Courtesy of The Fight Network (re-printed with permission):
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will step in for injured Strikeforce heavyweight titleholder Alistair Overeem against Team Bison member Brett “The Grim” Rogers at “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” on June 6.
Overeem has pulled out of the fight with a hand injury.
The Fight Network learned of the heavyweight contest from sources close to both fighters.
Rogers (9-0) is coming off a second-round TKO win over Abongo Humphrey at “Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz” on April 11. A veteran of the now-defunct Elite Xtreme Combat organization, Rogers boasts wins over heavyweight sluggers Jon Murphy and James Thompson.
Arlovski (15-6), meanwhile, has not seen action since challenging Fedor Emelianenko for the WAMMA heavyweight title at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” on January 24. Training under Freddie Roach, one of boxing’s most highly acclaimed coaches, the Belarussian hopes to rebound from a first-round knockout against “The Last Russian Emperor” and move one step closer to putting gold back around his waist.
“The Pitbull,” who will be making his first appearance for the California-based Strikeforce promotion, was initially rumored to make his professional boxing debut in the aftermath of the loss to Emelianenko. But Arlovski is now set to return to his mixed martial arts roots against the less experienced Rogers.
A former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski has recorded wins over Roman Zentsov, Vladimir Matyushenko, Wesley Correira, Tim Sylvia, Paul Buentello, Fabricio Werdum, Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson throughout his 10-year career.
The winner of this fight will likely go on to challenge heavyweight kingpin Overeem for the title later this year.
“Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” is set to emanate from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
In the main event, two former EliteXC champions will collide as Robbie Lawler takes on Jake Shields in a 182-pound catchweight bout.
Rounding out the main card is a 180-pound catchweight bout featuring Nick Diaz, fresh off a win over MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock, against Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith. Additionally, “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” will feature a light heavyweight affair between former UFC heavyweight champ Kevin “The Monster” Randleman and Affliction veteran Mike Whitehead, plus a welterweight contest between UFC veterans Phil Baroni and Joe Riggs.
A light heavyweight bout between Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Jared Hamman is expected to headline the preliminary card, which also features Jesse Finney vs. Josh Baumgartner, Tyron Woodley vs. Sal Woods, Scott Ventimiglia vs. Lucas Lopes, Pat Benson vs. Dave Cochran and Booker DeRousse vs. James Wade.