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Kazuo Misaki signs Strikeforce fight contract

Kazuo MisakiKazuo "Grabaka Hitman" Misaki (19-8-2) has reached a two-fight deal with Strikeforce.

Mike Afromowitz -- Strikeforce Vice President -- confirmed the signing on Saturday and said Misaki's promotional debut would likely take place sometime this summer.

Misaki has eight career fights under the Pride FC banner. He's battle tested against the likes of Dan Henderson (win), Denis Kang (win), Nate Marquardt (loss), Ed Herman (win), Phil Baroni (win), Jake Shields (draw), Paulo Filho (loss), Frank Trigg (loss), Ricardo Almeida (loss) and others.

He signs on with Strikeforce and joins a division that has a headlining title fight in two weeks between Frank Shamrock and Cung Le. Misaki is a legitimate threat to whoever wins that title in San Jose, and he'll be looking for a title shot sooner rather than later.

With his credentials he shouldn't have to wait long.

After a war last night between Phil Baroni and Kala Kolohe Hose, and the big fight coming up in two weeks, and now this signing, Strikeforce and ProElite combined have some very solid middleweight talent. And that's a bit strange since the 185-pound class has always been sort of a weak division in the UFC (excluding the champ of course).

Maybe it all makes sense.

If I were a free agent middleweight fighter looking for a place to fight, I'd have to consider other organizations besides the UFC. I mean with Anderson Silva dominating the way he is, it sure seems like it would be a lot easier for some of those guys to try and win a title elsewhere like Strikeforce or EliteXC.

We've already seen Scott Smith move over. And with 32 middlweight fighters on the upcoming season of TUF, the UFC is going to put a lot into marketing some of those guys. That could leave some of the vets looking to get their piece of the spotlight elsewhere.

Perhaps even a network television spotlight.

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