A pair of previously reported fights have now been made official for the “Strikeforce: Champions” event in January, as former light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi (32-3-2 MMA, 3-1-1 SF) meets Mike Kyle (19-8-1 MMA, 3-3-1 SF) and Ryan Couture (5-1 MMA, 5-1 SF) takes on K.J. Noons (11-5 MMA, 3-3 SF).
Mousasi and Kyle had been slated to do battle on three prior occasions, but none of those proposed fights came to fruition as a result of injuries.
Kyle fights for the first time since suffering a 33-second loss to Rafael Cavalcante in May. However, “Feijao” failed his post-fight drug test and the fight result was overturned to a no-contest. Prior to that bout, Kyle had gone 5-1 in his past six fights, with his lone loss coming against heavyweight contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Meanwhile, Mousasi fights for the first time in over a year due to an ACL injury. Most recently, the former Strikeforce champion earned a decision victory over Ovince St. Preux. Since losing his Strikeforce belt to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in 2010, Gegard has gone 4-0-1 in his past 5 bouts.
Ryan Couture, the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, most recently fought at the “Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy” event, where he earned a decision win over Joe Duarte. Ryan is now 5-1 under the Strikeforce banner and hoping to move into title contention with a victory over Noons.
Noons looks to get back in the win column following a decision loss to former lightweight champ Josh Thomson at the “Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey” event. Prior to the Thomson loss, Noons had earned an impressive decision victory over Billy Evangelista. The former EliteXC champ, Noons, has gone 1-2 since having his 6-fight win streak snapped by Nick Diaz in October of 2010.
“Strikeforce: Champions” takes place January 12 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The main card fights will be live on Showtime, following the prelims which are set to air on Showtime Extreme.
The latest “Strikeforce: Champions” card includes:
- Champ Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine – (Welterweight title fight)
- Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
- Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons
- Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal