Rafael Cavalcante (R) will look to exact revenge against Mike Kyle (R) when the two light heavyweights rematch at Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on May 19, 2012. Photo via Fighters.com.
Let's run it back.
Almost three years removed from their first encounter, Rafael Cavalcante and Mike Kyle will collide in a Light Heavyweight rematch at Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on May 19, 2012.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion announced the bout this evening, which will be featured on the televised Showtime main card that will begin at 10 p.m. ET on fight night.
"Feijao" and "MAK" first traded leather at Strikeforce: "Lawler vs. Shields" back in June 2009, with Kyle scoring a devastating upset knockout finish in round two. Up until that point, Cavalcante was among the hottest 205-pound prospects in the sport and was being groomed for a title shot after an impressive run under the Elite XC banner.
Cavalcante would rebound, winning his next three fights, including the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship with a technical knockout over Muhammed Lawal in Aug. 2010. Dan Henderson would ultimately upset his apple cart in his first title defense, but then bolt for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) immediately thereafter.
Revenge is likely on Cavalcante's mind, but it wouldn't be surprising if the winner of this match gets a crack at the now vacant division title.
Kyle went on to win six of his last eight fights since the initial showdown with Cavalcante, including one "No Contest." He hasn't prevailed over anyone significantly notable during that stretch; however, he did win two titles elsewhere: King of the Cage and XMMA.
He took several fights in the Heavyweight division during that stretch, which were against two very talented competitors, Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva. Kyle was finished in both bouts and will no doubt be out to prove that he can hang with tougher competition, as well demonstrate that the win over Cavalcante was not a fluke.
The main event of this Strikeforce show will feature a showdown between Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier, which is the final fight of the promotion's Heavyweight grand prix. In the co-featured fight of the night between Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson, the winner will look to score the defining victory in their 155-pound trilogy.
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