The first half of Strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal bouts went off without a hitch in New Jersey on Feb. 12. The second half of those bouts was initially slated for April 9.
Strikeforce is moving ahead with that date, but not with the other quarterfinal bouts.
Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers, the quarterfinal bouts in waiting, are instead being pushed back to a June 18 date at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAJunkie.com, who first reported the shifting bouts, that the move was made to take advantage of the success of New Jersey and properly promote the remaining quarterfinal bouts in Dallas.
Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz will defend his belt against brash Brit Paul Daley at the April 9 event. Joining them is lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who will put his title on the line against Japanese fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri.
While Coker confirmed both bouts to MMAWeekly.com, he said a location for the event has still not been determined. Other MMAWeekly.com sources, however, give the inside track to San Diego.
K.J. Noons recently told MMAWeekly.com that he expects to fight on the April 9 card, although he didn’t divulge an opponent.
Gegard Mousasi told MMAJunkie.com back in November that he anticipated fighting Mike Kyle on the April 9 event. Coker confirmed that bout to ESPN reporter Josh Gross on Tuesday night. Gross also conveyed, via Twitter, that Coker intends to have Shinya Aoki fight on the April 9 event, and hopes to have Gina Carano return on the Dallas event in June.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal recently tweeted that he will also be fighting on the June 18 event in Dallas, but did not name an opponent.