Strikeforce's Future Holds Plenty of Possible Intriguing Fights
Strikeforce's debut show on Showtime was a huge success. Fans were raving about the exciting finishes they saw and possible fights for future Strikeforce shows.
The majority of fans inside HP Pavilion were rooting for Frank Shamrock to beat Nick Diaz in the main event, but Diaz was able to pull off the upset. If Shamrock had won, he probably would have been on his way to a rematch for the Strikeforce middleweight title against Cung Le.
Le, like most, anticipated a Shamrock victory and was expecting Shamrock to call him out after the fight. Thanks to Shamrock's defeat, Strikeforce has to go in another direction and find another challenger for Le.
The likely challenger for Le now would be "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler; however, Lawler is scheduled to fight Jake Shields in June. If Lawler were to lose to Shields, Strikeforce may then give Scott Smith a shot against Le.
Their other alternative would be Kazuo Misaki.
Both Smith and Misaki are very worthy opponents for Le, but a fight with Smith would be more marketable to fans in America, who have not seen enough of Misaki. For now, it appears that a matchup between Lawler and Le is looming.
When asked, in a recent interview, about a possible fight with Lawler, Le said, "I think that would be a fantastic fight for the fans."
After beating Phil Baroni in June of '07, Shamrock has now lost his last two fights. Shamrock could now face his brother Ken or fight another catch-weight bout against Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson.
Thomson, who dislikes Shamrock, has been wanting this fight for a long time. There have been talks in the past about matching these two up, and this fight would do well in San Jose.
However, before looking ahead to a possible meeting with Shamrock, Thomson will first have to defend his title against former champion Gilbert Melendez. This rematch will probably happen in the summer.
Besides losing a rematch with Le, Shamrock also won't see the big-money fight with Tito Ortiz that both men were planning to have in the future.
Ortiz has said that his back pain is gone after his surgery, and he is ready to get back in the cage soon.
If he signs with Strikeforce, he stated that he would like to have a tune-up fight before he takes on Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion, Renato "Babalu" Sobral. But by the time Ortiz is ready to fight again, Babalu may not even have the light-heavyweight belt around his waist anymore: Babalu will be defending his title against Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante in June.
Strikeforce just signed Kevin Randleman, and he could be a great opponent for Ortiz.
Randleman and Ortiz are two fighters that know how to sell a fight and entertain the fans, both in the cage and behind a microphone.
A more realistic opponent for Randleman's Strikeforce debut could be former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth.
As for Diaz, he looked great against Shamrock, and we now might be able to see a rematch between Diaz and Joe Riggs. They fought once in the UFC, when Riggs bested Diaz by decision. Their brawl even resumed in the hospital after the fight.
Another intriguing matchup for Diaz would be Phil Baroni. Can you imagine the heat and trash talk between those two fighters building up to their fight?
Other fighters that were impressive on Strikeforce's Showtime debut were Cyborg Santos, Brett Rogers, Raul Castillo, and Eric Lawson.
Cyborg easily dismantled the much smaller Hitomi Akano and tossed her around the cage like a rag doll.
After her easy victory, Cyborg said, "I really think it's time for me to fight Gina Carano, but I am not rushing it. I want to prove that I can beat Gina."
If Carano signs with Strikeforce soon, they could have the top two female fighters in MMA battling it out in August for a title belt.
After dispatching Abongo Humphrey, Brett Rogers wants to fight the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem.
But Rogers might have to wait for a title shot, as there was a hint of a Fabricio Werdum vs. Overeem rematch when Werdum got up in the post-fight press conference and said he was ready for the opportunity to fight Overeem again.
Overeem replied to Werdum by saying, "Fine by me. Anytime. Actually, I can't wait to get my hands on you again."
These two heavyweights fought in 2006, with Werdum winning by kimura in the second round. Werdum first has to sign a contract with Strikeforce before he can fight Overeem again.
A fight between Rogers and Paul "The Headhunter" Buentello could be another possibility. This would be a great slugfest, and one of these two men would be bound to get knocked out.
Castillo and Lawson were very impressive in their undercard fights, and both won by TKO. It would be interesting to see these two collide next.
Thanks to an influx of talent from the now defunct EliteXC, Strikeforce has a lot of depth on their roster. They have a lot of options now, in terms of matchmaking, and they probably plan to expand their talent base by signing more fighters from both domestically and overseas.
In the past, it was hard to find quality opponents for some of their champions to defend their titles against, but that is no longer the case. MMA fans should be very excited about the future of Strikeforce and their upcoming fights, both this year and beyond.
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