We'll attempt to answer those questions and more as we predict the winners of Saturday night's Strikeforce event below.
What: Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine
When: Saturday, the undercard will be televised by Showtime Extreme starting at 8 p.m. ET and the Showtime televised main card begins at 10.
Where: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Predictions on the five Showtime televised fights below.
Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine
Giving Jardine a Strikeforce middleweight title shot is an odd move: Jardine left the UFC on a four-fight losing streak, fought to a draw with Gegard Mousasi in his only Strikeforce fight, and has never fought at middleweight before. So, yes, the matchmaking here is a little strange. But Rockhold is the promotion's middleweight champion, and Strikeforce needs to find him high-profile opponents, and given the current middleweight depth in Strikeforce, Jardine was about as good as it was going to get.
So how does this fight go? I have a feeling Jardine is going to be weakened by the weight cut, and that Rockhold will have better cardio and have his way with Jardine on the ground. Eventually I like Rockhold to finish Jardine on the ground.
Robbie Lawler vs. Adlan Amagov
The matchmaking here is a little strange, too, but the fight itself should be a lot of fun: Lawler and Amagov are both heavy hitters with exciting styles. Lawler has lost four of his six fights since signing with Strikeforce in 2009 and may be fighting for his job, and I think he'll come out focused and ready to finish Amagov quickly.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin
Larkin is one of the most fun fighters to watch on the entire Strikeforce roster, as evidenced by a cult following he developed while winning three straight Challengers Series fights. But while Larkin has a 12-0 record with eight wins by knockout or TKO, he's never faced anyone even remotely as good as King Mo. Lawal is so much better a wrestler than Larkin that he can easily grind out a decision on the ground if he chooses to, and the biggest question may be whether Lawal decides to keep it safe and win a decision or take some chances and try to put on a show. I expect Mo to take the latter approach, which means there's a chance Larkin catches him with one of his patented unorthodox strikes, but the much more likely result is that Mo proves he's simply too skilled a mixed martial artist for someone as raw as Larkin.
Tyron Woodley vs. Jordan Mein
Woodley is a great wrestler who's getting better standing up and is now 9-0 in his professional MMA career. Mein has looked good recently and is on a six-fight winning streak, and he might test Woodley's chin. But Woodley shouldn't have much trouble clinching with Mein, taking him down and winning a decision.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson
Saffiedine lost to Woodley a year ago and then bounced back with a good win over Scott Smith. Stinson won his Strikeforce debut with a 15-second knockout of Eduardo Pamplona in July, but he's going to struggle trading strikes with Saffiedine.