Strikeforce has reportedly reserved June 26 for an event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, that is expected to host the return of top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko against Fabricio Werdum.
While Fedor’s appearance on the card depends on the outcome of his ongoing re-negotiations with the promotion, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Wednesday that 145-pound women’s champ Cris Cyborg and former middleweight title-holder Cung Le will also be in action at the event.
Emelianenko (32-1) hasn’t fought since scoring a second-round TKO of Brett Rogers in November in his Strikeforce debut, which headlined the promotion’s first-ever event on CBS. “The Last Emperor” was expected to fight Werdum on Strikeforce’s upcoming return to CBS on April 17, but the matchup was delayed as he and his M-1 Global management worked to finalize a revised contract.
Werdum (13-4-1) was released by the UFC in 2008 following an upset loss to Junior dos Santos, but has rebounded with back-to-back Strikeforce victories over Mike Kyle in August and Antonio Silva in November.
“Cyborg” (9-1) won the title with a first-round knockout of Gina Carano last August, then retained the belt in January with a third-round TKO of Marloes Coenen. She was expected to face Erin Toughill in her next bout, but Toughill recently announced her intention to leave Strikeforce and hinted at a likely retirement.
Le (6-1) earned a third-round TKO of Frank Shamrock in March 2008 to claim the title, but vacated the belt in September after more than a year-and-a-half of inactivity while pursuing an acting career. He returned to MMA in December, suffering a come-from-behind knockout to Scott Smith for his first career loss.
Broadcast plans for the event have yet to be revealed, and likely depend on the success of Strikeforce’s April 17 return to CBS.
Strikeforce is planning a Showtime-televised “Challengers” event for May 21 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon that is expected to include Tyron Woodley and Kerry Vera, while a June 16 “Challengers” card in Los Angeles is also reportedly in the works.