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Justin Wilcox returning to the ring in June against J.Z. Cavalcante

It appears American Kickboxing Academy powerhouse Justin Wilcox will have to win at least one more bout before solidifying his shot at Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez and will instead receive his stiffest challenge to date in the form of J.Z. Cavalcante. “The Silverback” will be looking for his seventh straight win when he locks horns with his Brazilian opponent and is considered to be on the short list of title-contenders at 155 pounds.

News of the rumored rhubarb was first reported by MMAWeekly where sources were quoted as saying the bout had been verbally agreed upon by both sides and was being targeted for Strikeforce’s upcoming event on June 18 in Dallas.

Cavalcante made a name for himself in Japan under the K-1 banner where he scored a number of memorable wins including TKOs of Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Hiroyuki Takaya. He has also claimed success over game adversaries like Rani Yahya, Michihiro Omigawa, and Bart Palaszewski, and was in the “Top 5” discussion until being slowed by injuries from 2008-2010.

Though Wilcox may lack Cavalcante’s experience and name recognition, the 11-3 grappler has notched victory in ten of his last eleven match-ups featuring impressive performances against David Douglas, Shamar Bailey, the aforementioned Riberio, and most recently Rodrigo Damm who he beat by way of TKO in April.

Strikeforce’s summer stop in the Lone Star State should be packed with entertainment, as Wilcox and Cavalcante join a line-up already highlighted by the second half of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix with Alistair Overeem taking on Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett back in action against Brett Rogers. Fan-favorite Gina Carano is also scheduled to fight Sarah D’Alelio at the event, plus former light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal will mix it up with Ovince St. Preux in hopes of earning a shot as winning his belt back.


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