Strikeforce Opening Odds: Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold (-285) vs. Tim Kennedy (+215)

StrikeForce: July 14, 2012 Portland, Oregon (Middleweight Title)  Click to watch videoLuke Rockhold (-285) – Middleweight Champion Profile: Rockhold (9-1) is riding an eight-fight winning streak since losing to Tony Rubalcava by TKO during his second Melee on the Mountain event back in 2007.  All eight wins have been in Strikeforce, including a first-round TKO of former UFC light heavyweight contender Keith Jardine.  Eight of Rockhold’s nine bouts overall have been decided in the first round, as he has submitted six of his opponents and knocked out two.  The 27-year-old Rockhold won the Strikeforce middleweight title with a five-round unanimous decision victory against Ronaldo Souza last September 10.  He was originally expected to face Kennedy last year, but a series of injuries kept him from competing for nearly 19 months. Tim Kennedy (+215) Profile: Kennedy (14-3) has won six of his last seven fights, with the lone loss coming against Souza for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight championship on August 21, 2010.  He was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision against Souza, who eventually lost the title to his upcoming opponent Rockhold a year later.  Since that loss, the 32-year-old Kennedy defeated Melvin Manhoef by rear-naked choke submission last March 5 and followed that win up with a unanimous decision victory against Robbie Lawlor nearly five months later.  He has served in the United States Army simultaneously while fighting in the past and signed on with Strikeforce in 2009. Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has opened the champion Rockhold as a solid -285 favorite (bet $285 to win $100) against the underdog challenger Kennedy, who is +215 (bet $100 to win $215) according to the Strikeforce odds.  Rockhold is five years younger than Kennedy and appears to be hitting his prime, so a call up to the UFC could definitely be in the cards with another impressive win here.  The only other possible matchup for either fighter on the horizon would be a rematch with Souza, although he too could be UFC-bound in the near future.  Two of Kennedy’s three career losses have been decisions, and he has knocked out five of his opponents and submitted seven of them.  Kennedy has totaled more knockouts and submissions with more overall experience than Rockhold, who has only gone the distance once in his career.  However, Rockhold’s motivation could very well be the difference in this fight, as he clearly knows he needs to win to take the next step.  A big payday and career move to the UFC is likely one the line, as he is currently the No. 9 middleweight in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings.

Written by Matty

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