At one time, Kazuo Misaki was a mainstay in the top ten of the middleweight division during his time with Pride Fighting Championships.

Now the Japanese fighter is making his move to welterweight and has signed an exclusive deal to compete in the welterweight division of Strikeforce.

Sources close to Misaki confirmed the signing to on Thursday.

Just last week, Strikeforce official Scott Coker had teased signing a major veteran to their welterweight roster and Misaki fits the bill.

Misaki (24-11-2) has faced some of the toughest competition over the last several years, where he spent time in many different organizations but most prominently in Pride and Sengoku.

In 2006, Misaki was crowned the Pride Welterweight Grand Prix champion and picked up wins over Dan Henderson and Denis Kang to get there.

Over the last few years, Misaki has continued to battle away in Japan and has won his last two fights in a row with victories over Akira Shoji and Mike Seal.

While there has been no date given for his debut with Strikeforce, Misaki is expected to fight at 170lbs as opposed to middleweight where he’s spent the biggest part of his career in Japan.

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