Though Strikeforce was purchased by the UFC in March of 2011, the big company’s plans for their purchase have not been made clear. Only recently we got news that Strikeforce would continue operating in 2012, airing a number of events on SHOWTIME. The company is shelving their ‘Challengers’ series and is apparently going to do away with their heavyweight division. What is still unclear is if there will be an exchange of fighters between organizations and how that will work. The UFC grabbed a lot of talent from Strikeforce’s roster, but Strikeforce must keep enough talent on hand to satisfy SHOWTIME. The last Strikeforce card featured Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. The next show coming up on January 7th features Middleweight titleholder Luke Rockhold. Let’s look at the rest of the talent and the matches being offered.
Rockhold will defend his newly won title against veteran Keith Jardine. Rockhold is a growing talent who is still a little green, and Jardine is a retread. Jardine though, is also a very experienced a tough customer and is likely to win this fight.
‘King’ Mo Lawal in the lightheavyweight division is probably the most talented fighter on this card and is definitely someone I can see them keeping on the Strikeforce roster. He has under 10 fights still, and needs seasoning. His opponent Lorenz Larkin has run his record to a perfect 12-0 and has shown a lot of ability to hurt people with his hands. Lawal will be toughest test to date, and this match has ‘fight of the night’ written all over it. I’m taking Lawal to win, but I give Larkin a punchers chance.
The other name on the card is Robbie Lawler, who is another retread. He is coming off two losses in a row and is in desperate need of a win. His opponent is Adlan Amagov, who is a slugger like Lawler. At this point in their careers Amagov looks a little hungrier, though Lawler will always have a power puncher’s chance.
This card does not have as much talent as the December 17th card, where Melendez faced rugged Jorge Masvidal. Gegard Moussasi was also on that card, and women’s powerhouse Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos.
Strikeforce will continue with the women’s divisions it seems, which is an outstanding piece of news. Gina Carrano waits in the wings, and there is a deep pool of talent among the women, four weight classes would be easy to stock with talent in a relatively short period of time.
The March event for Strikeforce will be headlined by the end of the Heavyweight Tournament with the final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier. Look for the champion, or possibly both men to go to the UFC as the weight class goes away in Strikeforce.
It seems to me there is enough talent in Strikeforce to do the reported eight shows next year, with likely this January 7th opening offering being the weakest of the eight. If there is a talent drought, a few of the UFC’s fighters can come over and fill the void, and it would also create an opportunity for the women’s divisions to blossom.