(If Arlovski comes in with the same game plan as that big-ass tire, at least we know Rogers will be ready for him.)
There are exactly two indicators that something is important in contemporary American society: 1) there is a commemorative plate about it, and 2) you can bet on it. Don’t believe me? Then just consider two of the most important things happening in MMA this week – the Strikeforce event on Showtime this Saturday night, and the “Ultimate Fighter” Kimbo-mania that has set the internets on fire. Kimbo Slice is currently a +275 underdog to make it into the final two on this season of TUF. The fact that there’s even a line this early on tells you what a big deal it is. Still waiting on that commemorative plate, though.
Of course, if you like something closer to immediate gratification, you can just choose from these lines on Saturday’s Strikeforce fights, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com:
Jake Shields (-115) vs. Robbie Lawler (-105)
Brett Rogers (+300) vs. Andrei Arlovski (-340)
Joe Riggs (+105) vs. Phil Baroni (-115)
Scott Smith (+300) vs. Nick Diaz (-310)
Kevin Randleman (-110) vs. Mike Whitehead (+105)
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (-370) vs. Mike Kyle (+300)
- It’s no surprise that oddsmakers think the Shields/Lawler fight is pretty even. On one hand there’s Shields’ suffocating ground game, and then on the other there’s Lawler’s size advantage and one-punch KO ability. If Lawler can avoid the takedown this is his fight. Shields doesn’t have the striking game to stand with him and they both know it. Because they both know it, and because Lawler has had more than enough time to drill takedown defense with his wrestler buddy Matt Hughes, I really like his chances to keep it standing and knock Shields the hell out. The Bet: $40 on Lawler.
- WTF? Scott Smith is a 3-1 underdog against Nick Diaz? Look, I agree that Diaz deserves to be the favorite, but shit, those are Arlovski/Rogers odds right there. You’re telling me Smith has about as good a chance to win as “The Grimm”? I don’t buy it. It’s true that Diaz has more ways to win, but Smith has one very good one that he can unleash even after getting his ass kicked for three rounds. Just because Diaz beat on the younger of the two old Shamrocks, it doesn’t make him Superman. This is worth a little action just because of the lopsided line. The Bet: $10 on Smith.
- In any Phil Baroni fight the questions you have to ask yourself are, in order of importance, When is he going to gas out and turn into a slow-pitch haymaker machine? and, Can he knock his opponent out before that point? The NYBA’s work at Xtreme Couture might have bought him a little more time before he loses steam, but it’s hard not to think that from the moment he steps in that cage it’s a countdown until he morphs into Exhausted Phil once again. This is his last chance to prove otherwise, and the good news is that Joe Riggs is fairly knockout-able for him. With the line this close and both guys so unpredictable, I’ll pick Baroni but won’t put any money behind it.
- Absolutely Don’t Bet Against: “Feijao” Cavalcante. He’s going to murder Mike Kyle, even if it will be relegated to the unaired undercard.
- Official Cage Potato Parlay: Lawler + Feijao + Smith + Arlovski. And this card seems so unpredictable that I don’t feel at all good about any of it.