Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Strikeforce Inks More Title Fights, Signs Andrei Arlovski to Longterm Deal

Despite their recent difficulties in wrangling their biggest star attraction, Fedor Emelianenko (31-1), Strikeforce has continued to make aggressive moves to sell fans on a pair of upcoming major cards, scheduled for April 17th and May 15th, both of which will likely lack "The Last Emperor's" presence.

For their April 17th event on CBS, Strikeforce has recently added a lightweight title fight between reigning champion Gilbert Melendez (17-2, #8 LW) and Japanese submissions sensation, and current DREAM champion, Shinya Aoki (23-4, #2 LW [Pictured Above]). Melendaz is returning from successfully avenging a previous loss to Josh Thompson (16-3), which happened at last December's Strikeforce: Evolution. Melendez' win meant that he has now avenged both of his two career loses. For Aoki, whose DREAM lightweight belt will not be on the line in April, his Strikeforce debut will be his first fight since he controversially broke an over-matched fighter's arm at this year's K-1 Dynamite New Year's show, then proceeded to flip off both his now-defeated opponent and the entire crowd.

Also on the April 17th card will be a light heavyweight title fight between champion Gegard Mousasi (28-2-1) and Muhammed Lawal (6-0). In addition, the night's main event will feature yet another five-rounder in which Dan Henderson (25-7) will attempt to steal the middleweight crown currently worn by Jake Shields (24-4-1).

As for Strikeforce's May 15th card on Showtime Sports, it is believed that the long-absent Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Alitair Overeem (32-11), who hasn't fought stateside since late 2007, will finally return to face Brett "The Grim" Rogers (10-1). It is unclear at this time if that fight will be for Overeem's heavyweight title. Strikeforce has also signed Belarusian brawler Andrei Arlovski (15-7) to a new four-fight deal; he is expected to debut on the May 15th card against Antonio Silva (13-2).

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