When Dan Henderson jumped ship back to the UFC to fight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in what many instantly deemed the Fight of the Year, he left the Strikeforce light heavyweight title in limbo.
It has remained vacant ever since he made the move, waiting for an outcome to the contract negotiations between Strikeforce and Showtime to come to a resolution.
The Strikeforce-Showtime broadcast agreement was crystalized earlier this week, and now it appears that a path to a new light heavyweight champion is becoming clear as well.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi squared off with fast-rising star Ovince St. Preux on Saturday night. Mousasi showed off his newfound wrestling skills, earning a unanimous decision victory.
That victory likely put Mousasi into position to fight for the title belt that used to be wrapped around his waist.
“I think the fight we had tonight (bewteen Mousasi and St. Preux) definitely had title implications for that championship belt,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said on Saturday night.
“Then on Jan. 7, the fight between King Mo and Lorenz Larkin will have title implications as well. It’s not (absolutely) decided, but I kind of think that’s the path it’s heading in.”
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is also a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. In fact, he is the man that took the belt from Mousasi.
Lorenz Larkin, like St. Preux had been, is on a meteoric rise through the Strikeforce ranks. He has won three consecutive bouts for the promotion, bringing his professional record to a spotless 12-0.
The Jan. 7 Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine takes place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and will air on Showtime as part of the premium cable network’s freeview weekend.