An April 17th counter of Strikeforce’s CBS card sounds like a good plan, but I don’t think it logistically will work out. Here is the curretn UFC roster and their upcoming fights or status…HERE
So…who could we see on this card and who could headline it? Kimbo seems to be out. James Toney is a no go for April 17 it appears. Randy Couture is still possible. Wanderlei vs. Akiyama is not ruled out, but appears less likely for April and more likely for July. Here are the options.
Cain Velasquez – Cain is technically available, but using him here would be a bad idea in the long term as he is the reserve for the Lesnar fight this summer. Plus, there is not worthy heavyweight bout possible with all the other guys tied up. Cain is too valuable to use here.
Nate Marquardt – He is available and coming off of a loss to Sonnen. I am not sure who he could fight. The UFC could do some re-shuffling. C.B. Dolloway is available, but that is about the best middleweight not signed to a fight right now. I would not totally rule out Marquardt for this event, but I doubt it. Also, don’t totally rule out Sonnen, he is healing well from his cut and could be ready to go, but I think he waits on a title shot.
Ryan Bader – This is a real possibility for the card. Bader is a solid contender and as far as I know he is healthy. I don’t know if the UFC could find a quality opponent for him, but Bader’s name on the card would help.
Matt Serra – Serra was rumored to be the co-main event on the card against Mike Swick, which was a good fight. However, Swick has an elbow injury which requires surgery so that won’t happen. Serra may still be on this card, but not sure who he could face. My guess was Paulo Thiago, but he is now rumored to fight Kampmann at UFC 115 in June. I would expect Serra on this card one way or another if it comes to fruition.
Gray Maynard – He is available too, but against who? I like Maynard vs. Sotiropolous myself. That’d be a great title eliminator fight. May not be an exciting fight, but it would have two contenders.
Joe Stevenson – Coming off a loss at UFC 110. I don’t expect this as an opponent may be hard to find, but Stevenson could appear here. Maybe the UFC could fix a deal with Huerta by then and that could happen.
I like the idea of a card like this being a great time to give prospects not currently in UFC a shot. This is what they did with the Silva vs. Irvin card. However, they also used that card to integrate former IFL fighters into the fold after the collapse of the IFL. The UFc has no such luxury for April 17th.
I know the UFC wants to counter the Strikeforce card and it may really hurt Strikeforce, but unless there is some re-shuffling it may be unlikely.