a man who also has a recent loss against Werdum. Here are my predictions for the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix event.
Fedor Emelianenko versus Antonio Silva
Fedor will be highly motivated for his comeback. His loss to Werdum didn't really show any weaknesses on Fedor's part. He simply got a little careless with his punches, and got caught with the submission. Silva will be well motivated as well. A win over Fedor will look great on his resume, and bring him closer to a title shot. While Silva is clearly the bigger stronger man, Fedor is technically superior to him in all aspects of MMA and should be able to finish him off. Fedor wins by TKO.
Andrei Arlovski versus Sergei Kharitonov
Another big name MMA fighter trying to regroup after a loss, Arlovski will have his hands full against Kharitonov. Arlovski might be able to out strike his opponent, but the fight will eventually end up on the ground, and Kharitonov will secure the submission. Kharitonov wins by submission in the second round.
Shane Del Rosario versus Lavar Johnson
This is probably the toughest fight in Shane Del Rosario's MMA career. Both men like to trade strikes, which should make the fight really exciting. Rosario's kickboxing background should give him the advantage and keep him safe from Johnson's powerful punches. Rosario wins by decision.
Chad Griggs versus Gian Villante
Classic battle between two very different fighters; Griggs will try to keep the fight standing, while Villante will be constantly seeking takedowns. Villante should be able to secure the takedown and pound Griggs out. Villante win by TKO in the first round.
Valentijn Overeem versus Ray Sefo
Strikeforce matchmakers weren't doing Sefo any favors when they matched him up with Overeem. While Overeem's record isn't really impressive at 28-25, he does have 51 MMA fights over Sefo, and that should be the difference maker. Overeem wins by submission in the second round.
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