Thursday, March 29, 2007

June Strikeforce Card Taking Shape

By Greg Savage

The HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. will play host to the latest installment of Strikeforce on June 22. Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker confirmed to that the much-anticipated Frank Shamrock vs Phil Baroni fight will headline the show, which is slated to air live on Showtime pay-per-view.

Shamrock and Baroni were supposed to fight in April but after the former UFC champion signed to fight Renzo Gracie in February the card was pushed back. That did not sit well with Baroni (10-7-0), who told he was looking to make Shamrock pay for what he termed an "eight-month suspension" (Baroni has not fought since the October PRIDE USA card).

Shamrock (21-8-1), who lost to Gracie by disqualification, will return to the building where he knocked out Cesar Gracie in just 21 seconds one year ago and, until recently, held the attendance record for an MMA show in North America.

Joey Villasenor (23-5-0) takes on fellow PRIDE veteran Murilo Rua (12-7-1) in a middleweight affair. Villasenor was impressive his last time out, earning a dominant unanimous decision over David Loiseau this past February. Rua has struggled of late, dropping four of six contests. He did, however, garner a submission victory over Mark Weir in his last bout.

Paul Buentello (22-9-0) will return to Strikeforce as well, squaring off with former K-1 USA champion Carter Williams (3-1-0 in MMA). Also expected to compete are Charles Bennett, Josh Thomson and local San Jose fan-favorite Cung Le.

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