Strikeforce Confirms January Card Lineup, Nate Marquardt as Main Event

McKinley NobleCorrespondent INovember 29, 2012

Pictured: Nate Marquardt (left)
Pictured: Nate Marquardt (left)Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

Strikeforce may have built their last great push with Ronda Rousey and the heavyweight division, but their final card will be headlined by a welterweight UFC veteran.

Amid a string of fight confirmations for the upcoming "Strikeforce: Challengers" event in January, the official Strikeforce website has established Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine as their main event.

Here's how the card looks so far, according to the event's webpage:

• Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine
• Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
• Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
• Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons

(Update: Four more bouts have been added to the event page, listed as follows.)

• Ronaldo Souza vs. Lorenz Larkin
• Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal
• Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
• Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith

Having Marquardt on top of the card makes sense, as the Strikeforce welterweight champion will be the only fighter actually defending a title belt next year at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Although Daniel Cormier is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion, the nature of his belt doesn't lend itself to any kind of title defense.

Originally, "Strikeforce: Champions" was meant to host three title fights in the main event, but middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez both pulled out of the card due to injury.

Moreover, the Strikeforce light heavyweight title has been vacant ever since Dan Henderson returned to the UFC last year. Additionally, both that belt and the promotion's heavyweight championship title have been noticeably vacant since 2011, with the later being abandoned by exiting superstar Alistair Overeem.