On Saturday, December 19, 2009, Strikeforce returns to its hometown of San Jose to host Strikeforce - Evolution. The event will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, which is home to the San Jose Sharks of the NHL. This will be the final event of the year for Strikeforce, which will conclude the busiest and most successful year in the organization's history. Strikeforce - Evolution will be televised on Showtime at 10 p.m. EST/PST.
In 2009, Strikeforce quickly emerged as a premier MMA organization. The cause of Strikeforce's rise to national attention came shortly after it acquired the Showtime deal and top fighter contracts from the now defunct EliteXC organization, which added the likes of MMA superstars Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, Gina Carano, and Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos to their stable of fighters. Strikeforce then scored its biggest coup over the summer, when they were able to sign Fedor Emelianenko, who is arguably the greatest heavyweight in MMA history.
Things only got sweeter for Strikeforce when CBS aired Fedor's first fight with Strikeforce last month in a bout where he dismantled the previously undefeated Brett Rogers. Now they will look to cap the year with the return of their former middleweight champion Cung Le, who has finished all 6 of his MMA opponents via KO/TKO since crossing over from a remarkable undefeated 10-year kickboxing career. He will face TUF 4 alumni Scott Smith, who is known for his heavy-hands and fearless approach to fighting. The co-headliner of this event will feature rematch between two northern California wrestling-based champions, as Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson takes on Strikeforce interim lightweight champion Gilbert "El Niño" Melendez. This lightweight title unification bout is a rematch from their June 2008 title bout, which Thomson won via unanimous decision.
The main card will also include a middleweight bout between two of the most successful grapplers in MMA that have transitioned from the world of jiu-jitsu and the world of wrestling. This will be a clash between world champion jiu-jitsu black belt Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling Matt "The Law" Lindland. These two have actually faced each other in competition before during a submission grappling match at the 2003 ADCC in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They competed against each other in the -87.9 kg division with Jacare winning the match via armbar.
The final bout that will be televised on the Showtime broadcast will be a heavyweight bout featuring Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, who is one of MMA's most promising and rapidly rising young superstars. King Mo is a former three-time U.S. Senior National Wrestling Champion, a Division II national champion in wrestling at Central Oklahoma, and a Division I All-American in wrestling at Oklahoma State. He will put his undefeated (5-0) record on the line when he takes on TUF 2 standout Mike Whitehead, who also comes from a collegiate wrestler background. Whitehead earned All-American honors three times, while wrestling in college at North Idaho Junior College, Southern Oregon, and Missouri.
-Cung Le vs. Scott Smith (Middleweight Bout)
-Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Melendez (Lightweight Title Bout)
-Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Matt Lindland (Middleweight Bout)
-Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs. Mike Whitehead (Heavyweight Bout)
-Scott Lighty vs. Antwain Britt (Light-Heavyweight Bout)
-Daisuke Nakamura vs. Justin Wilcox (Lightweight Bout)
-Alexander Crispim vs. A.J. Fonseca (Featherweight Bout)