Eric Lawson: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Eric Lawson will finally return to the Strikeforce cage on Jan. 29, when he takes on Ron Keslar at Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Cyborg.”
Sherdog.com learned of the Lawson-Keslar matchup on Monday night from sources close to the fight. The middleweight scrap was originally supposed to take place at “Diaz vs. Noons 2” in October, but Lawson was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Lawson had a five-fight winning streak snapped in February, when he was submitted by Sherdog MMA Fighter Exchange participant Wayne Phillips at Strikeforce Challengers 6. Prior to that bout, Lawson had won seven of eight, including a perfect 5-0 stint inside Strikeforce. The Combat Fitness fighter holds over half of his career victories by submission and has fought to a decision only twice as a professional.
A product of the vaunted American Kickboxing Academy, Keslar comes off back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career. Keslar made his Strikeforce debut in June, losing by technical knockout to Chris Cope at “Fedor vs. Werdum.” Cope caught the King of the Cage veteran with a head kick and finished him with punches in the second frame. At October’s “Diaz vs. Noons 2,” Keslar fell by unanimous decision to Josh McDonald. Keslar holds three of his five pro wins by submission and has never knocked out an opponent.
Set to take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., “Diaz vs. Cyborg” will be headlined by the titular welterweight title bout between champion Nick Diaz and challenger Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. Also featured on the bill will be a middleweight title fight between champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and challenger “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Rounding out the main card will be a heavyweight tilt between 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker and Scott Carson, and a light heavyweight scrap featuring ADCC grappling champion Roger Gracie taking on UFC veteran Trevor Prangley.