Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few days, there has been some confusion about whether all of the Strikeforce fighters will be transferred over to the UFC. Many of them will. Strikeforce contracts were owned by the same parent company as the UFC, so they are legally transferrable. Others won't make it, either because they are victims of losses that will see them cut, or have become free agents with price tags that Zuffa does not want to meet.
Josh Barnett right now seems in danger of falling into the last category. Barnett's fight deal expired with his Saturday night win, and the UFC hasn't tipped their hand regarding their interest in bringing him into the fold.
Despite the fact that he wasn't in the main event or co-main event, Barnett was the night's highest earner, pocketing a $250,000 check for 131 seconds of work. It's unlikely the UFC would want to pay him such a figure as a downside guarantee. For comparison's sake, Cain Velasquez was guaranteed $100,000 for his recent UFC 155 fight. Now, that comparison is somewhat apples to oranges as Velasquez does earn added compensation in the form of a lucrative pay-per-view bonus, but there are simply few fighters who make over $200,000 in show money alone. Add in the fact that Dana White isn't particularly fond of Barnett, and you have a formula for some strained negotiations.
Barnett, who is 35 years old, is still a marketable talent in a division with a historically shallow talent pool, but it's unclear if that alone will get the UFC to ante up. Bellator could be an attractive alternative for him, as he has performed in pro wrestling for years and the Spike partnership makes a duel contract with Bellator and TNA a possibility, or Barnett could simply exist as a hired gun, working with some of the world's other promotions looking for major names. Right now, anything seems possible but little is clear.
On to the predictions …
Well, who saw that coming? Saffiedine, whose best career win prior to Saturday came against Scott Smith, chopped his opponent's leg into hamburger meat and out-wrestled him en route to the first major upset of 2013. While that win will help vault Saffiedine up the divisional rankings, there's no question he has some work to do before he can be considered as a title challenger in the loaded UFC welterweight division.
Prediction: Is it too early to thrust him into a matchup with Martin Kampmann? Who cares? I like that stylistic matchup.
Marquardt said he wasn't ready for Saffiedine's kick-heavy offense, and it showed, as the 55 leg kicks landed over the course of the five-round main event were the second most ever in a Zuffa fight, only behind Carlos Condit's 68 against Nick Diaz. After reinventing himself as a welterweight, Marquardt seemed like a lock to bust into the UFC title picture. Instead, he'll be made to pick up the pieces.
Prediction: He faces the loser of UFC on FUEL 8's Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun Kim fight
Now that Cormier finally, mercifully has his "+1" fight out of the way, he can finally move on with his career. He wants Frank Mir and Mir wants him; this ain't rocket science, folks.
Prediction: They both get what they want, as the co-main event at UFC 159.
For a long time, Mousasi has been one of the most intriguing fighters outside of the UFC, a champion in multiple promotions and multiple divisions with a serial-killer disposition and a willingness to fight anyone. Do most people even remember when Mousasi, then a middleweight, beat UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt in all of 79 seconds? That was part of a stretch where he beat Melvin Manhoef, Ronaldo Souza and Hunt consecutively. Pretty impressive, no? The best part is that Mousasi is still just 27.
Prediction: He fights Ryan Bader, as long as Bader gets past Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC on FOX 6.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
"Jacare" has been criminally underrated for years, losing only once in his last eight fights, and that in a close and somewhat controversial decision to current champion Luke Rockhold. That's a fight that deserves a rematch somewhere down the line, but not just yet.
Prediction: He faces Mark Munoz
With his win, controversial as it might be, Couture likely ensured his entry into the UFC. That would make him the first-ever second-generation fighter in the octagon. That's a story that will no doubt garner mainstream attention but it also might mean more pressure his way.
Prediction: He faces the winner of UFC on FUEL 7's Danny Castillo vs. Paul Sass
After fighting just once ins 2012, Kennedy started off his '13 year right with a submission win on the Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine undercard. With all due respect to Trevor Smith, the opponent level in that fight left something to be desired.
Prediction: He fights Tim Boetsch
Hey, remember the time Pat Healy was going to fight for the belt and then ended up fighting a virtual rookie on the undercard instead? It was a rough turn of events for the veteran, who at least stretched his win streak to six in a row. Who knows where that places him in the UFC's stacked lightweight division? He's capable of fighting anyone from a top-tier opponent to an octagon newcomer.
Prediction: He faces the winner of UFC 156's Gleison Tibau vs. Evan Dunham fight.
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