Perhaps one of the most anticipated bouts of the year thus far -- a middleweight battle between former Elite XC champions "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (16-4) and Jake Shields (22-4-1) -- was recently announced to headline a Strikeforce event on Showtime in May in the Seattle, Wash., area.
However, Lawler's long time friend and training partner, Matt Hughes, revealed different plans for the Shields match-up via his blog at Matt-Hughes.com.
Here's a snip:
"Just found out a few days ago that Robbie Lawler will fight Jake Shields on the Strikeforce card on June 6th, in St. Louis. It’s great to have Robbie fight that close to home. We were worried that he would fight in the month of May close to my fight, so it actually turns out to be a pretty good schedule. As always, Robbie’s a performer and puts on fights that people want to see."
Both Lawler and Hughes train at Hughes' H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Ill., which is right around the corner from St. Louis. Hughes -- a "nine-time" UFC welterweight world champion -- will face rival and fellow coach from "The Ultimate Fighter" 6, Matt Serra, in a featured fight on the UFC 98 card in Las Vegas on May 23.
Pushing Lawler's bout with Shields back a month, as well as bringing it closer to home, should allow the H.I.T. Squad gym a better opportunity to prepare both fighters for what they need to do in their respective upcoming bouts.
For both men, by the time fight night rolls around, they will have each been sidelined for nearly a full year. Hughes was last seen getting demolished by current UFC 170-pound number one contender Thiago Alves at UFC 85 in June ... amazingly, his third loss in four fights. While Lawler came away with a second round stoppage victory over Scott Smith in his most recent action at Elite XC: "Unfinished Business" last July.
For more on the Lawler-Shields showdown on June 6 click here.