Thursday Signing Bonus: Manhoef to Strikeforce, Renzo Gracie to UFC

By Jake Rossen Dec 3, 2009

J. Sherwood/

According to a Portuguese interview translated by the United Nations community members, Renzo Gracie has signed a six-fight deal with the UFC, the promotion his cousin Royce lifted -- then left -- nearly 15 years ago. Renzo, 42, is expected to face Matt Hughes, possibly as soon as April 10. He’ll become only the third Gracie to fight in the organization following Royce and heavyweight Rolles, who makes his debut in February.

No debate whatsoever: Renzo is the single best Gracie to adapt his art for mixed-style competition. He’s defeated five former UFC champions -- two of them heavyweights. 42 is the wrong age to make a run at it, but his time in the ring will be entertaining while it lasts.

Strikeforce’s signing of Melvin Manhoef couldn’t be more dissimilar. Gracie has an obvious ground reputation; Manhoef is easily tied up there, but his striking is an indication of what would’ve happened had you shot up a 1988-era Tyson with PCP. A Manhoef/Cung Le fight would be real Greek mythology stuff. Just don’t give Manhoef Matt Lindland before then.
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