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Robbie Lawler Signs New Deal with Strikeforce

Ahead of his middleweight title shot next month, middleweight Robbie Lawler has signed a contract extension with Strikeforce.

The promotion announced the news Wednesday, just a day after announcing it had also resigned its welterweight champion, Nick Diaz, to a new deal.

Sources close to Lawler's camp told MMA Fighting on Wednesday night that Lawler's deal has been in the works for several months, with many of the terms being worked out over the last couple of weeks.

Lawler is coming off a decisive 50-second knockout of Matt Lindland at Strikeforce's Dec. 4 show in St. Louis. That win earned him a shot at Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and his middleweight title on Jan. 29 in San Jose, Calif., news first reported by MMA Fighting earlier this month.

Lawler (18-6, 1 NC, 2-2 Strikeforce) was the EliteXC middleweight champion when that promotion folded in 2008. He then went nearly a year between fights after Strikeforce picked up his contract. Souza (13-2, 1 NC, 3-0 Strikeforce) won the middleweight belt in August, beating Tim Kennedy in a unanimous decision to claim the title vacated by Jake Shields' departure for the UFC.

"Strikeforce has treated me good and I am happy to re-sign with them," Lawler said in an official release from the promotion. "They have given me an opportunity to fight for the title and I'm looking forward to that and to fighting any and all of the top 185-pounders."

Lawler's win over Lindland was one of two highlight reel knockouts he delivered in 2010. In January, after being dominated for the entire first round, he stunned Melvin Manhoef with one punch in one of the year's best comebacks. Fifteen of his 18 career wins have been by knockout.

Strikeforce's Jan. 29 show in its home base of San Jose will take place at the HP Pavilion and will air live on Showtime at 10 p.m. Eastern. The Lawler-Souza fight will be the co-main event. Headlining the card is a welterweight title fight between Diaz and Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos. Also on the show, Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker gets his second career fight when he meets Scott Carson, a bout that was scratched from the Dec. 4 show in St. Louis when Walker suffered a cut in training. And Roger Gracie returns to face Trevor Prangley.

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