Strikeforce Will Hold Middleweight Tournament After All
Last month, MMA Fighting first reported that Strikeforce had hoped for a one-night middleweight title tournament to be held at its Aug. 21 card in Houston, but the Texas commission's rules put a stop to that plan.
Instead, the promotion set a middleweight title fight for the same night between Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza to crown a champion in the division after Jake Shields vacated the belt by leaving for the UFC.
Strikeforce Challengers 10: Women's Tourney Format Changed
As it turns out, the women have a little less time to work. Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz confirmed today that the format has changed for the women's 135-pound tournament scheduled to take place at Strikeforce Challengers 10. The opening round of the four-woman competition will now be contested over two three-minute rounds instead of three three-minute rounds. Additionally, a "sudden victory" round has been nixed by the Arizona State Boxing Commission, which oversees Friday's event. The final round will still feature a three-round contest consisting of three-minute rounds. The tournament changes were first reported by MMARising.com, who also noted that judges will be required to determine an outright winner in the opening round bouts, regardless of whether the women each win a round, and draws are not allowed.
Strikeforce CEO Says Sarah Kaufman Has Earned Right To Fight On Major Showtime Card
Sarah Kaufman asketh, and shall receiveth. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently said that the women's 135-pound champion will fight on a major Showtime-televised event in the near future. "I think she's earned her right to fight in the big show," Coker said. Kaufman blogged this past month about her frustration at being placed repeatedly on the promotion's prospects-based Challengers series instead of the more visible primetime events. After knocking Roxanne Modafferi out cold in her first title at Strikeforce Challengers 9, Kaufman vented further. "Get me on main cards on Showtime, guys," she said in her post-fight interview. "I think I deserve it. Put me on there." Coker said he didn't fault Kaufman for using the spotlight to give herself a boost. As of now, Kaufman is un-booked, but Coker promised she'll get her due when Strikeforce schedules her next bout. "She will definitely be on one of the bigger shows," Coker said. "Of course, I can't tell you if it's going to be the main event or the co-main event because that will because that will be determined by who's fighting on the card as a whole. But I think she's earned her right to fight on the bigger show, just like Cristiane 'Cyborg' (Santos) did." That next bout likely is against Marloes Coenen.
Scott Coker Says Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva Is Next
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on:
- 0:53 The one night Middleweight tournament
- 1:38 Keeping their 160 fighters on contract busy
- 2:21 Fabricio Werdum out till 2011
- 2:41 Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva fighting in October
- 2:55 The dialogue with M-1 Global
- 3:41 Nick Diaz fighting in October
- 4:40 Cris Cyborg returning at the end of year or early 2011
- 5:35 The October card possibly being on CBS
- 6:11 Signing Dave Batista
- 8:00 Signing Paul Daley
Mo "Executioner" Lawal Feels No Pressure As Underdog Against Feijao
While Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Lawal may not be the underdog against Rafael Cavalcante (Feijao), the champion has the midset that he is indeed the UD. "Feijao knows he wants the knock out. He doesn’t want the submission. He trains in the ground game, but I’m training with guys in Jiu-Jitsu that are comparable. So I’m not worried at the ground at all because I’ve got good submission defense.... I don’t know. If you ask me if I could beat anybody I’m going to say I can beat anybody. I’d win against anybody with a good game plan. It doesn’t matter who it is. Except my momma. It doesn’t matter who it is, I’ll beat them with a good game plan.... I’ve only been fighting for two years. There’s no pressure on me whatsoever. If there’s pressure on anybody it’s Feijao. He has the name. He’s been fighting longer and he’s been training longer. I remember watching Feijao just mashing people in the IFL. I think people look at me as having the bigger name but I don’t care. I think he’s the favorite. I’m the underdog even though I’m the champ.... I may be implementing a new style like from Bernard Hopkins, one of my favorite boxers. I’m going to implement his style. And maybe if that doesn’t work than a little of Paul Williams. So you’ll all be seeing some new stuff from me."
Fabricio Werdum out until 2011
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker today confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the heavyweight fighter will be on the bench until January 2011. As a result, no opponent has been set for his return.
"The date is really to be determined because Fabricio is not going to fight until the beginning of next year, so he's going to be sidelined for the next five months," Coker said.
Werdum (14-4-1 MMA, 3-0 SF) said this past month that he intends to take the rest of 2010 off after undergoing a much-needed surgery on his elbow.
Strikeforce Returns To San Jose On 10/9 With MW Tourney Kickoff
Strikeforce returns to it's homebase of San Jose, CA for a major show on October 9 that will kick off the promotion's middleweight tournament. Scott Coker said the organization is still discussing two possible tournament formats for the middleweight grand prix: a same-night four man tourney, or an eight-slot grand prix held over the course of two events. Regardless of the format, the winner gets a title shot with either Tim Kennedy or Ronaldo Souza, who fight for recent UFC signee Jake Shields' vacant title at next week's "Strikeforce: Houston" event. The 10/9 event will air on Showtime.
