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Strikeforce Challengers 13 Preview for “Woodley vs. Saffiedine” Tonight on Showtime

MMA fans will be in for a real treat with tonight’s Strikeforce Challengers 13 event, which falls during a free preview weekend on Showtime, making it available in 61 millions homes.

The card, headlined by welterweights Tyron Woodley vs. Tarex Saffiedine, begins at 11pm ET, so do not visit if the show is being delayed in your area and you wish to avoid results.

Let’s get into tonight’s fight card:

Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine

In the main event for the evening former Mizzou wrestler Tyron Woodley takes on Belgian mixed martial artist Tarec Saffiedine. Woodley is a 2x All-American wrestler who blends his solid takedown offense with a solid submission game from the top. Woodley has finished all but one of his fights within the distance. Expect him to push the pace and look to ground Saffiedine where he can utilize his submissions and ground and pound to look for the finish.

Conversely, Saffiedine tends to have most of his fights end up in the judges hands. Saffiedine is a true mixed martial artist who blends multiple arts together to meet wherever the fight ends up. He possesses strong takedown defense and when he is taken down, he looks to immediately return to his feet. This will be key against the All-American wrestler.

While I give a slight striking edge to Saffiedine, Woodley is considered one of the top 170 prospects for Strikeforce for good reason. Expect him to look for the finish (he does not like to grind out decisions) but will likely struggle to keep Saffiedine down early on. Eventually I think Woodley will overtake the Belgian but I do expect it to be close.

Daniel Cormier vs. Devin Cole

Daniel Cormier is one of the great heavyweight prospects in the sport right now and for good reason. He blends Olympic wrestling with heavy hands and he is always looking to finish the fight. In Cole, Cormier has a veteran MMA veteran who, like most heavyweights, will hold a height and reach advantage over Cormier. Cole comes from a wrestling background as well but in this situation, his wrestling is outclassed and will have to use “wrestling in reverse” in the clinch and try to utilize his reach advantage.

That said, I think Cormier should have involvement in the Strikeforce Heavy Tournament for good reason. I think Cole puts up a decent fight but Cormier will likely fight inside Coles reach and pin him against the cage before unloading with heavy strikes.

Ovince St. Preux vs. Abongo Humphrey

In other action Atlanta fighter Abongo Humphrey will square off with former Tennessee Volunteer, Ovince St. Preux. St. Preux has been active of late, having fought once a month since November, so it will be interesting to see how (or if) that affects him here. St. Preux hits like a freight train and is a top athlete. The only problem Ovince St. Preux had in his last bout was poor officiating and Radach’s ability to take a punch.

Abongo is looking to bounce back from a July loss to Mike Kyle. Abongo was the victim of a bad stand up from the official but his technique (or lack there of) is what gets him in trouble. Abongo likes to swing freely on his feet and is very active in looking for submissions on the ground.

Expect a fight that will be less than technical most of the time but is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

Rhadi Ferguson vs. John Richard

In a fight that just came together Tuesday, Dr. Rhadi Ferguson takes on John Richard. Dr. Ferguson brings an excellent grappling pedigree to the cage. However, his striking is wild and he has not shown good placement in his fights. When he connects, he connects with power, but with the poor technique, he could get himself in trouble.

Ferguson had been preparing for Ion Cherdivara, but due to visa issues, South Carolina fighter John Richard will be stepping in to fill his place. Richard is no easy replacement though. The Team Revolution/Linic MMA fighter brings a 3-1 record to the cage. Richard was an All-American wrestler at Limestone College and his mixed training, with many underrated trainers like Brian Plemfel, and has turned him into a tough fighter. Even though he only found out about the fight Tuesday he will be looking to make the best of his opportunity and notch what many would consider an upset for the up and coming fighter. This will be his first fight at 205 after spending his earlier fights around 230.

Julia Budd vs. Amanda Nunes

While information has been scarce on both fighters, Julia Budd has been a Muay Thai fighter for years and includes a notable win over Gina Carano. Budd has been reported to possibly be in line to face Cyborg with a win tonight even though it is only her second professional fight.

Pictured: Tyron Woodley, Tarec Saffiedine

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