The opening bout of the Strikeforce Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov event is a lightweight (155lbs) bout between rising prospect Maximo Blanco and respected but not quite elite veteran Pat Healy. Healy is coming in as a late replacement for the injured Josh Thomson. According to current Bodog odds, Blanco is a slight favorite (-135) over Healy (+105).
As I explain in this video, I'm just not sure how much confidence to have in Blanco. He is the superior athlete with devastating finishing ability and legitimate amateur wrestling credentials. Yet, his only experience is against totally unimpressive and less than meaningful South Korean or Japanese prospects/also-rans.
Healy is also coming into this bout as a late replacement. He looked prepared and respectable as a submission grappler against Lyle Beerbohm, but Blanco's style and talents are the antipodes of Healy's. There are a number of important and impossible to answer questions surrounding both men.
My pick: Blanco, but just barely.