Top ten welterweight Jake Shields was originally set to fight UFC veteran Joe Riggs at Strikeforce’s April 11 Showtime debut, but there has been a change of plans as Strikeforce has decided to pit Shields against hard hitting middleweight Robbie Lawler at the planned Strikeforce event in May. Both men are former Elite XC champions as Shields is the former Elite XC welterweight champ and Lawler is the former Elite XC middleweight champ.
The bout was confirmed at the Strikeforce press conference on Thursday; the fight will headline the May Strikeforce event and fight will be fought at a catch-weight of 182 pounds.
Shields is currently riding high on a 11 fight win streak and the fight with Lawler will be Jake’s first fight since his October submission victory over Paul Daley at “EliteXC: Heat.” The move to the middleweight division for Shields is no surprise as he tried moving up to middleweight last year when he attempted to face Matt Lindland under the Affliction banner but Elite XC squashed those plans.
Top-10 middleweight Robbie Lawler, who has put together a 5 fight win streak, hasn’t fought since last July when he successfully defended his title against Scott Smith. Lawler’s July fight with Smith was a rematch due to their first fight being declared a no-contest.
The last televised slot on Strikeforce’s April 11 Showtime debut will reportedly either go to Joe Riggs or former Elite XC heavyweight Brett Rogers.
The May Strikeforce event will likely be held in Seattle and the event is expected to feature Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Joey Villasenor and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.