It took all of three days for the UFC to announce the fighters they intend to carry over from Strikeforce. This leads me to ask a question: Too soon? Not if you’re one of the lucky few to receive an invitation to join the largest MMA promotion on the planet.

On Tuesday, Ariel Helwani announced those fighters making the transition from Strikeforce to the UFC on FUEL TV’s UFC Tonight:

Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier

Light Heavyweight: Gian Villante, Gegard Mousasi

Middleweight: Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza, Time Kennedy, Roger Gracie, Lorenz Larkin

Welterweight: Nate Marquardt, Tarec Saffiedine, Roger Bowling, Jason High, Bobby Voelker

Lightweight: Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, K.J. Noons, Ryan Couture, Pat Healy, Adriano Martins, Kurt Holobaugh

With the addition of key Strikeforce alum, the UFC will garner top talent creating interesting divisional match ups in the future. Moving forward those chosen to crossover will face continued scrutiny regarding their success within the new promotion. It’s up to Strikeforce veteran Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier to squash the early doubters.

Both men are scheduled to fight on the UFC on Fox 7 card. Cormier will take on UFC veteran Frank Mir while Melendez is scheduled to fight current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. The Henderson/Melendez championship fight will headline the UFC on Fox 7 event held on April 20, 2013 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

It’s important to note that this list is not comprehensive or exclusive. That may sound comforting to some, but those yet to receive an invite from the UFC take little comfort in their unknown employment status. In the days ahead the UFC will have the difficult task of finalizing their crossover roster. In the meantime speculation and misinformation will cause us all to wish Strikeforce had never left us.

You’re right – I was reaching there.

By Scott Levesque (@scottlevesque)

ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer

We dream of the moments when greatness can shine. To perfect these moments we practice diligently in the backyard, driveway and playground concocting the perfect recipe which mixes time, opportunity and preparation into an imaginary last second play. On Saturday night in Oklahoma City Strikeforce attempts to create its own concoction. One that, if done right, will showcase their roster of mixed martial artists.

A melancholy end for a promotion that pioneered many aspects of mixed martial arts. For now Strikeforce leaves behind a roster of athletes looking for employment. The Marquardt vs. Saffiedine event could provide the opportunity for fringe fighters – otherwise known as fighters on the unemployed bubble – who are looking to showcase their talent for future employers. For the majority of the fighters on the Strikeforce roster, it’s the best case scenario.

It seems fitting that the final event would be billed as a way to showcase their fighters to other organizations. You might be screaming in frustration at your computer monitor right now – by the way I can’t hear you – because in reality they’ve been leaking talent for two years now.

Let’s be honest for a moment. Since the purchase of Strikeforce by Zuffa in March of 2011 the UFC has been draining talent like a Red Cross nurse at a blood drive. It’s left Strikeforce weak, tired and looking for a damn cookie to munch on. More importantly fighters are left searching for opponents and opportunities to showcase their talent.

All the measurements have been taken and footage reviewed. It’s up to the individual fighter to perform and perform well. One can’t help but feel the added pressure each Strikeforce alum is dealing with venturing into the occupational unknown. Saturday night by all accounts is the UFC equivalent of a NFL combine.

It’s important to remember these athletes are fighting for their livelihoods. In doing so many are bound to take chances they normally won’t take hoping to create a lasting impression on a possible employer. Greatness comes when time, opportunity and preparation meet. You might be heading into Saturday’s event with unclear expectations, but prepare yourself there’s a good chance you’ll see greatness personified.

By Scott Levesque (@scottlevesque)

ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer

From its start in San Jose in 1985 as a kickboxing organization that eventually ended up on ESPN to a worldwide phenomenon that became the biggest challenger to the UFC in the 2010s, Strikeforce had one amazing ride.

Bleacher Report Lead MMA writer Jonathan Snowden, the author of the MMA Encyclopedia, recently talked to nearly every major player in the organization’s history, creating an amazing firsthand account of what the organization actually was.

After MMA became legaized in California in 2006, Strikeforce held the first show in the state at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. With a main event featuring a legendary member of the Gracie Family, Cesar, and MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock, the event was a rousing success, selling out the 18,000-plus seat arena and forcing officials to turn away thousands more. With the first two families of MMA in a headlining role, the promotional mind of Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was immediately evident in his foray into MMA.

Eventually, the promotion would go on to hold some of the biggest fights of the 2000s, including Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni, Shamrock vs. Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson, and more.

