Let’s play a little game; now it’s not as cool as 52 card pick up but it is very similar in nature, it’s called “sorting out the top of the Strikeforce divisions”.
When ZUFFA (parent company of the UFC) purchased Strikeforce last year, a handful of the promotion top talent include champions Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson and Alistair Overeem defected to the UFC. This would leave a gaping hole that the promotion has yet fill, and really doesn’t have any sense of urgency to do so.
Of the promotions five divisions, just three of them currently have a champion available to defend the belts. The welterweight and light heavyweight divisions is without a champ and despite having three light heavyweight and six welterweight bouts take place over the last three events, there are currently no plans to fill them.
No one really knows what’s in the cards for Strikeforce and maybe that’s the problem in a nutshell. The uncertainty at the top of each division emulates the overall uncertainty regarding the promotion itself.
So, let’s cut through the uncertainty and lay it all out there.
Lightweight (Champ = Gilbert Melendez):
Top of the Division = Josh Thomson, Pat Healy, Jorge Masvidal
- Even though Pat Healy has won four in a row, he does have a loss against Thomson. So put Thomson in there on the May Strikeforce card against Melendez, BUT also have Healy fight on that same card against Jorge Masvidal just in case Thomson gets injured again.
Welterweight (Champ = None):
Top of the Division = Tyron Woodley, Tarec Saffiedine, Nate Marquardt
- A Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine rematch for the vacant title makes sense but a Woodley vs. Nate Marquardt fight sounds so much better. Saffiedine did injury his arm on the January card so this will allow him to heal and possibly face the winner.
Middleweight (Champ = Luke Rockhold):
Top of the Division = Tim Kennedy, Ronaldo Souza
- Tim Kennedy was schedule to face Luke Rockhold in January before he was injured and replaced by Keith Jardine. He should be the front-runner for the next title shot unless he gets injured again and then Ronaldo Souza should get a chance to regain the crown.
Light Heavyweight (Champ = None):
Top of the Division = Muhammed Lawal, Mike Kyle, Gegard Mousasi, Rafael Cavalcante
- What a mess. Muhammed Lawal was the #1 contender; that is until he failed his January post fight drug test and now awaits possible penalty. Mike Kyle and Gegard Mousasi were supposed to fight this month, but an injury to Kyle shot that plan down. Rafael Cavalcante is the former champion, who defeated Lawal and hasn’t fought since September of last year. A fight between Mousasi and Cavalcante for the vacant title should be made ASAP.
Women’s Bantamweight (Champ = Ronda Rousey)
Top of the Division = Sarah Kaufman, Miesha Tate
- Ronda Rousey just defeated Miesha Tate to become the champion; Sarah Kaufman also fought on the card and is next in line for Rousey.
The heavyweight division was not included because once the grand prix is completed there will only be one more heavyweight bout before Strikeforce disbands the division.