Former heavyweight prospect Gian
Villante will return to the
Strikeforce cage on May 19 when the New Yorker squares off with
Mehmen in a preliminary light heavyweight duel, the promotion
Highlighted by the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix final between
Cormier and Josh Barnett,
and a lightweight title rubber match between Gilbert
Melendez and Josh
Thomson, the event takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose,
Calif. Broadcast on Showtime Extreme, the undercard will
immediately precede the main draw offering on Showtime.
Villante, 26, has won back-to-back fights after beginning 2011 with
two consecutive losses. After falling to Chad Griggs
as a heavyweight, Villante cut to 205 pounds, where he was welcomed
coldly to the division by Lorenz
Larkin. However, the former Hofstra University football
standout rebounded two months later, taking a unanimous decision
from Keith Barry at Strikerforce Challengers 18. Most recently,
Villante dispatched Trevor
Smith on Jan. 7, earning a technical knockout over “Hot Sauce”
in just 65 seconds.
Like his opponent, Mehmen, also 26, has split his last four fights.
Following a split decision loss to Gareth
Joseph to begin last year, the American Top Team representative
posted wins over Matt
Thompson in April and Roy Jones this
past August. “Caveman” was bested in his most recent outing,
however, falling to UFC veteran Rodney
Wallace via unanimous decision at WMMA 1 last Saturday.