In a booking that will surely spur flashbacks of Mauro Ranallo shrieking into a microphone, two of Strikeforce’s top middleweight talents will be making their Octagon debuts against each other at the UFC’s next Brazilian event. As first reported by MMAJunkie, Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie are slated to face off on the UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold card, which goes down May 18th at the Arena Jaraguá in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil. [Update: GracieMag says the fight will instead take place at an event on July 6th.]
Kennedy compiled a 4-2 record in Strikeforce, with both of his losses coming in five-round title fights against Ronaldo Souza and Luke Rockhold. He most recently choked out Trevor Smith at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine in January, and has been trying to stir up interest in a fight against Gracie since last July.
Gracie, who began his MMA career at heavyweight before dropping to light-heavyweight when he entered Strikeforce in 2010, has gone 2-0 during his current stint as a middleweight, scoring wins over Keith Jardine and Anthony Smith. For Roger, the fight with Kennedy is an opportunity to not only secure his place on the UFC roster, but to snap a UFC losing streak for the legendary Gracie clan. During the Zuffa era, the Gracies have gone 0-3 in the Octagon, with Royce Gracie and Renzo Gracie getting beat up by Matt Hughes, and Rolles Gracie Jr. shitting the bed against Joey Beltran.
In other UFC on FX 8 booking news…
Like it or not, it looks like they’re just gonna keep throwing CB Dollaway against dudes who competed on TUF Brazil. Fresh off his split-decision victory over Daniel Sarafian at UFC on FX 7, Dollaway will make his next appearance against the guy who actually won that season’s middleweight bracket, Cezar Ferreira. “Mutante” hasn’t competed since he won the show with a unanimous decision over Sergio Moraes — Sarafian’s injury replacement — which brought Ferreira’s pro record to 5-2.
On paper, Dollaway should be a solid favorite once again. And it begs the question: Is this the plan now? Will all new Brazilian middleweight prospects be forced to spend three rounds defending takedowns against Dollaway before they’re allowed into the UFC? Or do the Brazilian fans just need another American villain to photoshop into humiliating posters?