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Strikeforce Challengers Predictions

Friday night gives us the first look at the new, revamped, Zuffa-owned Strikeforce Challengers Series, which will take place at its new permanent home of the Palms in Las Vegas for the first time, and which has what looks like a very good five-fight card thanks to some good Zuffa matchmaking. Here's everything you need to know.

What: Strikeforce Challengers: Bowling vs. Voelker III

When: Friday, the Showtime televised card begins at 11 PM ET.

Where: Palms Resort Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Predictions on the five televised fights below.

Roger Bowling vs. Bobby Voelker
In May of 2010, Bowling put on a great show in beating Voelker by technical decision, but the first fight between the two ended in controversy when Voelker accidentally poked Bowling in the eye. In October, their rematch gave Voelker an opportunity for revenge, and he made the most of it, beating Bowling by second-round TKO.

Now the two of them will settle the score once and for all in Friday night's main event, and it should be an entertaining fight that puts one of them in a good position for big fights in the Strikeforce welterweight division going forward. I think it's going to be Bowling, who's an athletic and exciting young fighter who's continuing to improve and should be able to correct the mistakes he made against Voelker the last time around.
Pick: Bowling

Devin Cole vs. Shawn Jordan
Jordan is a former LSU fullback who's built like a bowling ball and hits hard but hasn't developed into a well-rounded fighter. Cole is on a two-fight losing streak, but he's much more experienced than Jordan and a more complete fighter and should be able to pull out a victory.
Pick: Cole

Joe Cason vs. Ovince St. Preux
St. Preux is a former University of Tennessee linebacker who has really improved in the last couple of years and is riding a seven-fight winning streak. But he still relies a little too much on his strength and athleticism to overpower his opponents, and I think his wild style makes him susceptible to getting finished by a well-rounded opponent like Cason. I look for Cason to hurt St. Preux with punches and win a TKO.
Pick: Cason

Liz Carmouche vs. Sarah Kaufman
Carmouche is 5-1 and Kaufman is 13-1, and both have lost only to Strikeforce's 135-pound champion, Marloes Coenen. The winner will have good case for another shot at the 135-pound belt, and although Carmouche showed off some great takedowns against Coenen, I think Kaufman is the one more likely to get top position on the ground and control this fight.
Pick: Kaufman

Ron Stallings vs. Adlan Amagov
The Russian Amagov is an exciting striker who has knockout power in his hands and his feet, but I don't think he has the ground game to compete with Stallings, who should be able to take Amagov down and submit him.
Pick: Stallings

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