, Port Arthur, Texas

April 13, 2013

David Estrada column: Fox TV special puts UFC vs. Strikeforce

David Estrada
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The UFC returns to Fox television on April 20 and continues a promotion versus

promotion flavor from a previous event.

At UFC 158 last month, longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre

took on longtime former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz in a battle of bragging

rights for both fighter and promotion. St. Pierre and the UFC walked away

victors of that battle.

The free TV event on Fox will feature three such Strikeforce vs. UFC match ups.

The beauty of this card is that it's being held in San Jose, Calif. — the

birthplace of Strikeforce, and city that cultivated it into a national promotion

until the UFC bought it, then took on its fighters this year.

One of Strikeforce's gems has been their lightweight champion Gilbert "El Niño"

Melendez. He's been regarded as a top three lightweight for years but never had

his mettle tested against UFC competition. The main even of the Fox airing will

feature Melendez against three-time defending UFC champion Ben "Smooth"


Another compelling main card pairing is on the heavyweight side. Former UFC

heavyweight champion Frank Mir will in effect represent the UFC against

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier. Cormier who is from

Lafayette, La. rose through the Strikeforce ranks to reach its pinnacle.

Mir, a longtime UFC staple starting to reach the twilight of his career, is a perfect opponent. UFC opponent.

Lastly, UFC bad boy and one half of the Diaz brothers, Nate Diaz, will be going

head-to-head with Strikeforce slugger Josh "The Punk" Thomson. It'll be an

interesting bout because Thomson has faced Diaz's training partner Gilbert

Melendez three times in Strikeforce. Diaz carriers on his camp's rivalry with


One thing fans should take note of is the audience. This can be seen as the UFC

invading Strikeforce's territory in San Jose. Fans may be strongly rooting for

the Strikeforce heroes they watched fight in their city and helped propel to

national stardom.

David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at