Lashley Hesitant, But Open To Fight Against Batista
Strikeforce heavyweight prospect Bobby Lashley said he’d be willing to take a bout against fellow World Wrestling Entertainment star Dave Batista if that was what the promotion wanted -- though he has his reservations. “It’s not really the direction I want to move (in), but if it’s worth it and they really think he’s ready and Strikeforce wants me to fight him, I’ll take the fight,” Lashley told Sherdog.com last week. The 34-year-old Lashley, a former WWE champion who owns the ATT Altitude gym in Aurora, Colo., is in his final weeks of training for a bout against Chad Griggs at Strikeforce “Houston” on Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston. Batista, who recently parted ways with the WWE following an eight-year run with the pro wrestling juggernaut, began introductory training at the Cesar Gracie Academy in Lodi, Calif., in July. The 41-year-old Batista, who is said to have limited combat sports experience, is in negotiations with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has already hinted at a potential bout between Lashley and Batista for one of the company’s first pay-per-view offerings in 2010 or 2011.
Officials: Paul Daley Has Not Signed With Strikeforce
Former Cage Rage champion and recent UFC fighter Paul Daley has not signed with Strikeforce. Despite reports of a completed six-figure deal, Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz today said no deal has been reached with the British fighter. Additionally, a representative for Daley said the fighter is weighing multiple options. Daley currently is slated to fight at next month's Shark Fights 13 event as part of a one-fight deal with the promotion.
Carina Damm Secures Visa, Will Compete In SF Tourney
Carina Damm will be at Strikeforce Challengers 10 after all. Damm was able to secure a visa necessary for travel to the U.S., and she will compete in Strikeforce's upcoming four-woman tournament. Strikeforce officials had previously announced that a backup competitor was on standby, but Sherdog.com first reported that Damm's spot will not need to be filled. Strikeforce Challengers 10 takes place Aug. 13 at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., and airs live on Showtime. Damm joins Hitomi Akano, Maiju Kujala and Miesha Tate in the single-night bracket. The tournament crowns a contender to the women's 135-pound title currently held by Sarah Kaufman, who next defends her belt against Marloes Coenen at a future Strikeforce event.
Jason Frank Turns Pro, Wants In Strikeforce
Jason David Frank has some pretty big plans in store for the rest of 2010, and it starts in August when the former Mighty Morphin Power Rangers star turns pro in mixed martial arts. The 36-year-old resident of Texas will move into the professional ranks next month with a fight in Houston against Jose Vasquez on August 4. Frank admits that it was a decision he talked over with his coach and his manager, but in the end it just felt like the time was right. Frank has also made it no secret that there is a promotion he hopes to one day call home. "I'd love to get a Strikeforce deal. I want a Strikeforce deal. I keep talking about it all the time," said Frank. "I know my manager's talked to them briefly. It's just I want to build my record and do it the right way, and let me people know I can go more than one round."
Carina Damm's SF Tourney Position In Doubt, Replacement Waiting
Strikeforce's upcoming four-woman 135-pound tournament is in danger of losing a competitor, but company officials insist there's still a chance the field will remain intact. With a little more than two weeks remaining until the tourney, which takes place at Strikeforce Challengers 10, Brazilian veteran Carina Damm has yet to secure a work visa needed for entry to the U.S. "As has been speculated on various websites, Brazilian Carina Damm is having difficulty obtaining the necessary visa to travel to the U.S. for her participation in the Strikeforce Challengers event on Friday, Aug. 13, where Damm is slated to compete in the women's welterweight (135 pound) tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.," Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz confirmed in the release. MMARising.com's report indicated that Strikeforce officials may to be blame for the snafu, though Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told the website the promotion was not necessarily at fault. For now, Afromowitz says the company is still hoping Damm will join Hitomi Akano, Maiju Kujala and Miesha Tate in the single-night bracket. If not, Strikeforce officials have a replacement opponent at the ready.
SF Challengers 9: 197,000 Viewers
Ratings for this past weekend's Showtime-televised Strikeforce Challengers 9 event proved solid as the show averaged an audience of 197,000 viewers. The peak audience actually came for the night's co-main event, a title fight between women's welterweight champ Sarah Kaufman and challenger Roxanne Modaferri that spiked with 254,000 viewers. The fight actually topped the Shane Del Rosario vs. Lolohea Mahe headliner, which drew 226,000 viewers. The talk of the event, of course, was the Kaufman vs. Modafferi fight. In her first title defense, Kaufman scored a slam-KO that knocked her opponent out cold. The finishing move actually earned the No. 4 spot on ESPN "SportsCenter's" Plays of the Week.
Strikeforce Confirms Tournament To Determine #2 Women's 135 Contender
The first-ever female tournament in Strikeforce history is now complete. Strikeforce officials today announced that Hitomi Akano, Carina Damm, Maiju Kujala and Miesha Tate will compete in a single-night tournament at Strikeforce Challengers 10 on Aug. 13. Due to the one-night format, the tournament fights will be 3 3-minute rounds instead of 5-minute rounds. A reserve fight will be made later. The plan was originally to have it determine a #1 contender for the women's 135 title, but the winner now becomes the #2 contender-the winner will get a title shot, but they'll have to wait for Marloes Coenen, who is dropping to 135 from 145, to get a shot first. Coenen will face the winner of tomorrow's title fight between champion Sarah Kaufman & Roxanne Modafferi.
Alistair Overeem Wants Fabricio Werdum Next, 100 Percent Confident of Win
"Let's just say this, there's a couple of fights that I would like to have, and I'm going to start with the first one: the first one is going to definitely be Werdum -- he's the winner of that fight [against Fedor Emelianenko]. I'm sure, 100% sure, I'm going to beat him," Overeem said.
Overeem wants Werdum next not only because he recently defeated Emelianenko, but because "The Demolition Man" lost to "Vai Cavalo" in the first round of the 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix.