Hector Lombard file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
With a potential bout between Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez a hot topic in recent weeks, Bellator has begun calling out additional Strikeforce champions as well.
Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard outpointed Alexander Shlemenko in the promotion’s season three finale Thursday in Hollywood, Fla. The Cuban-born judoka then challenged Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza during his postfight interview.
“With Hector’s win tonight, I’ve said many times the opportunity for Hector to fight Jacare would be spectacular,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said at the postfight news conference. “I’d love to see it.”
Rebney also said he wants to pit his welterweight champion, Ben Askren, against Strikeforce titleholder Nick Diaz. The Bellator boss explained that co-promotional bouts with Strikeforce would likely be three-round non-title fights.
“The difficulty in doing a championship unification under the banner of two different promotions who don’t work together on every event is then you’ve got one fighter who wins, one fighter who loses and then what happens to that champion?” Rebney said. “For example, if Eddie were to fight Gilbert and we were to do a unification and Eddie were to walk away with the Strikeforce belt and the Bellator belt, then what does Strikeforce do at that point?
“I think three-round fights answer a lot of questions. I think five-round fights are great, but I think you can get a lot of questions answered in three-round fights in terms of the dominance and performance of fighters. In all likelihood, it would be three-round fights, but again, I’m welcome to [five-round fights]. I’m trying desperately to not say anything that would be perceived as a barrier to making those kind of fights happen.”
Rebney continued his plea for Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker to return his calls about co-promoting.
“In that kind of scenario, the promoter on the other side of the table has got to respond, take the calls and sit down at the table and try to make the fight happen,” Rebney said. “I’ve eliminated issues. I’ve eliminated barriers to entry. I’ve said we can do the fight in San Jose. I’ve said we can do the fight on Showtime. Without communication with Scott, it would be a difficult event to pull off.”