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Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine predictions

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Strikeforce has its final event in its existence and they've booked some fairly non-competitive bouts outside of the main event and a catchweight bout between UFC's Ed Herman and Jacare. Still, the preliminary card is exciting. Perhaps most importantly, we get the chance to get a fuller glimpse into the welterweight future of current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nathan Marquardt. If anyone could make waves in the division in the UFC, it's him.

What: Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

When: Saturday, the four-fight Showtime Extreme fights begin at 8:00 p.m. ET, the five-fight Showtime card starts at 10. Two fights on the preliminary card will not air.

Picks for the four main card fights airing tonight on Showtime below.

Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine

I just do not see what Saffiedine does and can do (short of an errant blow) that can give one confidence to pick him over Marquardt. The Team Quest product has very good takedown defense, an active guard, clean kickboxing and other noteworthy skills. The problem for him, however, is Marquardt has most if not all of those things (less so in the guard), but is also far, far more physical. He hits harder and is a devastating finisher. Saffiedine, by contrast, often fights as if he's just living in the moment. He hasn't stopped anyone since 2010.

I respect Saffiedine enormously. I also find Marquardt's drop to 170 pounds as fun and intriguing as his 'miraculous' ability to get off TRT given how badly he said he once needed. All very interesting stuff. But head to head, this is Marquardt's fight and I see no reason why he can't put Saffiedine away.

Pick: Marquardt

Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring

What else do we call this? It's not really a fight. It's more a mugging and one sanctioned by an athletic commission in the United States. This is seriously bordering on how much of a mismatch a promoter can book without having the commission reject it.

Again, this is MMA. Anything can happen. But there is no rational choice here but Cormier.

Pick: Cormier

Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle

Mousasi didn't compete once in 2012, so I have a few concerns on that front. But even then, what can we point to in Kyle's arsenal that tells us he can give Mousasi a tough time? And as for the ring rust, though it may well affect him, he's still enough of a season competitor where it'll undermine the considerable skill differential.

Pick: Mousasi

Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo Souza

This has the makings of being the most fun fight on the card that isn't a slaughter masquerading as a prize fight (although those can be delightful as well). Ultimately, I don't see Herman having enough to put it on Jacare to win a decision. I also see Herman's strong defensive capabilities perhaps making this boring as he fends off Jacare's attack en route to a decision loss. But Jacare is not Jake Shields, and there's reason to believe his athletic positional advancement could make the complexion of the fight more fan friendly. Still, the Brazilian has all the tools to win this.

Pick: Souza

Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino

Guelmino is an experienced heavyweight, but given the stakes, that's about the best you can say for him or his chances. There's no logical reason why Barnett should lose this fight either standing, but especially on the ground. If 'The Warmaster' wants to make a short night of it, he can. What else is there really to say?

Pick: Barnett