Strikeforce is set to cease operations in January, when its final card takes place. The card is headlined by a welterweight title fight between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine.
However, the migration of Strikeforce talent over to the UFC is already under way. From the looks of it, for the most part, the Strikeforce fighters are being thrown in the deep end early.
Excuse Derek Brunson, as he is taking a late-notice bout at UFC 155 against Chris Leben. The UFC has had its eye on him since the casting of the upcoming Ultimate Fighter and was able to get him on the upcoming card when Strikeforce announced its end plan.
Other than that, it seems as if the incoming talent will be thrown to the lions early.
Take Bobby Green, for example. Green is a solid grappler who has the potential to be a great prospect in the lightweight division. He will make his debut at UFC 156, where he'll take on grinder Jacob Volkmann. Volkmann is a guy who will take you down, hold you down and make it an ugly fight.
Volkmann is a not a great matchup for most guys, but throw a guy like Green, who is not high in the rankings yet, against a Volkmann, who is arguably top 20 in the UFC, and you have yourself a likely win for the UFC vet.
Just to prove that it's not an isolated instance, take a look at UFC 157. Two matchups have been announced on that card that pit Strikeforce imports and UFC veterans.
The first is a matchup between Caros Fodor and Sam Stout. Stout is a longtime UFC veteran who is a tough out for most fighters, especially inexperienced prospects. Fodor is a great, young prospect who seems to be getting thrown into the deep end early. Although the matchup in terms of style isn't a disadvantage, the experience difference is quite large.
Also on the 157 card is former UFC fighter Robbie Lawler, who makes his return against Josh Koscheck.
Looking at Lawler's past, it is easy to see how bad of a matchup this is for him. Koscheck is a top-level wrestler, and Lawler has struggled against wrestlers and grapplers. In fact, of his nine losses, five are by submission, and most of the fighters who have beat him are top-game grapplers.
The only of the bunch so far who seems to have gotten a safe matchup is Bobby Voelker, who takes on Patrick Cote. Both men are hard-nosed strikers who will put on a nice fight against one another.
Given the evidence for most of the matchups I have put on display for you so far, it seems as if the UFC is really giving the Strikeforce guys some tough first fights.
Is it a sign that the the UFC has confidence in them, or does it just show that there are no easy fights in the UFC. I don't know what the logic is, but it certainly looks like the Strikeforce boys are going to struggle for success if they keep getting these type of matchups.