Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Strikeforce Signing Bonanza: Manhoef, Noons, Prangley and Canadian TV Deal

The phones must have been ringing off the hook these last couple of days at the Strikeforce offices, as the San Jose-based Mixed Martial Arts promotion announced a slew of signings and a television deal that will see the December 19th Evolution card broadcast in Canada.

Melvin Manhoef, K.J. Noons and Trevor Prangley have all been added to the Strikeforce stable, and we'll cover each momentarily.

But the biggest news of the day is the deal with Canada's only national pay television network, SuperChannel. Yes, that's how we spell it.

Beginning with the December 19 card, SuperChannel will show all Strikeforce cards that are featured on Showtime in the United States. This means that instead of having to read the results on websites or stream the show to your computer, Canadian fight fans will be able to watch the event live, provided SuperChannel is part of their cable package.

I know one thing I'll definitely be asking for for Christmas now...

Somewhat overshadowed by the television deal were the acquisitions of the three aforementioned veterans, all of whom carry impressive resumes and an array of skills into the Strikeforce cage.

Though Melvin Manhoef might be unknown to new or casual MMA fans, hardcore fans know that the Dutchmen is the definition of the world striker; a fierce fighter with an attacking style straight out of K-1.

In addition to having competed in a number of K-1 kickboxing events, "No Mercy" has also knocked out Mark Hunt, the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba and the male "Cyborg" Santos, while coming out on the losing end against the likes of Paulo Filho, Gegard Mousasi and Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Those who watched EliteXC on CBS for more than just Kimbo or Carano might recall K.J. Noons, the first and only lightweight champion in the company's brief history.

The 7-2 Noons won the belt by defeating Nick Diaz before he and his father got into a bit of an in-ring scrum with both members of The Fighting Diaz Brothers back in June 2008. For months, a rematch between Noons and the elder Diaz was rumored and offered, but instead of re-upping with Nick, Noons returned to boxing.

Now, "King Karl" returns to the cage and the talk of a rematch with Diaz will undoubtedly surface again, though there are two very good reasons why it won't likely happen:

Diaz is fighting at welterweight and middleweight these days, so making the cut to 155 or finding an amicable catch weight is probably out
Diaz would rather smoke weed than fight, no matter who the opponent

Getting the least attention of the trio of signing is Trevor Prangley, a UFC veteran who was recently stripped of the MFC Light Heavyweight title.

For what it's worth, Prangley replaced the Canadian company's gold with the Shark Fights version of the same belt this past weekend, stopping Marcus Sursa via rear naked choke.

Though the South African veteran and American Kickboxing Academy member is getting the least amount of press, he could be the first to take to the cage, as rumor has him stepping in for Benji Radach against "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler in two week's time.

All in all, a very exciting and interesting day for the steadily-improving Strikeforce organization.

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