The ZUFFA owned fight promotion Strikeforce returns to action this evening with a two championship bout fight card at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. Start time in tonight’s Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy showdown is scheduled for 10pm ET; it will be broadcast live on Showtime. Strikeforce Fight Predictions and Odds have Luke Rockhold, the current middleweight champion, listed as a 3-1 favorite against Kennedy (a 12-5 underdog or $100 to win $240). In the co-main event, former UFC middleweight title contender Nate Marquardt is drawing 10-13 odds ($130 to win $100) in a welterweight championship match with the undefeated Tyron Woodley (1-1 odds).
Luke Rockhold is a dangerous man and he has a long list of victims in his wake to prove it. The well rounded fighter, who earned the Strikeforce middleweight strap in January with first round TKO of former UFC contender Keith Jardine, has won eight fights in a row and only one of those went the distance. Rockhold faces, arguably, his most difficult challenge yet in Kennedy, though.
Kennedy, a former Army Special Forces senior weapons sergeant, owns a 14-3 professional record; he is 5-1 in his last six fights, all of which came under the Strikeforce banner. Kennedy last fought in July of 2011 when he defeated Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision.
This evening’s welterweight title fight features a far more experienced brawler in Nate Marquardt, a veteran of 46 professional fights, taking on former Missouri wrestler Tyron Woodley.
Marquardt, who got booted from the UFC after failing a drug test on the eve of a scheduled battle with Rick Story, has faced most of the top ranked middleweights in the world, including Anderson Silva, Yushin Okami, and Chael Sonnen. He is dangerous on the ground but also a skilled technical striker with several finishes coming by way of KO and TKO.
Woodley comes in with an undefeated 10-0 mark and eight of his 10 victories have come as a Strikeforce fighter. While Woodley’s resume lacks the experience and pedigree of Marquardt’s, he does own impressive wins over Tarec Saffiedine and Paul Daley.
Strikeforce Fight Predictions: Kennedy is a game opponent to be sure, but Rockhold is the more skilled fighter of the two. Kennedy will be hard for Rockhold finish, but the champ will easily out point him. In the co-main event, Marquardt is far and away the more dangerous striker, but he will have his hands full dealing with Woodley’s wrestling skills. Woodley has faced superior strikers before (see Paul Daley) and still emerged victorious. This fight could resemble Marquardt’s battle with Chael Sonnen as Woodley’s style is similar to Sonnen’s wrestling oriented approach. Marquardt lost that fight via unanimous decision, but I still look for him to get the win this evening. On the undercard take Jason High at -220 against Nate Moore. I am personal friends with High's strength and conditioning coach and I have witnessed High's freakish strength and athleticism in person. He will get the job done tonight against a skilled but over-matched Moore.
Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy Fight Odds:
Luke Rock hold -300 vs. Tim Kennedy +240 (Middleweight Championship)
Nate Marquardt -130 vs. Tyron Woodley +100 (Welterweight Championship)
Roger Gracie -180 vs. Keith Jardine +150
Lorenz Larkin -125 vs. Robbie Lawler -105
Jorge Masvidal -225 vs. Justin Wilcox +175
Pat Healy -400 vs. Mizuto Hirota +300
Jason High -220 vs. Nate Moore +170
Jordan Mein -260 vs. Tyler Stinson +200