Tap Selections: Rockhold vs. Jardine

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. Photo courtesy of M-1 Global.

Less than a month since their last venture, Strikeforce kicks off the New Year with another event on Showtime. Saturday night’s main event features upstart Luke Rockhold making the first defense of his Strikeforce middleweight crown against Keith Jardine.

Other televised bouts include former Strikeforce light heavyweight title holder Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal going up against dangerous striker Lorenz Larkin and slugger Robbie Lawler battling Adlan Amagov.

Here are my predictions for the televised main card, which airs on Showtime starting at 10 PM ET.

Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine

Jardine's unorthodox style can give anyone nightmares, but losses in recent fights have shown that he's not at the same level as he was in the UFC. Rockhold's stand-up skills are ever-evolving and his impressive output against "Jacare" Souza show that he has to be respected. Couple that with the threat of Rockhold's takedowns and Jardine should be off his game. Rockhold should cruise to an easy unanimous decision victory.

Muhammed Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin

This is a terrible style matchup for Larkin, who has a puncher's chance, but will likely go down swinging away with punches and kicks before hitting the mat.  "King Mo" should put Amagov on his back early and often before eventually finishing him in the second round via TKO. The only chance Larkin can win is if he implements Rafael Feijao's exact strategy and hope that Lawal tires out once again. I don't see lightining striking twice.

Robbie Lawler vs. Adlan Amagov

Amagov is a durable fighter and has the striking to be able to hang with most. However with his stand-up skills being his best chance to win the fight, he's going to be wading into dangerous waters with Lawler, who has explosive one-punch knockout power and a tremendous chin to boot. Amagov could sting Lawler early, but it's tough to count "Ruthless" out. He'll probably take Amagov out in the first.

Tyron Woodley vs. Jordan Mein

Mein's vicious striking game has been impressive as of late, but he could be running into his kryponite in Woodley, a wrestler that has credentials few in the sport can match. Woodley, who is gearing up for a potential Strikeforce title shot with a win, may look to stand early in the fight in order to test where he stands, but will soon look for a takedown and impose his will. He should coast to a clear-cut decision win.

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson

Stinson may hold an edge in experience against Saffiedine, but the Team Quest member's resume feature a slew of tougher opponents. Saffiedine will have to be weary of Stinson's power and stingy top game, but Stinson will start to get battered by Saffiedine's superior arsenal. Saffiedine by submission in round two.

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