Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson Analysis

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Strikeforce returns to Illinois for the first time since 2009 with one of its top fight cards of the year.  Having already announced the heavyweight super fight main event between Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko and Dan “Hendo” Henderson, Strikeforce officials today confirmed the remainder of the loaded main card, which will air live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Women’s 135-pound champion Marloes “Rumina” Coenen will defend her crown against Miesha “Takedown” Tate in the exciting co-main event, while middleweight contenders “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Tim “The Hero” Kennedy are also set to collide. Plus, the night’s action will feature a pivotal welterweight bout pitting Paul “Semtex” Daley and Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley, as well as a 170-pound contest between Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith and Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine.

Tickets for Strikeforce: FEDOR vs. HENDERSON, which is presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, are on sale now and are priced at $352, $202, $102, $77, $52 and $37. Tickets will be available at the Sears Centre Arena box office, online at, or charge by phone at 1-888-732-7784. Ticket prices do not include service charges.

Having already successfully defended her 135-pound women’s title against Liz Carmouche in March, Coenen (19-4) is ready to get back into the cage and show MMA fans why she’s one of the best female athletes in the world.  Fighting out of the Golden Glory gym in Amsterdam, Netherlands alongside Alistair and Valentijn Overeem, Coenen is looking to display the grappling skills and signature submissions that have made her one of the division’s elite.  She’ll take on top contender Tate (11-2), who is currently riding a five-fight win streak that dates back to October 2009.  The Tacoma, Wash. native, who currently trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento with UFC bantamweights Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, is ready to end Coenen’s reign atop the 135-pound division.

A veteran of UFC, Pride and EliteXC, Lawler (18-7, 1 NC) hits the Strikeforce cage once again on a mission to rule the middleweight division.  A member of Matt Hughes’s H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Ill., Lawler’s strong wrestling base and knockout power have provided a quick end to many of his past fights.  He’ll look for another dramatic finish on July 30 when he takes on San Luis Obispo, Calif.’s Kennedy (13-3).  The U.S. Army Green Beret and Operation Iraqi Freedom vet has been given the opportunity to fully dedicate himself to his MMA career and has put the rest of the division on alert. Coming off a recent win over Melvin Manhoef, the Greg Jackson-trained fighter seeks another impressive win when he meets Lawler at the Sears Centre.

Top welterweight and British knockout artist Daley (27-10-2) looks to spark another run at the welterweight crown he takes on undefeated two-time All-American wrestler Woodley (8-0) on July 30. The road back to the title won’t be an easy one. Woodley, who starred at the University of Missouri, is one of the fastest-rising fighters in the sport thanks to his versatility and knack for finishing opponents.

Former top middleweight contender Smith (17-8, 1NC) steps into the Strikeforce cage this month with the goal of wreaking havoc on the welterweight division. Owning wins over the likes of Cung Le, Kyle Noke and Tim Kennedy, the Muay Thai and boxing standout will be pushed to the limit when he meets Belgium’s Saffiedine (10-3). Currently training with Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in Temecula, Calif., the 24-year-old karate black belt will look for another submission win to add to his already impressive total.

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