Former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (23-4-1) is slated to bring his "American jiu-jitsu" into an interim Strikeforce Middleweight title fight. Cung Le (6-0) is the reigning champion, but other professional commitments have him unavailable for a while. Strikeforce say that the winner of this fight with Shields will face Le for the official championship. Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1) would have been my choice to face Shields, but he's due to battle Renato "Babalu" Sobral for Strikeforce's Light-Heavyweight belt on August 15th. No opponent for Shields has been announced, but there are a handful of possibilities: Nick Diaz (20-7)
moved up to 185 and beat up Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith. However, he's one of Shields' Cesar-Gracie colleagues, and training partners are often reluctant to fight each other. Robbie Lawler (16-5)
just faced Shields, and lost by submission. An immediate rematch might play out differently, might not. "Smokin'" Joe Villaseñor (27-6)
recently won a Split Decision over Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, after more than a year off. Matt Lindland (21-6)
, a free agent after the collapse of Affliction, was once regarded as a Top-5 Middleweight, and says he is in "serious" negotiations with Strikeforce. His last fight was a loss, a quick KO by Vitor Belfort, but he's a quality grappler who toed the line against Fedor Emelianenko a couple of years ago.Tim Kennedy (10-2)
recently defeated Nick Thompson at a Strikeforce event. Ronaldo "Jacare" de Souza (10-2)
just signed a contract with Strikeforce. His first fight is expected to be in the Fall, and no opponent has been announced.