Strikeforce: Miami Preview & PredictionsStrikeforce will showcase a number of new faces on January 30th when the promotion travels to Sunrise, Florida for Strikeforce: Miami. Headlined by a pair of title fights, the event also features the promotional debuts of knockout artist “Marvellous” Melvin Manhoef, pro wrestling star Bobby “The Dominator” Lashley and former NFL Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

DREAM Welterweight Champion Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis faces Nick Diaz in the main event, while Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos defends against Marloes Coenen. previews the card.

The main event of Strikeforce: Miami pits DREAM Welterweight Champion Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis (13-3-0) against former EliteXC title challenger Nick Diaz (20-7-0, 1 ND) in a battle to determine the first Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.

Zaromskis enters the fight on the heels of a trio of head-kick knockouts that earned him his DREAM title and immediately put him on the welterweight map. With just two losses in his last 14 fights – both against former Cage Rage standout Che Mills – Zaromskis has quickly transitioned from prospect to contender and a victory over Diaz would be tremendous for the native of Lithuania. Zaromskis has knocked out ten of his opponents thus far, but he will have his work cut out for him against Diaz, who has only been knocked out once, way back in 2002.

Diaz was originally set to face Jay Hieron to determine the first Strikeforce Welterweight Champion in August, but failed to complete a pre-fight drug test and was subsequently removed from the card. The brash and sometimes controversial Diaz went 5-4 in the UFC and later challenged for the EliteXC Lightweight Championship, but came up short after a doctor stoppage due to cuts. He has won five straight fights by stoppage and has finished 17 opponents to date. Known for his excellent cardio and solid chin, Diaz will put Zaromskis to the test early and often.

While Zaromskis lacks the name power that Diaz holds in North America, his recent successes have been undeniable. His vicious head-kick knockouts were no fluke and he earned his way to DREAM title gold. However, Diaz’s relentless offence and determination to win may be too much for the Strikeforce newcomer, and Diaz has shown in the past that he can absorb huge amounts of punishment and keep on going. Diaz is the rightful favourite in this fight and a victory for the Stockton native would be anything but surprising, but this is Zaromskis’s chance to shock everyone.

Prediction: Zaromskis by TKO late in round one.


The co-main event of the evening is a Strikeforce Women’s Lightweight (145-Pound) Championship bout between Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (8-1-0) and challenger Marloes “Rumina” Coenen (20-3-0).

Santos has emerged as a serious threat in the 145-pound division and captured the title with a first-round dismantling of Gina “Conviction” Carano in August. Her wild brawling style has overwhelmed many opponents and Santos has not tasted defeat since her professional debut in 2005. However, particularly in her bout with Carano, holes in Santos’s game were plain to see and her takedowns and wrestling were sloppy at best. Easily one of the most feared female strikers in the sport, Santos has recently been working with the likes of jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia to improve her ground game.

Coenen remains a question mark to many casual fans of the sport. The stoic native of the Netherlands rarely engages in wars of words, but quietly made a name for herself competing in Japan and Europe until debuting in Strikeforce in November. There, she submitted Roxanne Modafferi in just over one minute and avenged a previous loss in the process. She has been stopped just once in her career, when the referee deemed her unfit to continue in a 2004 bout with Erin Toughill. Coenen has won nine of her last 11 fights and has one of the best ground games of anyone in the division.

To no surprise, Santos is a massive favourite going into this fight, and that is partly justified. Fans who are still unfamiliar with women’s MMA saw Santos dominate Carano in August and also witnessed her past victories in EliteXC. However, Coenen is not to be taken lightly and has worked diligently to improve her own striking over the years. If she is able to weather the early storm from Santos, a new champion may be crowned. Should the fight hit the ground, Santos is in trouble.

Prediction: Coenen by Submission in round one.


The next fight on the card is a middleweight showdown between heavy hitters “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (16-5-0, 1 NC) and “Marvellous” Melvin Manhoef (24-6-1) that is unlikely to make it out of the first round.

Lawler was on the fast track to success in the UFC until a shocking flash KO loss to Nick Diaz in 2004. He has fared much better outside of the Octagon, however, and has lost just twice in his last 11 fights. Lawler knocked out Frank Trigg to claim the ICON Sport Middleweight Championship and added EliteXC title gold to his collection six months later with a stoppage of Murilo “Ninja” Rua. He successfully defended his EliteXC belt before the promotion folded, but was upset by Jake Shields in Strikeforce in June. A win over Manhoef would put Lawler back in Strikeforce title contention.

Manhoef is arguably the most feared striker in the middleweight division, if not in all of MMA. With a ridiculous 23 wins by knockout, Manhoef’s game plan for each fight is crystal clear. His ground game, or lack thereof, has been an issue, though, and Manhoef has been submitted four times in his last 12 fights. Having proven his power with a shocking 18-second knockout of the granite-chinned Mark Hunt, Manhoef has the ability to turn any fighter’s lights off and he will be looking to make a statement at Lawler’s expense in his Strikeforce debut.

With both men gunning for the knockout, it is unlikely that this fight will require judges at all. Neither fighter has been knocked out in MMA since 2004, but Manhoef has been stopped in recent K-1 bouts. This fight will really come down to which fighter can land the first big shot because history suggests that the fight will be over seconds later. In this case, it’s Manhoef’s fight to lose.

Prediction: Manhoef by KO in round one.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SideKicker, Robert Sargent. Robert Sargent said: Event Preview & Predictions For @StrikeforceMMA Miami This Weekend: #Strikeforce #MMA […]

  2. LOL – Cyborg is going to win by KO or TKO.

  3. Take that to the bank. That check ain’t gonna bounce.

  4. Coenen is so underrated for this fight, though. Sure, Cyborg could win by stoppage again, but her style is wild and that leads to mistakes. Coenen’s submission game is outstanding.