Strikeforce Betting Preview: Strikeforce OKC Odds for Preliminary Card Bouts

Rockstar GirlsThe final Strikeforce preliminary bouts in Showtime history are set to take place this Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Knowing relatively well in advance that this would be the Strikeforce finale, founder and CEO Scott Coker has tried to create a stacked card full of veterans and fresh talent from top to bottom for this show, which will begin at 8 p.m. (ET) and be televised on Showtime Extreme. Kicking off the prelims is Ryan Couture (6-1), who will be making the final appearance in an organization he has grown up in, against KJ Noons (11-5). This will be a major step up in competition for Couture, as Noons is best known as the Elite XC inaugural lightweight champion, defeating Nick Diaz for the belt back in 2007. Noons has been in Strikeforce since Elite XC folded in 2008, and he is versed in multiple forms of stand-up, including karate, Sanshou and kickboxing, learning to implement them into MMA well. He has excellent movement and decent takedown defense, something needed against Couture, the son of MMA legend Randy Couture. Ryan takes after his old man in a few ways, a gritty overachiever who uses every ounce of ability he has gained throughout the years. He has a solid wrestling base, and in the last few years, his stand-up has come along well. But it remains to be seen if Couture goes that route with Noons, who opened as the -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while he is a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145). Next up, Army Ranger and Strikeforce middleweight contender Tim Kennedy (14-4) steps back into the cage one last time to take on Trevor Smith (10-2). Like the previous fight, this is a big step up in competition for Smith, as Kennedy has fought his way into title bouts twice in his Strikeforce tenure, losing a controversial unanimous decision to Jacare Souza in 2010 and again more decidedly to current middleweight champ Luke Rockhold in July of 2012. Kennedy opened as a big -450 favorite and is a massive 185er, a very well-rounded fighter coming out of Greg Jackson’s camp and earlier in his career with Chuck Liddell at The Pit. Meanwhile, Smith (+300) has been on the Strikeforce scene since mid-2011, going 3-1 with three submission wins. This is a fight that should be rough and tumble all around the cage. Both of these men are in great shape and know how to finish their opponent in a myriad of ways. The third fight on the Strikeforce finale prelims is another middleweight fight, this time featuring 5-1 Roger Gracie, who has looked sharp since making his debut at 185 in 2012. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master is squaring off against a 24-year-old journeyman in Anthony Smith (17-8), who has won 11 of his last 13 fights after going 6-6 to start his career between 2008-2010, finishing every single one via submission or TKO. Gracie (-280) obviously has the edge in the grappling department, but Smith (+210) may hold the advantage standing up. It will come down to whether or not Smith has the power to stuff Gracie’s attempts to take the fight to the floor. In the preliminary card main event, former Strikeforce lightweight contender Pat Healy (28-16) draws undefeated Strikeforce newcomer Kurt Holobaugh (9-0). Not much is known about Holobaugh since he was tapped on late notice to fill a slot on the card after Healy’s up-and-down last few months, where he fought his way to a lightweight title shot against Gilbert Melendez, only to have him get hurt to the point where he would never make another Strikeforce appearance again. Holobaugh is a solid grappler, and on the independent circuit he finished every fight except one with six submissions and two knockouts. But Healy is a grizzled vet who has been taking tough fights since the moment he first stepped in the cage, owning wins over Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and going 10-2 over his last dozen fights. This could be a long night for Holobaugh, who opened as a heavy +300 underdog against Healy (-450). A complete list of opening MMA odds for Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine follows… MAIN CARD (Showtime) Tarec Saffiedine +215 Nate Marquardt -275 Dion Staring +1050 Daniel Cormier -1750 Nandor Guelmino +850 Josh Barnett -1550 Mike Kyle +350 Gegard Mousasi -550 Ed Herman +265 Ronaldo Souza -365 PRELIMINARY (Showtime Extreme) Kurt Holobaugh +300 Pat Healy -450 Anthony Smith +210 Roger Gracie -280 Trevor Smith +300 Tim Kennedy -450 Ryan Couture +145 KJ Noons -175 (Unaired) Jorge Gurgel +205 Adriano Martins -275 Michael Bravo +125 Estevan Payan -155

Written by Jason Nawara

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