After the smoke clears from “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) and Tarec Saffiedine’s (10-2) card-opening bout and “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) square off, Strikeforce will deliver a trio of bouts that have captured the attention of MMA fans worldwide. First, 185ers “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1) and Tim Kennedy (14-3) will face each other in a slugger’s duel to climb one step higher on the middleweight ladder. Then, in the co-main event, incumbent champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will pit her Golden Glory kickboxing and renowned submission skills against “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Finally, in the evening’s featured attraction, current Strikeforce and former PRIDE 205lbs. champion “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will face one of the most respected and controversial figures in MMA history, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3). After suffering back-to-back one-sided losses, Fedor Emelianenko flirted with retirement and faces falling out of the top ten for the first time in his career should he fail against “Hendo”. Henderson himself is riding a pair of KO wins and is looking at a triumphant and profitable return to the UFC with a win over the Russian Sambo master under his belt.
Before “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) steps into the cage to face the dangerous for all the same reasons “Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8), Strikeforce will treat the Windy City to a dose of mixed martial arts action featuring “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8), Tarec Saffiedine (10-2), “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7-1), Tim Kennedy (14-3), “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2), and “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0). Joining this stellar cast of warriors are the ladies who make up the co-main event, Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) and her challenger “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2). Coenen failed in her run at 145lbs. but dropped to the welterweight division and submitted two previously undefeated fighters in former champion Sarah Kaufman (14-1) and “Girl-Rilla” Liz Carmouche (3-1). Tate, for her part, won her way into title contention by returning to the Challengers Series with a three-fight win streak that saw her defeat two top opponents in one night. The match means the world to WMMA, as the womens’ place on the primary Zuffa roster rests squarely on the sustainability of the women’s welterweight division. After the performance Kaufman put on last Friday, these ladies will have to bring their A-game to prove that there is more than one 135er with the skills to interest the MMA world at large and, more importantly, the Zuffa brass that decides whether the ladies stay on the Strikeforce main card or find themselves sent back to a niche market appeal on the Challengers Series.