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Strikeforce Daley vs Babalu Preview and Predictions


Strikeforce brings another feature card to the Scotttrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri with a Showtime televised event. The main event is a rematch ten years removed as former Pride multi-divisional champion Dan Henderson takes on former Strikeforce champion Renato "Babalu” Sobral in a pivotal light-heavyweight clash. In the co-feature Strikeforce highlight reel Scott "Hands of Steel” Smith makes his welterweight debut against Paul "Semtex” Daley.

Let’s take a look at main card and see how these five bouts may play out.


Dan "Hendo” Henderson (25-8) vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (36-8): Henderson comes in off a one-sided loss to Jake Shields in April as he challenged for the Strikeforce middleweight title. Prior to the loss to Shields, Henderson had won three straight bouts in the UFC including a crushing knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC 100. Despite top notch wrestling credentials Hendo is known more for his knockout power and owns ten TKO victories. Sobral is a jiu-jitsu master owning 18 submission wins among his 36 career victories but used his improved stand-up to outpoint Robbie Lawler in his last bout at Strikeforce Los Angles in June. Babalu has picked up victories in five of his last six bouts including three submissions.

Two great competitors battle in out with a title shot likely awaiting the winner. Henderson was dominated by a strong wrestler in his last bout and while Sobral would like to get this fight to the ground, Babalu doesn’t have the wrestling prowess of Shields. The fight will take place primarily on the feet and that’s Henderson’s advantage in this bout and Sobral has had difficulty with superior strikers. That combination will mean a difficult night for Sobral as Henderson tracks down Babalu and stops the Brazilian with a barrage of strikes in the second round.

Henderson over Sobral by TKO in round two.

Paul "Semtex” Daley (25-9-2) vs. Scott "Hands of Steel” Smith (17-7): Daley has won two straight since his infamous post fight punch after his loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 in May. Daley picked up a hard fought decision win over Jorge Masvidal in his most recent bout at Shark Fights 13 in September. Daley owns deadly knockout power as evidenced by his 18 TKO wins. Smith has been involved in some of the most exciting slugfests in MMA history and also owns great knockout power with 14 TKOs in 17 wins. In his last bout in June Smith was stopped by Cung Le in the second round just six months after a thrilling come from behind victory over Le.

Another bout with possible title implications as Daley has already called out current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz. Smith’s style seems to be tailor-made for the power striking game of Daley. Smith does not possess the ground game to take advantage of the brash Brit. Combine those items with the fact that this will be the first cut to 170 for Smith and you have the potential for a highlight reel win for Daley and I think that is what we will see late in round one.

Daley over Smith by TKO in round one.

"Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-6) vs. Matt "The Law” Lindland (22-7): Lawler is a talented striker with 14 TKOs among his 17 professional MMA wins. Lawler has dropped two of his last three including a decision loss to Babalu Sobral in June. Lawler’s last win was a stunning KO of Melvin Manhoef after being dominated for the majority of the first round. Lindland is a grizzled veteran with an Olympic wrestling background and enters this bout off a third round stoppage of Kevin Casey in May. Prior to the Casey win Lindland had dropped three of four bouts but to who’s who in MMA, namely Jacare Souza, Vitor Belfort and Fedor Emelianenko.

Lawler looks to rebound from the disappointing loss to Sobral and Lindland will try to begin a late career surge in hopes of one final title run. It will be the younger and faster Lawler who owns this bout with his speed and power striking as Lindland will not be able to implement his clinch and takedown game. Lindland is a tough competitor but Lawler will be too much as he earns a lopsided unanimous decision.

Lawler over Lindland by unanimous decision.

Mike "MAK” Kyle (18-7-1) vs. Antonio "Big Foot” Silva (14-2): Kyle enters as a late replacement for an injured Valentijn Overeem and also moves back up to heavyweight. Kyle has been on a roll with five wins and a no contest in his last six bouts including a TKO over Stephen Oliver just four weeks ago. MAK owns 12 career victories by TKO and will look to add Silva to that list. Silva comes off a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski in May. Silva owns seven wins in his last eight bouts with the only loss coming at the hands of Fabricio Werdum.

Kyle deserves props for stepping up on short notice but he will not be able to overcome the size advantage of Silva as Big Foot will wear down Kyle with his size in the clinch game. Kyle will hang tough early but will eventually succumb to a ground and pound attack from Silva

Silva over Kyle by TKO (ground & pound) in round three.

Benji "Razor” Radach (21-5) vs. Ovince St. Preux (8-4): Radach has been out of action since a TKO loss to Scott Smith in April of 2009. Radach is rarely involved in a boring fight or even one that goes the distance as Radach has finished 18 of his opponents including 17 TKOs, but has also had all of his losses by TKO. St. Preux was just in the cage two weeks ago when he defeated Antwain Britt at Strikeforce Challengers 12. The former University of Tennessee linebacker has won five straight with four by TKO and has five TKOs and two submissions among his eight career wins.

Radach has a tremendous edge in experience and punching power but will the cage rust play a part in this fight. St. Preux came out strong against Britt but did fade a bit as the fight progressed so look for Radach to weather the early storm while he establishes his range. Radach will find St. Preux’s chin midway through round two and earn a TKO victory.

Radach over St.Preux by TKO in round two.

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