MMA betting fans will get their first look at a Zuffa-controlled Strikeforce event on April 1 when Strikeforce Challengers rolls into Stockton, California.
After one fighter had visa issues and another was injured, the event looked like it wouldn’t be anything special. However, Strikeforce not only filled the spots but also maintained competitive matchups of up-and-coming fighters battling for relevancy in their divisions.
In the main event wrestling standout Justin Wilcox (-300 at Sportsbook) will look to wear down Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Rodrigo Damm (+250 at Sportsbook). Wilcox has been dominating all his fights with his wrestling skills and will be on a five-fight win streak against Damm.
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Damm has dropped two of his last three and will need to find a way to be effective off his back if he’s going to have a chance in this one. We like Wilcox by unanimous decision in the main event.
Scotty Lighty (-155 at Sportsbook) was originally supposed to face Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii but the Japanese fighter had problems acquiring a travel visa. The fight was the most anticipated on the card, but Strikeforce brought in a very good replacement in undefeated Lorenz Larkin (+135 at Sportsbook).
Due to the late replacement this fight looks like a good opportunity for a generous upset price. Larkin will likely come into the fight as a big underdog, but he will match up well against Lighty and could easily surprise. Depending on the underdog odds on Larkin, the upset bet looks like it’s worth the risk in this fight. [ MMA odds on every fight - see them here at OddsShark ]
Lightweight submission specialist Caros Fodor (+175 at Sportsbook) will try to get his third straight win when he takes on striker David Douglas (-210 at Sportsbook). Fodor has won most of his fights via submission and both of Douglas’ losses have come in the form of chokes. If Fodor can survive the initial storm that Douglas will bring he will likely wear down and submit him.
Two local California fighters will battle in the Welterweight division on the Strikeforce Challengers 15 card. James Terry (-250 at Sportsbook) and Josh Thornburg both have recent losses and will be hungry to get back on the contender trail. Terry has won his last two fights and looked good against Lucas Gamaza his last time out.
He looks to be more developed than Thornburg and should win via decision.
Damion Douglas (+170 at Sportsbook) will be looking to win his second straight Strikeforce fight when he takes on Wayne Phillips. Both fighters are grapplers that don’t have any exceptional skills in the stand-up game. This one is a toss-up, but if we have to make a pick Douglas is likely the more technical fighter of the two.