In 2008, the organization capitalized on another one in a long line of MMA organizational collapses, as its parent company purchased the assets of the defunct Pro Elite. With it came the chance to put its product on Showtime for the first time. Finally, the biggest little promotion had a national TV deal to go along with its recognizable national talent.

In 2009, the organization put on the highest profile fight in women’s MMA history, as Gina Carano squared off against Cris “Cyborg” Santos. The fight produced the best numbers in Strikeforce’s time on Showtime as over half a million TVs were tuned in to see Santos become the biggest name in women’s MMA.

Less than three months later, the organization’s peak came when it signed top MMA free agent Fedor Emelianenko to a deal. Along with Fedor, Strikeforce also inked a deal to air shows on CBS, something that the UFC couldn’t claim at the time.

On a seemingly unstoppable climb, 2010 was a horrible year for the organization. It all started at an April event in Nashville. A lackluster event on CBS where all three planned title fights went to decision was followed by an in-cage melee between Jake Shields’ team and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who attempted to hijack Shields’ post-fight interview after his win over Dan Henderson to ask for a rematch.

The melee was shown to a massive audience tuning in to see their late local news, and many were outraged. CBS has yet to air another Strikeforce or MMA event.

Following the loss of CBS, the organization began to hemorrhage money as it was forced to put high-priced stars in bouts on Showtime, where they didn’t have a deal of the same scale.

Then in March 2011, the organization was sold to UFC parent company Zuffa, and it was the beginning of the end for the UFC’s biggest competitor. Despite holding more than a dozen events under the Zuffa banner, many of the organization’s top stars are now in the UFC, and Showtime decided not to renew a deal it had to air events after this January.

So it will be a farewell in Oklahoma City, with Nate Marquardt defending his welterweight title against Tarec Saffiedine in the main event. Many fighters like Marquardt, Daniel Cormier, and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza already have their eyes on the UFC, but just as many know they may be fighting for a contract in their final Strikeforce appearance.

Check out Snowden’s piece here: Part 1 | Part 2

By David McKinney (@MMAMcKinney)

ProFightingFans.com Editor

If you are a fan of mixed martial arts then you have probably heard the news about Strikeforce.  The promotion will be closing its doors after their January 12th event in Oklahoma.  Many of the promotion’s current fighters will be transitioning over to the UFC.  Several of those fighters already have their UFC debuts scheduled for 2013.  I decided I would take this opportunity to talk about the Strikeforce fighters I think will have the most impact in the UFC, male and female.

Unless you have been living under a rock, there is no doubt you have heard the name Ronda Rousey.  She just happens to be the most recognizable figure in women’s MMA today.  Dana White is willing to build an entire division around her in the UFC.  She’s dominated all of her opponents in impressive fashion.  You can be sure that Rousey is going to help carry women’s MMA into the future.  Because of all of this, Ronda Rousey is who I think will have the most significant impact when she makes her Octagon debut in 2013.  If she continues to win the same way she did in Strikeforce, it is quite possible she will clean out the entire division in a short period of time.  I don’t think Cyborg Santos can avoid Rousey forever.  The two will have to meet inside the Octagon sooner or later.  Let’s have faith that Dana White can make this happen.

For a long time, Gilbert Melendez has been considered one of the best lightweight fighters in the world.  The only knock against him was that he was not a part of the UFC roster.  Well, that is not the case anymore.  Melendez will definitely be making his UFC octagon debut in 2013. Who will he fight first?  There have been rumblings that he may get an immediate title shot.  That would be ok with me.  He has not lost a fight in over four years.  Josh Thomson was the guy to hand him his last professional loss.  Since then Melendez has gone on to defeat Thomson twice.  I am anxious to see what Gilbert can do against high level competition and there is no shortage of top level guys in the UFC’s lightweight division.  If he isn’t going to get a title shot, I say give him Jim Miller.

The heavyweight division is arguably the weakest in the UFC.  The addition of Strikeforce Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier is going to change that.  Sure, he says he wants to fight in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.  But, I think he should start out as a heavyweight.  He’s an Olympic wrestler with a perfect MMA record of 10-0.  Wouldn’t it be great to see him matched up with another great wrestler like Cain Velasquez?  The two men are teammates, so right now that doesn’t seem very likely.  Maybe a fight with Junior Dos Santos is a better option.  For the most part Dos Santos has been able to avoid being taken to the mat.  Velasquez was able to do it multiple times.  Would Daniel Cormier be as successful?  We may soon find out.

