"The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko returns this Saturday to defend his status as the best heavyweight fighter in the world. Fedor takes on Fabricio Werdum in a non title fight, though should he win it will likely cement a title bout against Alistair Overeem later this year.
Also on the card is arguably the greatest female fighter on the planet Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos defending her Featherweight title. Rounding out the card is a rematch between Cung Le and Scott Smith as well as former lightweight champ Josh Thomson. Let's break down the card:
Fedor Emelianenko vs Fabricio Werdum
Fedor is 32-1 with 25 wins by stoppage. He has a strong background in Sambo, Judo, and Boxing. He has fought some of the best fighters in the world and is widely regarded as the best heavyweight fighter on the planet.
Werdum is 13-4-1 with 11 wins by stoppage. He has a strong background in BJJ, Judo, and Muay Thai. He has also faced top competition with slightly more mixed results but actually owns a win over Fedor's brother Aleksander and current Strikeforce heavyweight champ Overeem.
These fighters are actually more similar than people realize. Both have finishing power in their hands but both are actually more accomplished grapplers. However, if anyone has watched either of these two men fight even a newcomer can tell who is better.
This fight could be sloppy on the feet but that's just the way Fedor will want it. He'd rather take his chances there than go to the ground where it could turn into a stalemate. Werdum could land some magic on Fedor but no one's done it yet so I'm not going to start picking against him now.
I've got Fedor by KO in the first round.
Cyborg Santos vs Jan Finney
Santos is 9-1 with seven wins by KO. She is a vicious Muay Thai striker with a developing BJJ game. She has faced some tough fighters on her road to the championship with overwhelmingly positive results.
Finney is 8-7 with four wins by KO. She is a striker. As her record indicates she has faced a lot of tough fighters and often times comes out on the losing end (in one case three times to the same fighter).
This has brutal finish written all over it. Finney is a tough fighter but she is moving up a weight class and Santos is the strongest female fighter I have ever seen. Not to mention Finney won't want to take Cyborg down leaving the fight exactly where Cyborg wants it.
I'm picking Cyborg to win by TKO in the second round to retain her title. Is Strikeforce running out of competition for Cyborg? It certainly looks like it.
Cung Le vs Scott Smith
Le is 6-1 with all six wins by KO. He is a striker with a developing grappling game. He has faced a couple tough fighters with mostly positive results and was the former Strikeforce middleweight champ.
Smith is 17-6 with all 17 wins by stoppage. He is a striker with some wrestling ability. He has faced some tough fighters with mixed results.
This is a rematch of what some consider the fight of the year and what was certainly the comeback of the year in 2009. Both of these guys are good strikers. Le is better technically but Smith has more power and has a better chin.
This fight will most likely come down to whose conditioning is better and who has more heart just like the last fight. To be honest Le is seven years older and Smith definitely has the better chin. So with that in mind I'm picking Smith to win by KO in the third round.
Josh Thomson vs Pat Healy
Thomson is 16-3 with 12 wins by stoppage. He is a grappler with some kick boxing ability. He has faced some tough fighters with mostly positive results.
Healy is 23-15 with 19 wins by stoppage. He is also a grappler with some striking ability. He has faced quite a few tough fighters but unfortunately with mostly negative results.
As Healy's record indicates this is a "get right" fight for the former champ Thomson. Thomson has much better quality wherever the fight takes place. Not to mention Healy is normally a welterweight and will probably be extra drained for this fight trying to make 155 lbs.
I'm picking Thompson to get back on track with a submission victory in the first round.