Robbie Lawler file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Strikeforce officials confirmed Tuesday that Matt Lindland will square off with "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler in a middleweight showdown at Strikeforce “Henderson vs. Babalu” on Dec. 4 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
An Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, Lindland is coming off a third-round TKO of an overmatched Kevin Casey at Strikeforce Challengers 8 in May. Prior to that victory, the Team Quest founder had dropped two straight fights, including a brutal first-round knockout at the hands of UFC middleweight title contender Vitor Belfort. Lindland has fought for multiple promotions throughout his 13-year career, including Cage Rage, Affliction and the UFC. He was also the coach of the IFL's Portland Wolfpack before the promotion folded. He holds notable victories against Pat Miletich, Carlos Newton and Phil Baroni [twice]. Lindland is also known to scrap outside of his natural weight class. In 2006, he lost a split decision to former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. The following year, he was armbarred by top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in the first round.
Lawler is 1-2 since joining Strikeforce, with his lone win coming at the expense of Dutch destroyer Melvin Manhoef. After being stung with a string of cringe-worthy leg kicks, Lawler rallied to knock Manhoef out late in the first round. Now fighting out of the H.I.T. Squad gym in Granite City, Ill., Lawler defeated Murilo "Ninja" Rua in 2007 to capture the EliteXC welterweight title. In his preceding fight, he knocked out Frank Trigg, winning the ICON Sport middleweight championship. Prior to earning those belts, Lawler competed in the UFC, going 4-3 and notching victories over Chris Lytle and Aaron Riley. He won his first three fights in the promotion, making him a perfect 9-0 at that time. “Ruthless” was memorably knocked out in 2004 by underdog Nick Diaz at UFC 47, and after losing to future UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner at UFC 50, Lawler left the organization.
Welterweight Jesse Finney will also appear on the card, fighting a yet-to-be-announced opponent. Finney is a St. Louis native and is coming off his first career loss to Josh Neer in August. He is 2-0 in Strikeforce competition.
The show will be headlined by former two-divison Pride champion Dan Henderson, as he takes on one-time UFC light heavyweight contender Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Also on the card will be a welterweight scrap between strikers Paul Daley and Scott Smith and heavyweight match-up between Antonio Silva and Valentijn Overeem.