The main event for the next Strikeforce card appears to be set, as Nate Marquardt will lock horns with Tyron Woodley for the promotion’s vacant welterweight title in July.
Multiple outlets have reported the pairing, and Marquardt confirmed the matchup on his Twitter account Monday evening. The day and location of the event have not been announced, but July 14 is rumored to be the date targeted by the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion. Roger Gracie is expected to square off with Keith Jardine at middleweight on the same card. The 170-pound belt has been vacant ever since previous champion Nick Diaz left Strikeforce to compete in the UFC last year.
Marquardt has not fought since March 2011, when he earned a unanimous decision over Dan Miller at UFC 128. A former middleweight title challenger in the UFC, the Grudge Training Center product defeated the likes of Jeremy Horn, Martin Kampmann, Rousimar Palhares and Demian Maia during his time with the organization.
The 33-year-old was expected to make his welterweight debut this past June against Rick Story, but he was removed from the bout after a pre-fight medical revealed elevated levels of testosterone. Although Marquardt said he had an exemption that allowed him to undergo testosterone replacement therapy, he was released by the UFC. The former King of Pancrase then agreed to a multi-fight contract with the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts in July, but “The Great” would never fight for the promotion.
Woodley is unbeaten in 10 professional bouts, eight of those coming under the Strikeforce banner. The American Top Team Evolution representative last appeared at Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Jardine” in January, where he battled his way to a split-decision triumph over Jordan Mein. The former University of Missouri Tiger went unbeaten in 2011, earning three-round verdicts against Tarec Saffiedine and Paul Daley.