Word is hitting the internet that Strikeforce has requested a March 3rd date from the Ohio State Boxing Commission. The venue would be the Nationwide Arena in Colombus, OH and the main event of the show is the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix between Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett. There are two other bouts that are being rumored for that date, and both are intriguing matchups. First is the lightweight battle between Josh Thomson and KJ Noons, and then there is the ladies Bantamweight Title bout between Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey. This event already has the makings of a stronger offering from Strikeforce than tonite’s event (Rockhold vs Jardine).
The Thomson-Noons winner may have a shot at Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in his future. Melendez has apparently been asked to carry the Strikeforce flag and will be staying to headline as many as five of the eight events planned for SHOWTIME. A rubber match with Thomson, who Melendez is 1-1 against, could certainly be sold as a compelling bout. Noons has never fought Melendez before, so should he win, it would be a fresh match.
Noons and Thomson will be exciting in itself. Both men are 2-2 in their last four outings, and both need to string together some quality wins in order to catch the eye of the UFC. I am not sure who to pick, but I am leaning towards Noons on this one. Noons has been more active lately, and he seems to have focused his career after straying from Strikeforce a few years back.
And the ladies match between Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey has potential to be a barnburner. Tate, the champion, holds a 12-2 record in MMA and has run off 6 victories in a row. Rousey is a relative newcomer at 4-0 (all matches in 2011) but her Olympic Bronze medal in Judo have raised expectations early in her career. No one has gone more than a minute with Rousey, and she has been training for MMA under Gokor Chivichyan, a trainer who has produced many high level MMA athletes.
Tate is a solid fighter, one who will surely test Rousey. If Rousey gets by her, we may be looking at the real deal. This is a big step up in competition for Rousey, so I am going to have to believe that Tate will come in the favorite.
I would like to see Jorge Masvidal, Roger Gracie and ‘Jacare’ Souza all on that card as well, as all look to bounce back from losses but have value. Additionally I would like to see at least one more women’s match on the undercard for development purposes. Come on Strikeforce and UFC, don’t just go thru the motions here, let’s get some real talent out of Strikeforce.