Strikeforce Fights In The Works For May EventsAs Strikeforce prepares for its return to CBS tomorrow night, the promotion is already looking ahead to May. is reporting that a pair of high-profile bouts are in the works for Strikeforce St. Louis: “Heavy Artillery” on May 15th. Japanese superstar Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto could make his Strikeforce debut on the card.

While not yet finalised, Yamamoto is expected to clash with Team Quest prospect Federico “Kiko” Lopez in bantamweight action. Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza and “Smokin'” Joe Villasenor may also meet at 185 pounds.

Yamamoto (17-3-0, 1 NC) is one of the top stars in Japan and reigned undefeated for nearly seven years from 2002 to 2009. He holds big victories over Jeff Curran, Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, Genki Sudo, Rani Yahya and current DREAM Featherweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes. However, Yamamoto has dropped back-to-back fights and also suffered a knockout loss in K-1. With his career on a downturn, Yamamoto may have a chance to turn things around in May.

Lopez (4-2-0) began his career with four straight victories including three first-round knockouts. Like Yamamoto, however, Lopez has also lost two straight fights and was defeated in just 12 seconds in his most recent bout. A victory over the legendary Yamamoto would be huge for Lopez, but it is not currently known whether the planned bantamweight bout will air on the Showtime telecast or not.

Souza (11-2-0, 1 NC) is widely regarded as one of the top jiu-jitsu practitioners in MMA and he advanced to the finals of the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix with wins over Ian Murphy, Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Zelg Galesić. Souza was knocked out in the tournament final by future DREAM and Strikeforce champ Gegard Mousasi and later battled Miller to a No Contest in a rematch for Mousasi’s vacated title. He was victorious in his Strikeforce debut in December when he submitted veteran wrestling standout Matt “The Law” Lindland.

Villasenor (27-6-0) won 15 straight fights from late 2002 to mid-2006 and became a star for King of the Cage before moving on to PRIDE and EliteXC. He challenged Murilo “Ninja” Rua for the EliteXC Middleweight Championship on June 22, 2007, but suffered a second-round knockout loss. Villasenor rebounded with three straight wins in EliteXC before the promotion folded and won his Strikeforce debut in a hotly-contested Split Decision over Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos last June. He has not fought since then. The bout with Souza is not confirmed, but is planned for the May 15th card.

Strikeforce St. Louis: “Heavy Artillery” takes place on May 15th at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The event will be headlined by a Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship bout between Alistair “Demolition Man” Overeem and Brett “The Grim” Rogers. Other fights pitting Antwain Britt against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro against either Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm or “The Endless Fighter” Mitsuhiro Ishida are also planned for the event but not yet signed.


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