The last fighter I am going to mention is no stranger to the UFC octagon.  Nate Marquardt only fought once as a member of Strikeforce, but in that fight he knocked out previously undefeated welterweight Tyron Woodley to become that division’s champion.  I know it seems strange to think he will have a big impact in his return to the UFC.  The major difference this time, he has dropped down a weight class.  He was a dangerous middleweight.   He is even more dangerous as a welterweight.  As long as he has no issues making weight, Marquardt is going to be a contender in his new division.

There are other fighters coming from Strikeforce who are prepared to make some noise in the UFC, like Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and maybe even heavyweight Josh Barnett.  I am looking forward to all the new blood in the UFC.  The organization is only going to benefit from this and I think 2013 just might be the best year ever for the UFC.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

dInvicta Fighting Championships has been a trailblazer through its first year as the world’s only all-female MMA promotion, and they continued to blaze even more trails with InvictaFC 4, which was supposed to be the promotion’s debut on Internet pay-per-view. Technical difficulties at the beginning of the night however caused officials to decide to broadcast the event for free.

In the main event at InvictaFC 4, Carla Esparza toughed out a unanimous decision over late replacement Bec Hyatt to claim the organization’s first-ever 115-pound title. Hyatt attempted to come out with a fast start hoping to end the fight early and catch Esparza off guard, but Esparza’s wrestling was too much for Hyatt and she was able to grind out a 50-45 decision on all three judges’ scorecards after five rounds. In the co-headliner, Alexis Davis avenged an earlier loss to Shayna Baszler with a third round submission win. Other notable winners were bantamweight Leslie Smith in a back-and-forth bout against former friend Raquel Pennington, Ediane Gomes in a display of power over Hitomi Akano, and 105-pound atomweight Cassie Rodish.

Dream returns for one night only event

Dream returned to Japan on New Year’s Eve for a one-shot MMA event titled Dream.18, and a few notable names were in action at the event. In the headliner, Shinya Aoki submitted UFC veteran Antonio McKee after landing a big right hand on the American wrestler that caused him to tap out while holding the ropes. Longtime Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri won for the the fifth straight time, continuing his successes since dropping to the featherweight division by earning a unanimous decision over the struggling Michihiro Omigawa. Fan favorites Bibiano Fernandes and Melvin Manhoef both earned quick stoppages – Fernandes a technical guillotine over Yoshiro Maeda, and Manhoef a TKO via knee over Denis Kang.

Strikeforce set to say farewell

Strikeforce is set to say farewell with its final event Jan. 12, as the card will feature a headliner between welterweight champion Nate Marquardt and challenger Tarec Saffiedine. Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier is also on the card, as he’ll take on veteran Dion Staring. Other notable bouts feature grand prix runner-up Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino, light heavyweights Mike Kyle vs. Gegard Mousasi, and former middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza vs. UFC import Ed Herman.

With Strikeforce on its death bed, the UFC has begun to absorb some of the organization’s talent, including Cormier, who signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC and will enter the heavyweight mix after his bout against Staring. Despite an ugly exit from the UFC, Marquardt is also back in the top organization in the world, as well as former title challenger Tyron Woodley, who already has his first UFC date set: UFC 156 against Jay Hieron. Other imports are expected to take place as well, and as many as 20 Strikeforce fighters will receive UFC contracts.

Quick Hits

MMA legend and UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn announced his retirement from MMA at the age of 54; he had 101 wins in the sport…Bellator matched the UFC’s offer to sign former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and UFC president Dana White has predicted that negotiations could “get ugly”…Bellator has set its light heavyweight tournament field, including former UFC title challenger Renato “Babalu” Sobral, former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, and Seth Petruzelli…The highlight-based Bellator 360 debuted on Spike TV on Thursday and had nearly 500,000 viewers, more than any Bellator event on MTV 2.

Rumblings

Dave Meltzer reported that 10 women under are UFC contract, including Ronda Rousey, Liz Carmouche, Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, and Sara McMann. Cris “Cyborg” Santos is also in talks with the organization, but they will only sign her to compete at 135 pounds…Bellator is expected to make 4-6 appearances in Ohio this year…UFC on FOX 6 will take place on April 20 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose…After Strikeforce’s last event, Showtime is expected to immediately get back in the MMA business, and favorites to take the slot are World Series of Fighting and/or Invicta Fighting Championships.

By David McKinney (@MMAMcKinney)

ProFightingFans.com Editor

Apparently Dana White and company are treating UFC 158 as a welterweight showcase.

The event is being headlined by a welterweight championship fight between Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz.  Also on the card is Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit II, Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger and now Canadian welterweight Jordan Mein will make his UFC debut against Dan Miller.

