Strikeforce officials formally announced Thursday morning that its second major event to be promoted under its new multi-fight agreement with Showtime is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO.
Confirmed to headline the event was the previously announced middleweight matchup between former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler vs. former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields.
“It’s a great opportunity to fight another top-ranked fighter,” the 27-year old Lawler is quoted as saying in a press release. “(Strikeforce founding CEO) Scott Coker really stepped up and I’m glad to be fighting for him and Strikeforce. We were all unsure of where our next fight would be (referring to the former EliteXC stable of fighters), so we’re glad someone with his experience stepped in. He has been good to us.”
Despite moving up a weight class against one of the world’s best at 185 pounds, a fight with Lawler is still one that he approves of.
“It’s a fight that makes sense,” Shields is quoted as saying. “We’re both already known to the SHOWTIME viewers. He’s a top middleweight and I’m a top-ranked welterweight. It makes me want to train really hard. I know I’ve got to be ready because, if I’m not, he’s going to kick me in the head or punch me and knock me out. I’m super-excited to come in at my best.”
Despite giving up size, Shields believes he level the odds through superior grappling.
“My grappling’s better than his striking. I’ve been working on my striking a lot, though,” said Shields, “and I think it’s a lot better than some people give me credit for. I’m not going to say I’m a better striker than Lawler because that would be stupid. Lawler is one of the better strikers out there.”
In addition to the Lawler vs. Shields matchup, a Strikeforce light heavyweight title defense by Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante has been added to the card as well.
Sobral, 32-7, won the promotion’s 205 pound crown from Bobby Southworth this past November during “Strikeforce: Destruction” after a doctor stopped the fight following the first round due to a cut. The former UFC veteran last competed in January during Affliction and M-1’s “Day of Reckoning.” Facing Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Sobral submitted the former PRIDE star with a Brabo choke submission at 2:36 of round 2.
June 6 will mark Feijao’s Strikeforce debut. Formerly a heavyweight with the now-defunct International Fight League, the native Brazilian is undefeated since dropping to light heavyweight. While competing under the EliteXC banner, Feijao went 3-0 and improved his overall record to 7-1. He has not competed since a first round TKO over Travis Galbraith during EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event this past July.
A welterweight matchup between Phil Baroni vs. Joe Riggs is also expected to be featured during Showtime’s five-bout telecast.