Strikeforce Fortifies June 18 Lineup; Carano to Return

By Brian Knapp Apr 11, 2011
American Kickboxing Academy representative Daniel Cormier will lock horns with Shane del Rosario in a showdown between undefeated heavyweights at Strikeforce “Overeem vs. Werdum” on June 18 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. The promotion on Saturday announced the matchup, along with a light heavyweight tilt pairing Valentijn Overeem with Chad Griggs.

Unbeaten in seven professional outings, Cormier (Pictured) has finished five of his seven foes inside one round. The 32-year-old Lafayette, La., native last appeared at Strikeforce Challengers 13 in January, when he posted a unanimous decision over International Fight League veteran Devin Cole at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. A three-time collegiate All-American wrestler and two-time Olympic team member, Cormier currently holds titles in the King of the Cage and Xtreme MMA promotions.

Del Rosario has not fought since he competed under the Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Silva” banner in February, when he submitted Lavar Johnson with a first-round armbar at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The 27-year-old world muay Thai champion has stopped all 11 of his opponents, 10 of them in the first round.

In addition to the Cormier-Del Rosario and Overeem-Griggs matchups, the promotion also announced that former Strikeforce women’s middleweight title contender Gina Carano plans to make her long-awaited return at the event. No opponent was named. Carano last competed in August 2009, when she succumbed to first-round punches from Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. It was the 28-year-old’s first professional MMA defeat.

The resumption of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix will headline the June 18 show, as reigning champion Alistair Overeem squares off with Fabricio Werdum and former UFC heavyweight king Josh Barnett meets Brett Rogers.
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