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On Saturday night, Dan Henderson has a chance to become only the second MMA fighter in history to win a world championship after the age of 40. But at this stage of the game, championship belts aren’t what he’s striving for as much as the challenge itself. No matter how good Henderson (26-8) says he feels, his toughest long-term opponent is not Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (10-2), who he faces on a Showtime card at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, but the one that inevitably beats everyone: Father Time. Championships are something Henderson has had plenty of for more than two decades, dating back to his teenage years in Downey, Calif., and winning the national age group championship in wrestling. So Saturday is as much about facing a dangerous younger man as it is adding to his trophy case. “I don’t think it’s a secret that both of us are going to look for a knockout,” Henderson said. “I definitely plan on trying to knock him silly, and pressure him the whole fight. “When I approach a fight, it’s about who I’m fighting, the outcome will take care of itself.
By Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports
Apr 16, 3:05 pm EDT
Jake Shields is holding a lottery ticket, waiting to cash in on 4-to-1 odds. While he may not be cashing in right away, he’ll know by Saturday night if he hit the jackpot. Shields (24-4-1), in the biggest fight of his life, defends the Strikeforce middleweight title against Dan Henderson (25-7) in the main event of a show airing live on CBS from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. While champion, he’s the heavy underdog against his better-known opponent, who has been a major star in the sport for more than a decade.
by: Steven Marrocco, MMAjunkie.com
Roger Gracie (2-0 MMA, 0-0 SF), a 2005 ADCC champion, finally is set to make his Strikeforce debut on May 15.
Sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman (17-14 MMA, 0-1 SF) is the leading candidate to face the grappling ace at the as-yet-unannounced show, which is likely to be hosted by the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., and air live on Showtime.
Randleman, however, is not confirmed as an opponent, and PRIDE and UFC veteran Rameau Thierry Sokodjou (7-6 MMA, 0-1 SF) is also under consideration should the original matchup fizzle.
Gracie, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Carlos Gracie Jr., announced he had signed with Strikeforce this past December at “Strikeforce: Evolution,” though his promotional debut was rumored and did not materialize on two fall 2009 cards.
Gracie, 32, is one of the most decorated grapplers to transition into MMA and made his fighting debut in December 2006 with a submission victory over Ron Waterman. He has appeared only once since then and posted a submission victory over Japanese veteran Yuki Kondo in May 2008 at World Victory Road’s Sengoku Second Battle.
Randleman returned to active competition in May 2008 after a year-plus layoff due to injuries and personal problems. He fell short in his two most recent appearances: a unanimous-decision loss to Mike Whitehead this past June at “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” and a split decision loss to Stanislav Nedkov at Sengoku 11th Battle this past November.
Sokodjou, meanwhile, is also on a two-fight slide with TKO losses to Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi (in a non-title fight) at at “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” and Ikuhisa Minowa at “K-1 Dynamite!! 2009.”
The May 15 Strikeforce event is expected to feature the return of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem as he takes on the hard-hitting Brett Rogers. Another heavyweight match-up pitting Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski is also expected for the card.
Gracies debut is slated for the televised portion of the May 15 event.
Former pro boxer James Toney has signed a multi-fight contract to compete in the UFC. The promotion’s president, Dana White, confirmed the signing on Wednesday with MMAFighting.com after the news was first reported by FiveOuncesofPain.com.
Details of the contract, as well as Toney’s first bout with the promotion, were not immediately available.
The 41-year-old former IBF middleweight and super middleweight champion has publicly campaigned for a shot in the Octagon since late last year. Toney attended back-to-back UFC events in November and December, and video of White and Toney in impromptu discussions even surfaced online.
In early January, White said he was cautious of the prospect of allowing a pro boxer to enter the UFC ranks.
“(Boxer) Zab (Judah’s) like, ‘Man, you need to teach these guys how to box. You need to teach them this, that, and everything,’ but these guys don’t understand,” said White. “You don’t balance your weight the same way you balance your weight in boxing. You’ll get that front leg kicked off into the eighth row somewhere if you distribute your weight the same way they do in boxing. There’s an education process there for these guys that I learned the f—ing hard way. I went in and got choked out and kicked in the leg and all the stuff that happened to me when I started.”
White said he was unsure if promoting a pro boxer would translate well into pay-per-view buys. White was also aware of the potential backlash that could come with the move.
“I got blasted this week? Let me make this fight. Then I’ll get blasted from her to– I’m the first guy out there going, ‘This is a f—ing freak show. Who would put on a fight like that?’” said White. “But I gotta tell you this. I’ve always wanted to see a guy–(Toney’s) a guy I actually respect. He’s tough as nails. He’s mean. He’s nasty. (But) he better get in shape if he wants to come in here and do this stuff.”
Toney’s flirtation in the UFC has been ongoing. In October 2006, former UFC champion Randy Couture said he was called by the promotion with a potential bout against the pro boxer that never came to fruition.
