Strikeforce Set To Take Nashville. Why Should UFC Fans Notice?

matt williamsContributor IApril 16, 2010

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 17:  Legendary MMA Superstar and two time Olympic Wrestler Dan Henderson (L) and Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (R)  attend the CBS' Strikeforce MMA Fighters Open Media Workout on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

UFC fans often scoff at the thought of watching a rival organization's events, but with the recent 112th installment of the Ultimate Fighting Championship falling quite short of spectacular in many people's opinions, it seems more people are warming up to the idea of considering a Strikeforce viewing. 

The main draw to the Strikeforce card this Saturday, live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee will be former PRIDE middleweight & welterweight champion, and winner of UFC 17: Redemption middleweight tournament, Dan Henderson.

Thought recently to be one of the top contenders in the UFC 185lb division, Henderson shocked many MMA fans and enthusiasts when he signed a 4-fight, 16 month deal with Strikeforce, just a few short months after he was seen knocking out Michael Bisping in stellar fashion, to receive UFC 100's "Knockout of the Night" honors, and being the only man to KO Bisping in his career.  Following this, however, many fans were lead to believe that Nate Marquardt would be facing "Hendo" shortly thereafter in order to determine the next middleweight top contender to current champ Anderson "The Spider" Silva.  Yet this was not to be. After the signing of Vitor Belfort following the fold of the organization Affliction, Belfort was credited with a knockout over 185/205lb standout Rich Franklin on September 19, 2009. "The Phenom" being subsequently named the next in line to fight champ Silva.

Henderson's move to Strikeforce, however shocking it may be to some, brings a much higher level of interest and prestige to the organization, which includes much higher draw for UFC fans, and a higher chance for grasping yet another championship title for Team Quest standout "Dangerous Dan".  Standing across the cage from Anderson Silva seems far more precarious a situation as does facing Jake Shields.  With lackluster stand-up talent, and lately a less-than-impressive submission game, the Ceasar Gracie understudy, Shields, has a tough challenge ahead.  Being such a dominant fighter in what many consider a "second-rate organization" as Strikeforce has brought Shields less credit than even many champions from overseas, and of course, those from the UFC.

Dan Henderson has always shown impressive stand-up abilities, which are highlighted by NCAA division I class wrestling, rounding him out to be one of the most impressive and interesting fighters of the decade.  Jake Shields also possesses championship grappling and wrestling, with multiple titles under his belt, yet his stand-up abilities have yet to be tested.

Whatever the outcome of the Strikeforce: Nashville main event this Saturday, April 17th, the inclusion of such a name as Dan Henderson on the card will surely draw more viewers than even the previous Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers, which drew an average of almost 3.8 million viewers watching live on CBS.

Watch Strikeforce: Nashville airing LIVE on CBS, Saturday, April 17 8:00pm EST.