At just 23 years old, the Alberta native Mein has fought professionally 34 times including three fights under the Strikeforce banner.  In his last fight he faced UFC veteran Forrest Petz at The Score Fighting Series 7 in Hamilton, Ontario.  Mein won the fight by TKO in the first round.  He holds a professional record of 26-8 including 14 wins by knockout.  His most recent loss came via split decision against Tyron Woodley, who is making his own UFC debut in February.  Jordan Mein made his professional debut at the age of 17. That fight was against UFC welterweight contender Rory MacDonald.

When Dan Miller faces off against Jordan Mein at UFC 158 he will be making his 11th appearance as a member of the organization.  Miller’s professional record is 14-6 with one no contest, he is 6-5 in the UFC.  Four of his six UFC victories have come by way of submission.  The last time UFC fans saw Dan Miller it was in June 2012, when he won by Guillotine submission over Ricardo Funch.  Miller is no stranger to tough competition.  He has taken on the likes of Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt.  Sure, he lost all those fights, but it is unlikely he will distracted by Jordan Mein’s impressive MMA resume.

UFC 158 is shaping up to be quite the card.  It is scheduled to take place March 16, 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  If all goes to plan, it will be the UFC’s 7th event in 2013.

By Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

Erick Silva has backed out of his scheduled UFC 156 fight with Jay Hieron due to injury.  No need to worry, the UFC has already announced his replacement.  Former Strikeforce title contender Tyron Woodley will step in to the UFC octagon for the first time to face Hieron.

Woodley is coming off of his first career defeat at the hands of current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt.  Meanwhile, Hieron made his return to the UFC in October, when he lost a unanimous decision to Jake Ellenberger.

Tyron Woodley will be looking to make a statement in his UFC debut.  Especially, since he just tasted defeat for the first time.  Woodley’s MMA record is 10-1 with 6 of those wins coming by way of submission.  His most notable victory came over former UFC fighter Paul Daley.  Woodley defeated Daley by unanimous decision on July 30, 2011 at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson.

Jay Hieron has been fighting professionally since 2003.  He welcomed Georges St. Pierre to the UFC octagon.  Needless to say, Hieron is an experienced mixed martial artist.   He began his second stint with the UFC in 2012, after being away from the organization for almost seven years.  Hieron boasts a record of 21-4 overall and 0-3 in the UFC.  He was also the Bellator season 4 welterweight tournament winner, which earned him a shot at champion Ben Askren.  Hieron lost to Askren by split decision.

UFC 156 takes place February 2, 2012 in Las Vegas Nevada.  The main event of the evening is a UFC featherweight championship bout between current champ Jose Aldo and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.  Other matchups on the card are Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

Yesterday ProFightingFans.com reported that more Strikeforce fighters were making their way over to the UFC, and today the news is no different. Roger Bowling MMA“Relentless” Roger Bowling (11-3, 4-3 Strikeforce), a 7-fight Strikeforce veteran, tweeted “Looking to make my UFC debut march or April! Oh and I’m dropping to 155 as well!” Bowling, who has fought at welterweight (170lbs) throughout his pro MMA career, is apparently now making the cut to lightweight, something that those close to him have whispered about for over a year.

In his 5+ year pro MMA career, Roger Bowling has faced several notables as he ran off seven straight wins to begin his career, all on the regional MMA scene. Included in those wins were a 9 second KO of UFC welterweight and TUF 11 veteran Seth Baczynski (18-9, 4-2 UFC) and a 28 second TKO win over UFC vet Shamar Bailey. A product of Vision MMA in Cincinnati, Ohio, after signing with Strikeforce, Bowling went 4-3 including a 42 second KO of Jerron Peoples in December 2011.

On January 12, 2013 Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine will take place in Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  It was made official this past week that this will be the last Strikeforce event broadcasted on Showtime.  It has not been confirmed that Strikeforce will close its doors after January 12th.  However, many of the promotion’s fighters are making the jump to the UFC.  It has been confirmed that three more Strikeforce fighters will be making their UFC debuts in the coming months.

UFC 156 takes place February 2, 2013 in Las Veagas.  The event is to be headlined by a UFC featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.  On the same night Strikeforce lightweight Bobby Green will take on UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann.  Green is 19-5 overall and he has won four straight fights.  Volkmann is coming off a first round submission victory over Shane Roller in October, his MMA record is 15-3 (6-3 UFC).

