San Jose to Host Strikeforce Championship Doubleheader in January

Brian O. Blake@@BrianOBlakeCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2010

With the Strikeforce company being based in San Jose, California, it's no surprise that local MMA enthusiasts are treated to a healthy amount of live events by the local outfit, and January 29 will mark the next event for Bay Area fans.  Showtime will be televising the night's festivities live from the HP Pavilion in the heart of Silicon Valley, where Nick Diaz will put his welterweight title on the line against Evangelista Santos in the main event. Prior to that, "Jacare" Souza is set to defend the Strikeforce middleweight crown against "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler.

Also on the televised portion of the card, former football star turned mixed martial artist Herschel Walker will make his long awaited return to the cage as he takes on fellow heavyweight Scott Carson in the second fight of his young career.  A light heavyweight clash between the undefeated Roger Gracie and veteran Trevor Prangley is expected to kick off Showtime's live broadcast.

Diaz (23-7, 1 NC), who has a strong local fanbase as he hails from Stockton, CA, is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak that dates all the way back to 2007, when he lost by TKO via cuts to KJ Noons for a vacant title for the defunct EliteXC organization.

Diaz avenged the loss to Noons in his last outing, which also took place at the HP Pavilion in October, earning an unanimous decision and keeping the welterweight title around his waist.

His opponent, Evangelista Santos (18-13), is looking to bring more Strikeforce championship gold to the Santos household, as his wife, Cris "Cyborg", currently hails as the Women's Middleweight Champion.  Just like his wife, the Brazilian is regarded for his heavy hands and his ability to finish off opponents.  Santos is coming off an impressive highlight reel stoppage of Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis back in June during Strikeforce's show in Los Angeles.

Fellow Brazilian Jacare Souza (13-2, 1 NC) will be making his first defense of the middleweight crown he earned with his unanimous decision win over Tim Kennedy back in August.  Souza, who turned 31 earlier this month, has put together three consecutive wins, starting with a first round submission victory over Matt Lindland in his Strikeforce debut just over a year ago.

His opponent, Robbie Lawler (18-6, 1 NC), is looking to regain middleweight gold following his 2007-2008 run as the Elite XC Middleweight Champion.  Lawler is also hoping to find a bit of consistency, as he has gone 3-2 along with a no contest in his past six bouts.  While Matt Lindland was Souza's first Strikeforce opponent, he also served as Lawler's most recent Strikeforce foe.  Lawler provided one of the evening's many spectacular KOs during Strikeforce's 2010 finale in St. Louis and needed just 50 seconds to do so.

The aforementioned December 4 event in St. Louis was expected to host Herschel Walker's (1-0) return against Scott Carson (4-1), but that bout was scratched when Walker suffered a cut over one of his eyes during training. The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner appears to be poised to take the next step in his MMA career, which also began in San Jose last December, when he scored a less than thrilling third round TKO over Greg Nagy.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Dec 27, at 10 a.m. PT at the HP Pavilion ticket office, or online at and

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