A non-title fight between Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1) and Strikeforce newcomer Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-4) has been booked and completes the main-card lineup for the organization’s Nov. 7 debut event on CBS.
Sources close to the organization have confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the fight has been booked and simply awaits approval from the Illinois Athletic Commission.
The upcoming event, “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers,” takes place at the 11,000-seat Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and features a headliner between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. The night’s four-fight main card airs live on CBS.
As MMAjunkie.com reported earlier this week, Mousasi recently stated he would make his first title defense at the event. But despite an opponent not being finalized, a Strikeforce spokesperson later clarified that the bout would be a non-title affair.
Mousasi won the belt with a first-round TKO victory over then-champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral in August. A few weeks later, Mousasi took part in an exhibition sparring match at “M-1: Breakthrough.” However, an injury (possibly from the exhibition match) forced Mousasi out of DREAM’s open-weight “Super Hulk” tournament. Mousasi defeated Mark Hunt in the opening round but was forced out of a semifinal fight with at Sokoudjou at DREAM.11 earlier this week. (Sapp took Mousasi’s spot and suffered a first-round TKO loss.)
The Mousasi vs. Sokoudjou matchup, though, has been salvaged.
One of the top breakout fighters in recent years, Mousasi enters the Nov. 7 bout with a 13-fight win streak, which included winning DREAM’s middleweight grand prix in 2008.
Sokoudjou, who’s already fought for PRIDE and UFC in his young career, recently picked up his second straight win with the Sapp victory and a previous win over Jan Nortje. Both of the victories came via first-round TKO.
The once highly touted prospect tumbled in the 205-pound rankings following back-to-back losses to Luiz Cane and Sobral (in the UFC and Affliction, respectively), but if he can extend his win streak to three and defeat Mousasi, Sokoudjou could earn top-10 consideration once again.
MMAjunkie.com has also learned that former WWE star and undefeated heavyweight prospect Bobby Lashley, who has been negotiating with Strikeforce, won’t appear on the Nov. 7 card. Lashley had been a possibility, but with the four CBS slots now filled, a source said Lashley will be moved to a later card if a deal is reached.
The latest “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” card now includes:
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers
- Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Jake Shields (for vacant Strikeforce middleweight title)
- Champ Gegard Mousasi vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (non-title match)
- Antonio Silva vs. Fabricio Werdum
- Deray Davis vs. Mark Miller
- Jonatas Novaes vs. Christian Uflacker