Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson will take on team Lion's Den member Ashe "The Machine" Bowman (6-4) in a three-round, non-title match at "Strikeforce at the Mansion II" at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., on September 20.
Strikeforce Vice President Mike Afromowitz confirmed the news today to MMAmania.com, which was first reported by Ariel Helwani.
Bowman has won six of his past seven contests after beginning his career with three straight losses. He's competed five times under the Ken Shamrock Productions banner, winning each time.
Take that for what it's worth.
He certainly comes as a surprise opponent for the champ -- most fans were probably expecting someone with a little more notoriety. But that doesn't mean Bowman isn't capable of pulling off the shocker ... anything can in mixed martial arts, right?
This will be The Punk's first fight since winning a unanimous decision in June over then highly-regarded champion Gilbert Melendez. Thomson was a significant underdog in that fight. And after pulling off the upset he earned himself a place amongst the big dogs in terms of the top fighters in the world.
Therefore, it would be an upset of epic proportions if Thomson loses this fight. Bowman just isn't on his level when it comes to talent or experience. This is most likely a showcase fight for the champ -- perhaps to keep him busy and at the same time rest his still-healing shoulder.
In short, don't be surprised if he takes this one in impressive fashion.
Some were expecting this fight to take main event status after Thomson's opponent was announced, but given the caliber of opponent and it being a non-title fight, it's possible that one of the other matches will take center stage.
The light heavyweight championship fight between champion,Bobby Southworth and challenger Renato "Babalu" Sobral is the likely choice.
We'll keep you posted as more news is announced for "Strikeforce at the Mansion II." In the meantime check out the latest fight card and rumors right here.