Another Strikeforce import will be making his UFC debut in February of 2013.  Caros Fodor will take on Canadian Sam Stout at UFC 157.  Fodor has only fought nine times professionally and has a record of 7-2.  He is coming off a loss and he’ll have his hands full with Stout.  “Hands of Stone” will be stepping into the UFC octagon for the fourteenth time, with a pro MMA record of 18-8-1 (7-7 UFC).  Stout lost to fellow Canadian John Makdessi at UFC 154, but he hasn’t dropped two straight fights since 2008.

Bobby Voelker has fought several UFC veterans inside the cage.  At UFC 158 Voelker (24-8 MMA) will finally get his shot in the big show, where he will take on Patrick Cote.  He has won three straight fights while fighting under the Strikeforce banner including two against rival Roger Bowling, a fighter who announced his drop to 155lbs before his UFC debut.  He hasn’t fought since July 22, 2011.   Patrick Cote recently announced his drop to the welterweight division.   This will be his third fight since his return to the UFC, he is 1-1.  His most recent fight was against Alessio Sakara at UFC 154 and it was a controversial one that resulted in a disqualification victory for Cote.   The 32-year old Canadian will be looking to make a big impression at UFC 158.

I imagine that Strikeforce fighters will continue to make the move to the UFC.  The promotion’s future is up in the air at this time.  The addition of new talent will only bring more depth to the UFC, that can’t be a bad thing.  I am looking forward to seeing what 2013 will bring for MMA fans and the MMA world in general.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

Women are taking over the landscape in the world of mixed martial arts, and it’s not just from holding up a card that reads 1 through 5. Mixed martial arts was a sport dominated by men, but the times are changing, and women are taking their rightful place in the world of mma. From the first female fight captured in moving time on May 6, 1901, thanks to Thomas Edison the message was clear. That message is that women are quickly moving to the forefront of all MMA.

There were few WMMA organizations at first, and many seemed to be overseas. JEWELS was, and is, one of the oldest organizations solely formatted for WMMA. Other organizations had scattered WMMA fights around the USA, even began experimenting with a tournament format (Bellator). This fact made it increasingly tough for women to secure a fight, and harder to attain the necessary footage to properly train with their camps. But these warriors, these difference-makers would take these fights on. Because that is what fighters do, real fighters at least.

Strikeforce has a women’s division with some of the strongest women in all of WMMA *opinion. Their marketing department did a great job of elevating their main card women’s main events to the top (Carano-Cyborg & Rousey-Kaufman). The issue still remains; will there ever be an organization, an American organization that is just for the women? Janet Martin and Shannon Knapp quickly answered that question.

On April 28, 2012 my The world of MMA was changed; because that day was the day of Invicta 1. Invicta FC was a concept by the fearless visionary Shannon Knapp. She put her hard earned money to financially back an American WMMA organization, and it has proven itself to be a worthwhile investment. Invicta 1 had 11 spectacular fights on the card, and every fight had its own dynamic to separate it from the preceding fight. The viewership was good for the first event. The event was streamed on youtube.

Invicta 2 took place on July 28, 2012. It was streamed on the Invicta website this time. By now, the world knew who Invicta was, and that the big companies would be wise to look out for a rapidly rising company. Invicta 2 marked the companies’ alliance with JEWELS, and it produced some epic matches. Even through technical difficulties, Invicta 2 still attained Over 300,000 viewers to its event.

On October 6, 2012, there will be a fantastic event in the world of WMMA. The event is Invicta 3, and this event has all the makings of the best card so far. The first Atomweight title will be attained in a war between American juggernaut Jessica Penne going against Jewels veteran, Undefeated, Sugi-Rock, Nago Sugiyama. This title fight spells fireworks, this is the first time these 2 powerhouses will fight each other, and they are looking to tear the roof off of Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Speaking of fireworks, Carla Esparza is back in action after a Brutal Beautiful mauling of Sarah Schneider on Invicta 2. There are 14 fights in all, and if Invicta 3 goes anything like Invicta 2, you will be mad if you miss it.

My name is Cole “Invicta” and I love all of mma. Women’s Mixed Martial Art is my heart, but all MMA is Important and essential. I host a show called The Friday night Food Fight with my best friend Johnnie Hartwell on Blogtalkradio.com here is a link to the show on September 7, 2012 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportcitychefs/2012/09/08/the-friday-night-food-fight I am always willing to talk mma, no subject needed.

In closing, I will link you to the first women’s fight captured by moving photography (camera) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcE6fTO7pqA&feature=player_embedded#!

 

Cole Vick
ProFightingFans Guest Writer