BloodyElbow.com has learned that the Hard Rock Hotel venue in Las Vegas is being targeted for a Strikeforce show on January 7th of 2012. A representative from the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed the promotion's request.
The event, which will be aired on the Showtime network, is likely to stage the first title defense for Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. When the promotion urged him to start training for his next bout, Rockhold recently speculated that Tim Kennedy would be his opponent at an event being aligned for January. This report seems to reinforce Rockhold's claim.
The future of Strikeforce has been in question since the promotion was acquired by Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in March of 2011. "Business as usual" was the initial driver for Strikeforce's operation until select stars were poached from the roster, such as Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson and Jason "Mayhem" Miller.
With the pre-Zuffa contract between Strikeforce and Showtime nearing expiration and a handful of their premiere fighters being plucked away, expectations for a prosperous future dwindled. However, late last month, Dana White stated that negotiations for a contract extension between Strikeforce and Showtime went "very well", perhaps facilitated by Showtime Sport's new helmsman, Stephen Espinoza.
Scheduling another event to be aired on Showtime is a positive indicator and could signal a new beginning for the Strikeforce promotion.