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UFC Readying Competing April 17 Event to Counter Strikeforce on CBS

Dana WhiteThe UFC is in the process of laying the groundwork for an April 17 show to counter the Strikeforce on CBS offering, MMA Fighting has learned.

Though the company has not officially announced the event and it should not be considered a done deal, two separate sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the promotion has begun to ramp up its efforts over the last several hours and that Spike TV -- the likely broadcast outlet for the show -- has been informed of the decision.

When reached by MMA Fighting on Thursday night, UFC President Dana White would not confirm or deny the possibility of the event.

Though several possible matchups have been buzzed about in recent days, MMA Fighting could not confirm the rumors of a Mike Swick vs. Matt Serra matchup. Swick has been out of the country on a trip to Thailand, just returning yesterday, and might need surgery on an injured arm. Serra, meanwhile, fought just one month ago and would prefer a return to action in the summer.

Another alleged rumor pitting Wanderlei Silva vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama seems unlikely, as sources close to Silva told MMA Fighting that he is hopeful of a chance to fight on UFC 116 because the event takes place on his birthday, July 3, and in his new hometown of Las Vegas.

The UFC would have just six weeks to put an event together, but it is not without precedent. In July 2008, The organization put together an event in just over one month to compete against an Affliction pay-per-view offering. That show was headlined by UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva making his debut at light-heavyweight. Silva wound up knocking out James Irvin in the main event.

Strikeforce's show is planned for the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and will feature three title bouts, including a middleweight championship main event pitting current titleholder Jake Shields against former UFC star Dan Henderson. The show could reportedly be moved back a week to April 24 -- which would result in a head-to-head battle with WEC's first pay-per-view offering -- but tickets sales for the Strikeforce event have already begun, and a change would also require a shift in the CBS programming schedule.

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