Jake Shields vs. Joe Riggs set for April 11 Strikeforce event
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:39 am ET
EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (22-4-1) will be heading to Strikeforce to meet veteran fighter Joe Riggs (29-10) at the April 11 "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz" event, which marks the organization's debut on Showtime.
A representative for Riggs told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) the bout was finalized earlier this week.
The event takes place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., and features a main event between Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz.
Shields, a 30-year-old who won the EliteXC strap this past summer, will leave the belt with the remnants of ProElite, Inc. Strikeforce struck a deal with the company earlier this month to take most of its top fighters and its Showtime deal. (A new CBS deal could also be in store for Strikeforce.)
Shields now enters Strikeforce, which doesn't have a welterweight champion, as a top contender. With an 11-fight win streak (including stoppage victories in his past seven wins), Shields has become one of the 170-pound division's top-ranked competitors worldwide.
He'll put his impressive streak on the line against Riggs, who's 4-2 since leaving the UFC after a December 2006 loss to Diego Sanchez. Riggs most recently fought at "Strikeforce: Destruction" in November 2008, when he defeated Luke Stewart via second-round TKO.
In addition to Shamrock vs. Diaz and Shields vs. Riggs, the April 11 Strikeforce event features Benji Radach vs. Scott Smith.
During a recent media call, Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker also said Gilbert Melendez and Strikeforce world lightweight champion Josh Thomson would likely be on the card. Although Coker mentioned recent signee Jorge Gurgel could be an opponent for Thomson, a representative from the Brazilian's camp recently told MMAjunkie.com that an elbow injury will keep him off the card. Gurgel hopes to instead return at a Strikeforce event tentatively scheduled for May in Seattle.