Strikeforce set for Windy City debut

By JeffGraveline

When the opening bell sounds for the first fight at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers at the Sears Center Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, Ill., mixed martial arts fans and fighters around the country will be watching.

The event will showcase the first fight in a cage for Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko, arguably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world, and the undefeated Brett Rogers. The Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers card will be broadcast live on CBS Nov. 7.

“I think MMA on mainstream TV is big for the sport and for Strikeforce,” said Loretta Hunt, news editor at “It secures the No. 2 spot as a promotion for Strikeforce. It gives them unparalleled exposure and is a great move forward.”

While the Fedor vs. Rogers fight will headline the event, promoted by Strikeforce, there are several other bouts on the card. MTV “Bully Beatdown” host Jason “Mayhem” Miller will take on Jake Shields for the Strikeforce middleweight title.

Also, Gegard Mousasi faces off against Rameau Thierry Sokodjou and Fabricio Werdum matches up with Antonio Silva to fill out the main card.

“This card is really strong. It’s one of their [Strikeforce] biggest cards they’ve ever put out,” said writer Ray Hui.

Both Hui and Hunt said that the main card has something for fans to be excited about. On, MMA fans voted the card the most anticipated MMA event in November.

“People were really happy to see the matchup [Fedor vs. Rogers] come to fruition,” said Mike Afromowitz, director of communications for Strikeforce. “I think it’s really a great matchup on paper between the world’s No. 1 fighter and a “Rocky” story. Brett’s an amazing story, very inspiring, to come from such humble beginnings and see him get to such an amazing level.”

The middleweight title fight between Miller and Shields is the only title matchup on the card for Strikeforce and presents fans a matchup of exciting fighters, although they may not be the top contenders,

according to Hunt.

Miller, 22 wins and 6 loses overall, is coming off a no contest decision in his last fight, while Shields, 23 wins, 4 loses and 1 draw, enters the match after defeating Robbie Lawler in his last fight.

“The championship between ‘Mayham’ and Shields is not a top contenders fight, but it’s going to be entertaining for fans,” Hunt said.

Another fight both Hunt and Hui said fans should look forward to the Mousasi vs. Sokodjou matchup. Mousasi, 26 – 2 in his career, is riding a 13-fight winning streak into the matchup, while Sokodjou is on a two-fight roll entering the fight.

“I’m not sure this is a fight fans have been dying to see, but they were supposed to meet in Japan in the Super Hope Tournament,” Hui said. “While it’s not necessarily something fans are dying to see, it’s an intriguing matchup.”

The main fight of the night will be the Fedor vs. Rogers heavyweight match. Rogers enters the cage with an undefeated record of 10 – 0, while Fedor has only one loss, a no contest due to cut, in his 31 fights.

Fedor is the favorite in the fight according to Hui and Hunt, who expect Rogers to only have a “punchers chance” in the fight.

Hunt echoed Hui’s sentiments, stating that she has picked Fedor to win the fight, but expects Rogers to push the action early in the bout to try and gain an advantage.

“I expect Rogers to be aggressive. I think his best chance will be in the first few minutes,” Hunt said. “Fedor likes to capitalize on mistakes, which is what I think he’s going to do.”

Weigh-ins for the event are free and open to the public on Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. at the Sears Centre Arena. Strikeforce will have personalized, collector’s edition cards for the fighters to autograph after the weigh-in for fans.