By Damon Martin/MMAWeekly.com
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski has signed a multi-fight, 16-month deal with Strikeforce that will see the Belarus native compete for the organization in the near future. Arlovski made the announcement via his personal website on Monday. “I cannot wait to get into the ring and show the world what I have been working on the last few months,” Arlovski said on his website. Following a five-fight win streak over opponents like Roy Nelson and Ben Rothwell, Arlovski has dropped his last two fights against Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. Since losing the fight to Rogers in June 2009, Arlovski has been absent from MMA, while still working on his stand-up skills. He recently competed in an exhibition boxing match. According to a separate report on Sherdog.com, Arlovski may make his Strikeforce return in May against American Top Team heavyweight Antonio Silva. The former heavyweight champion has also been rumored to spend part of his upcoming training camp with Greg Jackson and his team in New Mexico as well.
By Damon Martin/MMAWeekly.com
It looks like the king will get the chance to add a new jewel to his crown in April. Charismatic fighter Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal has signed on to fight for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title when he faces champion Gegard Mousasi on April 17 at the promotion’s next major CBS card. The fight was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the situation on Monday. Since debuting in 2008, King Mo has taken the sport of MMA by storm, proclaiming he was destined for greatness and that he was happy to prove it against any and all comers. After dispatching of veterans like Travis Wiuff and Mike Whitehead, it looks like Lawal will now try to prove he’s championship material. Rapidly rising up the ranks as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, Gegard Mousasi has made everyone take notice of his considerable skills and technique as he’s gone undefeated for almost three years. After conquering the middleweight division in Dream, Mousasi decided to move up to light heavyweight. Since that time he’s beaten all of his opponents, including fighters like Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Recently leaving his management team of M-1, Mousasi is ready to once again prove he belongs with the best fighters in the world, and try to take some of the swagger out of the step of the always confident Lawal. The bout between Mousasi and Lawal will serve as co-main event for the upcoming Strikeforce show in April, headlined by middleweight champ Jake Shields defending his title against Dan Henderson. MMAWeekly.com will have more news on this event in the coming days.
By Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports Feb 27, 4:44 am EST
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The second Strikeforce event on CBS will be held on April 17 at the Sommet Center in Nashville.
However, Fedor Emelianenko, generally considered the top heavyweight fighter both currently and of all time, will not be part of the show. He long was expected to be the headliner of the April CBS event.
M-1 Global, Emelianenko’s main promoter, held a press conference in Europe on Thursday which announced that Emelianenko (32-1, 1 no contest) would face Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1) in his next fight, in May. There has been talk of Strikeforce doing a May 15 show in St. Louis.
Emelianenko competed last weekend in a Russian sambo tournament, won by his younger brother Aleksander Emelianenko. Fedor Emelianenko withdrew after reportedly receiving a hand injury, which was believed to be not serious. He had surgery on his hand after his last fight, a win over Brett Rogers on CBS on Nov. 7.
With Emelianenko out, the April 17 show is expected to be headlined by middleweight champion Jake Shields (24-4-1) defending against Dan Henderson (25-7).
Henderson is the only man in major league MMA history to hold championships in two weight classes at the same time, while fighting for the PRIDE organization.
* Cain Velasquez def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via KO (punch) – Round 1, 2:12.
* Wanderlei Silva def. Michael Bisping via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
* George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
* Ryan Bader def. Keith Jardine via KO (punch) – Round 3, 2:10.
* Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic def. Anthony Perosh via TKO (doctor’s stoppage die to cut) – Round 2.
* Krzysztof Soszynski def. Stephan Bonnar via TKO (doctor’s stoppage die to cut) – Round 3.
* Chris Lytle def. Brian Foster via submission (knee bar) – Round 1.
* C.B. Dollaway def. Goran Reljic via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
* James Te Huna def. Igor Pokraja via TKO – Round 3, 3:26.
By Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
SYDNEY – Cain Velasquez passed his first major test, planting himself firmly into championship contention with a first-round stoppage of former heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at 2:20 of the first round in UFC 110 before 17,431 at Acer Arena on Saturday (Sunday in Australia).
Velasquez landed a right hand, a left hand on top of the head and followed it with a right hook on the chin that knocked Nogueiera onto his back. Velasquez immediately pounced upon him and finished him with five punches on the ground.
Referee Herb Dean hopped in to stop it.
“I wanted to stay in good position and beat him to the punch when I could,” said Velasquez, who is now 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Velasquez, a former wrestling standout at Arizona State, could get the next shot at heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. Frank Mir and Shane Carwin will meet for the interim title at UFC 111 on March 27. If the winner is healthy enough, he’ll meet Lesnar in July or August. If not, Velasquez will get the shot. And as he proved, he’s a legitimate championship contender.