Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Thursday that Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will defend his title against former Army special forces operator Tim Kennedy in Portland, Oregon on July 14th of this year. Coker made the announcement on a media conference call to promote the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The event will be held at the Rose Garden venue. Other main card fights include a pair of middleweight bouts between Robbie Lawler and Lorenz Larkin and Roger Gracie Keith Jardine. MMA Fighting reported the signing of the Gracie vs. Jardine bout earlier this week.
Rockhold, 27, last competed on January 7th, 2012 at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine, where he defeated UFC veteran Keith Jardine by first-round TKO stoppage. However, he injured his hand during the bout and has been sidelined since then.
Kennedy, 32, last fought on July 30th, 2011 at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson where he defeated UFC veteran Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision.
The main card for this event will air on Showtime while the preliminary card will be broadcast on Showtime Extreme.
This marks the second time the promotion has held an event in the city of Portland. Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey was also held at the Rose Garden on May 21st, 2010. Former UFC middleweight contender Matt Lindland defeated Kevin Casey in the third round via TKO in the night's main event.