Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Discusses Future Match-Ups

After the Strikeforce: Miami event Scott Coker took time out to discuss some of the future match-ups he has planned for some of the promotions marquee fighters.

Talking to Michael David Smith of MMAfighting, Coker outlined four fights he would like to see take place in the coming months.

Gilbert Melendez Vs Shinya Aoki

Strikeforce’s lightweight champion Melendez (17-2) Vs DREAM’s LW champ Aoki (23-4 1nc) would certainly be an appealing bout if it can be arranged due to the partnership between the two promotions.

Aoki is of course coming off a controversial win and subsequent media backlash at Dynamite!! 2009 in which he broke his opponents arm and then gestured angrily at him after the fight was finished.

Melendez on the other received praise for his title winning performance in a rematch with Josh Thompson which was a candidate for fight of the year late last year.

Nick Diaz Vs Hayoto Sakurai

Nick Diaz next opponent was widely expected to be Jay Hieron, but according to Scott Coker Hayato Sakurai may be more likely to step in to challenge for his welterweight belt.

It’s an interesting, if somewhat curious move for Strikeforce, again taking advantage of their partnership with DREAM to bring in a highly thought of Japanese star to US shores.  Of course, unlike Aoki, Sakurai has fought in the States once before, losing out to Matt Hughes in a battle for the welterweight title at UFC 36.

Despite”Mach’s” experience, which spans close to 50 fights, his recent record doesn’t scream out as that of a title contender.  He’s lost his last two bouts – against Akihiro Gono and, ironically, the fighter Diaz defeated last night – Marius Zaromskis, though his overall record is still a respectable 35-10-2.

Cris Cyborg Santos Vs Erin Toughill

This bout has been anticipated for some time but Coker confirmed it is in the works.  Toughill is as solid an opponent as is currently available to fight Cyborg, and her size and past experience in professional boxing makes her an interesting opponent for the dominant woman’s champion.

Toughill also holds a previous TKO win over Cyborg’s last opponent – Marloes Coenen.

Bobby Lashley Vs Brett Rogers

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, Coker suggested that Lashley could be about to get a serious step up in competition against former No.1 contender in the Strikeforce heavyweight division, Brett Rogers.

Rogers is looking to get back on track after putting on a commendable performance against pound for pound great Fedor Emelianenko in November, and his renowned knockout power, coupled with the solid ground skills he showed in his last fight would put him in a strong position going into this fight.

I think it’s unlikely that Lashley will agree to this bout however.  He has so far been cautious about who he fights, and I think he’ll want more experience under his belt before tackling such a dangerous opponent.  It is however good to see that Strikeforce are seriously considering giving Lashley a genuine test.


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