On Tuesday, Strikeforce held a joint conference call with Showtime to confirm that they will be kicking off their 2009 MMA year on April 11th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. It will mark the first of 16 events that the two will promote over the next three years under their new agreement.
Headlining the event will be former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock taking on crafty Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wizard Nick Diaz.
Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker also confirmed that Benji Radach will be taking on Scott Smith at the event, and the organization is currently in search of opponents for Gilbert Melendez and Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson.
This will mark Shamrock’s first bout since losing his Strikeforce middleweight title to Cung Le last March. Shamrock sustained a broken arm while checking one of Le’s deadly high kicks and was forced to concede the fight as he was unable to make the call to start the 4thRound.
Shamrock was medically cleared to resume fighting last fall, however he feels that now is the perfect time to come back, with Diaz being the perfect opponent.
“I do know him personally, and it’s rare that I know fighters on a social level,” Shamrock stated on the call. “Nick Diaz is very similar to me and came from a broken home. … We have some ties that tie us together.
“I know for a fact he said some words when I knocked out his coach Cesar (Gracie in March 2006). And he said some words afterward that got him into this fight. We’re going to fight. I don’t care about Nick. He’s a nice guy, and I’m going to knock him out, and then I’ll go on to the next one.”