Strikeforce announced today the much-anticipated superfight pitting former Elite XC welterweight champion Jake Shields (22-4-1) against former Elite XC middleweight kingpin Robbie Lawler (16-4) at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 6.
Their main event fight, airing live on Showtime at 10pm ET, will be contested at a catchweight of 182 pounds.
Both competitors have been out of action since their former employer ProElite went out of business last November. Shields defeated talented British striker Paul "Semtex" Daley on the final event for the promotion, which aired live on CBS from Sunrise, Fla., last October.
The victory was the first title defense for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He captured the vacant title with a first round submission win over the normally very difficult to beat Nick "The Goat" Thompson a little more than two months earlier on the July 26 EliteXC: "Unfinished Business" card, which aired live on CBS as well.
For Lawler, it’s been a little longer since he last saw action, finishing off Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith in the second round of their rematch on the "Unfinished Business" card in July 2008. The two engaged in one of the best fights in the short history of the organization in their first encounter in May, but the fight was ruled a no contest because of an inadvertent eye poke, which led to the rematch.
The win over Smith was the fifth in a row for "Ruthless" -- sans the dreaded no contest -- and he wasn’t fighting any bums either. That list included Frank Trigg, Joey Villasenor and Murilo "Ninja" Rua. Not to mention earlier career victories over Niko Vitale (twice), Chris Lytle and others.
This is a great match-up for Strikeforce’s second event in the post EliteXC buyout/Showtime deal era.
Shields has expressed interest in the past about fighting in the 185-pound division. He’s always been a big welterweight and shouldn’t have a problem moving up to face Lawler — a former welterweight himself.
Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato "Babalu" Sobral and ex-EliteXC 205-pound champ Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante have also been confirmed for a throwdown at this event. Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this developing fight card.
Tickets for Strikeforce: "Lawler vs. Shields", priced from $30, go on sale on Monday, April 13, at 10 a.m. CT, at the Scottrade Center box office as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).