Joe "Diesel" Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight division on November 21 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., when he takes on fast rising jiu-jitsu stud Luke Stewart (6-1) during the next Strikeforce event.
Riggs was set to fill in at the last minute for an injured Shonie Carter and face Stewart at Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Thomson" in June, but was denied clearance from the California State Athletic Commission after revealing he used prescription medication three days earlier.
The promotion tried, but failed to find a replacement for Stewart in time and he was pulled from the card altogether.
Both fighters went on to compete at the next event for Strikeforce on September 20 at the Playboy Mansion. Riggs lost by technical knockout in the second round of the main event to Kazuo Misaki and Stewart defeated Jesse Juarez with an armbar late in the first round.
Luke -- a jiu jitsu black belt under Ralph Gracie -- has finished each of his six victories before the final bell, including hard fought wins against the Cage Combat middleweight champ Jeremiah Metcalf and "The Ultimate Fighter" season 2 alum Jason Von Flue.
The only fight for Stewart to go the distance was a unanimous decision loss to Tiki Ghosn in March.
For "Diesel" this will be his fourth fight for Strikeforce and his sixth since leaving the UFC following a knockout loss to Diego Sanchez in December of 2006.
Riggs has had back injury issues in the past. In fact, he was forced to submit just over a minute into a match against Cory Devela in February because of the pain from the injury. Apparently he returned to full health after undergoing a procedure to fix a disc that was out-of-place and he's been able to compete twice since the procedure without any problems.
This should be a very exciting fight -- both are well versed grapplers. And even though Riggs holds the edge in power and experience, Luke Stewart should not be taken lightly in this match up regardless of where the action goes.
He can hold his own on his feet as well.
Strikeforce has been quietly putting together quality shows for a few months now and so far what the promotion has for November 21 is right on par.