Strikeforce Betting Preview: Heavyweight Grand Prix Final Barnett vs. Cormier

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix FinalAfter 18 months of false starts, heartbreak, company ownership changeovers and waiting, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will come to a close this Saturday at  10 p.m. (ET) with “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett taking on Daniel Cormier in the Final. Beyond the heavyweight action, MMA bettors and fans alike will be treated to four main card fights that will be televised on Showtime and an undercard of five more preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 8 p.m. The night will kick off with two up-and-coming welterweights in the fast-rising Nah-shon Burrel (8-1) and Chris Spang (4-1). These two relative newcomers to the MMA scene have been tooling around the Strikeforce Challenger cards and are looking to make a name for themselves in the bright lights of Showtime. Burrell opened as a solid -275 favorite (bet $275 to win $100) according to the MMA odds while Spang is a +205 underdog (bet $100 to win $205). In the second fight of the night, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (11-3) takes on Mike Kyle (19-8-1-1) in a match that sees little chance in going to a decision. Kyle knocked out “Feijao” in 2009 and looks to repeat that performance.  However, Cavalcante’s training at Black House with the Noguiera brothers and Anderson Silva has yielded a championship belt and a 4-1 record since his setback to Kyle, as he has only lost to Dan Henderson during that time. Cavalcante is a -175 favorite against Kyle, the +145 underdog. The co-main event brings Gilbert Melendez (20-2) and Josh Thomson (19-4-1) head-to-head for a third time in their storied careers, completing the trilogy for the Strikeforce lightweight championship. Melendez is ranked No. 3 in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings and is a heavy -415 favorite who has been rumored to be headed to the UFC sometime in the near future. He could finally make the move if he gets past Thomson (+315). Then finally, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix comes to an end. The Grand Prix has been a coming-out party for former Olympic wrestler Cormier (9-0), who notched an impressive victory over Jeff Monson before demolishing Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva en route to the finals. But in his way stands the formidable  Barnett, who has not lost a fight since 2008 and looks to prove that he still belongs in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Barnett had originally opened at -190 but has been bet down to -120 with action coming in on Cormier, moving his current MMA odds from +150 to -110.

Written by Jason Nawara

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