So Strikeforce is moving to Pay-Per-View, it seems.
(listens into headseat)....what's that? Oh, I'm sorry...
UFC PRESENTS SHOWTIME MMA FEATURE!
Now that we have that out of the way, what should Strikeforce's first-PPV look like? Obviously Zuffa is gonna want to pull out all the stops, but as of right now, July's Showtime card is scheduled to go on as follows, so we can take those fighters out. Oh, and women. As much as this is "Strikeforce's PPV", Zuffa will control it. That means, in essence, no broads.
So what's the best card Zuffa can put together with what they have? *cracks knuckles* lemme take a whack at it. Feel free to do the same.
-This has to happen. It's hot on everyone's lips, and between the early stoppage (or at least the debate surrounding it), the battle that proceeded it, Diaz's rapidly expanding drawing power and mass appeal, and not having any real credible challengers on the horizon, this fight has to happen. Coker says that Woodley is next, but when it comes to PPV, Coker doesn't really call the shots anymore. I'm a huge T-Wood fan, but he could use another fight against a bigger, better opponent before he's ready for Diaz. Diaz-Daley II will be fireworks and would draw huge, especially in California.
-The biggest fight for both men right now. Making this at 215 makes sense. Hendo doesn't risk his belt and thus avoiding the nightmarish Zuffa/Showtime/Strikeforce/M-1 awfulness of getting Fedor to fight. If Dan loses, meh, it was at heavyweight, and he's still the top-dog at 205 and Fedor gets back in the W column. If Dan wins, it establishes him as a beast and gives Zuffa and easy out with Fedor. Win-Win.
-If Zuffa wants to put their stamp on this and put Melendez up there with Edgar and Maynard, they need to feature him on PPV. The problem is who he should face. Let him smash Aoki again? Feed him a Pat Healy or Justin Wilcox? Nah, those don't do anything for anyone. Josh Thomson is the answer. For years, Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez WERE the lightweight division in Strikeforce. With all the time they'll spend promoting Diaz-Daley and Fedor-Henderson, Melendez-Thomson has a nice story built right in. Two homegrown 155-lbers carrying the division for years finally get their rubber match on the biggest stage of their lives. Boom, simple and effective.
-By pulling Mo from the Dallas card, Zuffa wants to showcase him on PPV. If it's against Gracie, it's a win-win. If Mo wins (assuming he has his crown and ladies with him), this flamboyant, charismatic, outspoken young LHW gets into the MMA scene and has already started talking shit at Jones. If Gracie wins, you have maybe the last remaning relevent Gracie plowing his way through the ranks. The mere name "Gracie" will always elicit a response.
-An easy #1 contender fight for the MW title. They're 1-1 against each other. Kennedy took Jacare to the absolute limit, and Mayhem is 0-1 and a NC by a soccer kick. Plus, with Mayhem's charisma and Kennedy's backstory, let alone the rubber match business, and it makes perfect sense.
-I know, styleistically this is a goddammned nightmare. One guy wants nothing more than to keep it standing, one guy wants nothing more than to go to the ground. Regardless, as much as Strikeforce loves making fun fights, sometimes, you gotta see who's a real contender. This fight very well might up being Ali vs. Inoki, but the fact remains that if you want a contender for the Lightweight title. this is a marquee matchup that isn't a rematch or gift.
-According to Scott Coker, Tyron Woodley is the next in line for Nick Diaz. Now, I'm a gigantic T-Wood fan...he's not ready. He's been shaky at best his last two fights, and could have easily lost them against Nathan Coy and Tarec Saffiedine. I think Woodley needs to fight a striker and Santos needs to fight a wrestler to stay in the picture. If Woodley wins, he's ready for a shot at either Diaz/Daley. If Santos wins, he would have defeated a menace on the ground and might get a match against Diaz/Daley.
-Again, win-win. Either a veteran gets back on his feet or the former champ gets back in the mix.
-The fight that should have happened gets another chance.
Lightweight: Justin Wilcox (11-3) vs. Pat Healy (26-17)
-Would be a great Challengers headliner, but both of them have earned more. Wilcox has run roughshod over the Strikeforce LW division lately and Healy took Beerbohm's first L. Great matchup and maybe a #1 contender fight.
-We've been waiting FOREVER on a Luke Rockhold fight. Once he's healthy, a fight against Scott Smith seems perfect for him. Smith is always game and a great gatekeeper.
Lightweight: Gesias Cavalvante (15-4) vs. Jorge Gurgel (14-7)
-The SF lightweight division is muddy, this is the kind of fight that will seperate the contenders from the also-rans.
-A wily veteran takes on a young up-and-comer. Another win-win for Strikeforce as Prangley can fight at 185 or 205 and OSP is a very hot prospect.
-A good fight to see where both of these prospects are. Masvidal seems finally ready to make the jump, and Beerbohm finally has enough experience with high-class fighters to show whether or not he's up to the challenge. Winner gets himself in the mix for the SF Lightweight Title.
-Larkin kicked the shit out of a K-1 fighter you say? Well here's another rascal that just happens to know a thing or two about kickboxing.