Strikeforce, the hottest promotion in mixed martial arts, returns Saturday night with a blockbuster MMA show on Showtime.
Herschel Walker, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL great, makes his mixed martial arts debut, taking on relatively unknown Greg Nagy.
Walker, 47, has brought intense media interest to Strikeforce, the San Jose California-based MMA company, led by CEO Scott Coker.
Can the phenomenal athlete make a successful transition from football to professional combat? Saturday night will be his first test.
Walker in media interviews has talked a lot about his diet and workout regimen. Unlike most athletes, Walker has avoided traditional weight training techniques in favor of thousands of push-ups and sit-ups throughout the day. He only eats one meal a day.
Those who have watched Walker train say he is in tremendous shape. His trainer at San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez, says Walker is ready for the cage and expects him to impress in his debut.
Also on the card is Bobby Lashley, a national amateur wrestling champion, who doubles as a professional wrestler in TNA. Lashley, who once headlined Wrestlemania against Umaga in the WWE, is undefeated in four mixed martial arts battles.
Lashley has said that he would eventually like to challenge Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko, who is widely regarded as the best heavyweight mixed martial artist in the world.
In other action, the woman who dethroned Gina Carano as the sport’s top female star, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos returns to the cage against Marloes Coenen, in what, with Cyborg’s power, is expected to be fast and furious.
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler also returns to the cage to battle Melvin Manhoff. In the card’s main event, Nick Diaz, coming off impressive wins over the legendary Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith (who upset Cung Le last December), will battle Marius Zaromskis, for the Strikeforce welterweight championship.
Strikeforce has emerged as a top MMA company. Taking a conservative business approach, the company has steadily risen to influence. The Strikeforce roster includes some of the sports best athletes, including Dan Henderson and Emelianenko, Jake Shields, Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez and Alistair Overeem.
The Strikeforce card airs Saturday Night on Showtime from Sunrise Florida at the BankAtlantic Center.