Lawler, Souza to Meet for Strikeforce Middleweight Title

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When Strikeforce attempted to put on a middleweight title tournament in Houston to fill the belt vacated by Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler figured he was only one night and two wins away from having a piece of hardware again.

But because of commission rules, the one-night tourney couldn't take place, and instead Strikeforce put the 185-pound strap around the waist of Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in August when he beat Tim Kennedy.

Though Lawler told MMA Fighting last month before his fight with Matt Lindland that his lack of opportunities with Strikeforce following the collapse of EliteXC, where he was middleweight champion, was frustrating, he said when it comes to the middleweight title picture, he thinks of himself as "just one of the guys."

He doesn't have to worry about that distinction anymore. After a 50-second knockout of Matt Lindland in St. Louis earlier this month, sources close to Lawler's camp confirmed to MMA Fighting that Lawler will get a shot at Souza's middleweight title. And on Saturday, a source close to Strikeforce confirmed to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on Saturday that the bout will take place on the promotion's Jan. 29 card at the HP Pavilion in its home base of San Jose, Calif.

Lawler (20-6, 1 NC, 2-2 Strikeforce), the former EliteXC middleweight champion who vacated that belt when the promotion folded, went nearly a year without a fight after EliteXC's collapse. Since joining Strikeforce, Lawler has been up and down. He lost his debut to Shields in June 2009. But in January, he recorded one of the year's biggest knockouts, dropping Melvin Manhoef in the first round after taking a beating from leg kicks right up until the knockout punch. He lost a close unanimous decision to Babalu Sobral in June, but followed that up with his brutal KO of Lindland two weeks ago.

Souza (13-2, 1 NC, 3-0 Strikeforce) is 3-0 since joining Strikeforce as one of its most highly touted signings of the last several years. The Dream veteran submitted Lindland in his debut with the promotion a year ago and in 2010 has decision wins over Joey Villasenor and Kennedy, the latter of which won him the middleweight belt. The Team Black House member is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

In addition to Souza-Lawler, Strikeforce's Jan. 29 event, which will air on Showtime, has been reported to feature a welterweight title defense by Nick Diaz, the return of Herschel Walker and a middleweight bout between Kennedy and Jason Miller, though none of those bouts have been made official by the promotion.

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Most of Lawler's losses have been by submission. Don't know how he'll fare against another elite grappler like Jacar?.

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  • 1 month later...


* Champ Nick Diaz def. Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos via submission (armbar) - Round 2, 4:50 (retains welterweight title)

* Champ Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza def. Robbie Lawler via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 3, 2:00 (retains middleweight title)

* Herschel Walker def. Scott Carson via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:13

* Roger Gracie def. Trevor Prangley via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 4:19


* Nate Moore def. Nathan Coy via KO (punches) - Round 2, 0:25

* Isaiah Hill def. Bobby Stack via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 1:02

* Ron Keslar def. Eric Lawson via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 1:57

* Germaine de Randamie def. Stephanie Webber via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 4:25

* James Terry def. Lucas Gamaza via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:26

* Jenna Castillo def. Charlene Gellner via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 3:57

* Anthony Dariano def. Alan Perez via unanimous decision (no scores announced)*

* Ricky Jackson def. Niko Jackson via unanimous decision (no scores announced)*

* Armin Safiari def. Sam Bracamonte via unanimous decision (no scores announced)*

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Everything went as expected. Strikeforce are building up Herschel walker for a freakshow fight with Hong Man Choi. I can just feel it. Nick Diaz should himself into the UFC. Jacar?... I don't know. He's still pretty much a one dimensional grappler.

Also Miesha Tate is on the next SF card so it will be interesting.

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Nick Diaz should himself into the UFC.

Too right. But as Dana White said, he needs to "play the game" i.e. Fixed up his behaviour!

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Too right. But as Dana White said, he needs to "play the game" i.e. Fixed up his behaviour!

Christ did I write a bad sentence. :wacko:

If you watch the Ariel Helwani interview, he looks like he's schizofrenic, looking around very paranoid, mean mugging and just not talking. He clearly has the talent now: his chin is solid granite and his BJJ is awesome. But SF just can't provide legitemate opponents because of their Bizarro MMA rules of Title Contention. Evangelista was 18-13 with only 1 fight at WW. If they don't make his next fight, Paul Daley or Miller (at 185), it will be just another can crushing that doesn't advance his career at all. If GSP moves up to 185 to fight Anderson (after smashing Shields), it will leave a power void in the WW division and maybe then Dana White will extend an olive branch to Diaz or else the WW division will be run by Fitch :unsure:

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