As rumors continue to circulate about the delay of the second leg of the Strikeforce heavyweight world grand prix tournament, it looks as if Strikeforce is at least lining up additional participants for the April 9 event in case the final quarterfinal bouts are pushed back.
MMAjunkie reports that Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has been told to prepare for a title defense on that date, according to his manager Cesar Gracie.
“We don’t have anybody that’s set,” Gracie stated but a report from Sherdog earlier this week identified Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley as possible opponents for Diaz.
The initial report also stated that sources reported the April 9 event was now scheduled for “California, and that the two remaining quarterfinal bouts will most likely be pushed off the card”.
The event was initially expected to feature quarterfinal bouts pitting Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers.
Barnett would be unable to compete in California due to his recent licensing issues.
While a representative from Strikeforce was unable to be contacted, a Showtime official “deflected questions” about the possible delay of the tournament according to MMAjunkie.
Diaz was reportedly looking to compete in a professional boxing bout in the upcoming months before returning to Strikeforce.
A title defense against Daley would be dependent upon “Semtex” successfully defeating Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5 this Saturday night. Daley would likely also need to come out of the bout largely unscathed in order to make the 6-week turnaround against Diaz.
The report also stated that a bout pitting Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri is also possible for the April 9 event now.