Though the headlining duo of Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko may merit the bulk of the MMA community’s attention in late July when Strikeforce stops in Chicago, their bout will be far from the only intriguing match-up on the card as the organization announced a pair of fights over the weekend set to take place at the highly anticipated event including one tilt with a title on the line.
According to Strikeforce, female welterweight champ Marloes Coenen will put her gold up for grabs against 11-2 Miesha Tate before the PRIDE veterans duel it out in the main event, while former 205-pound king Muhammed Lawal will look to get one step closer to reclaiming his divisional crown against undefeated submission artist Roger Gracie.
“Takedown” Tate solidified her shot at Coenen’s belt with back-to-back victories this past August in a single-night tournament while also running her current winning streak to five in the process. The 24-year old has found success in the ring against the likes of Hitomi Akano and Zoila Gurgel. Interestingly enough, Tate has yet to be tapped out in her career while fourteen of Coenen’s nineteen total wins have come by way of submission.
The defense will mark the second for Coenen after having originally earned the strap by beating Sarah Kaufman last October and retaining it, albeit after absorbing a good deal of damage, against Liz Carmouche a few months ago at “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson”.
Also set for the July 30 show, BJJ royalty will grace the Strikeforce cage as world-class grappler Gracie will go for the fifth victory in as many attempts since transitioning from the mat to Mixed Martial Arts. All four of his performances thus far have resulted in a submission win including an opening round Rear-Naked Choke of Trevor Prangley this past January.
Gracie’s opponent, Lawal, has been sidelined since losing the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt to Rafael Cavalcante ten months ago after undergoing knee surgery. The loss was Lawal’s first taste of defeat after racking up seven straight wins to open up his career including an April 2010 outpointing of Gegard Mousasi.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE