Headliners Gurgel, Duarte Cleared for Strikeforce Challengers 18


The lightweight headliner of Strikeforce Challengers 18 has been made official, as both Jorge Gurgel and Joe Duarte hit their contracted weights at Thursday’s official weigh-ins.

Gurgel (Pictured; file photo) came in at 154 pounds, while Duarte tipped the scales at 155 for Friday’s clash at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Also featuring the Strikeforce debut of Danillo Villefort, the event’s main card will air live in North America on premium cable channel Showtime. Villefort (186) will square off against fellow Strikeforce newcomer Nate James (185) in a middleweight affair.

Additionally, the main card will showcase a lightweight scrap between Pat Healy (155) and Eric Wisely (156), as well as a light heavyweight confrontation pitting Roy Jones (204) against Derrick Mehmen (205).

Rounding out the evening’s televised proceedings will be another highly anticipated Strikeforce debutant, as 2008 Olympics judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey (146) takes on Sarah D’Alelio (146) in a 145-pound women’s tilt.

Gurgel, 34, has lost four of his last six fights. Following a seven-fight UFC stint that saw the Brazilian post a 3-4 Octagon record, Gurgel joined the Strikeforce roster in 2009. Since stepping into the promotion’s hexagonal cage, Gurgel has earned wins over Conor Heun and Billy Vaughan while dropping bouts to Billy Evangelista and K.J. Noons.

Duarte rides a four-fight winning streak into his showdown with Gurgel. The Guamanian has tasted defeat only twice, his most recent loss coming in his lone Bellator appearance against Carey Vanier last year. Duarte made his Strikeforce debut in April, submitting Saad Awad with an armbar.

Jorge Gurgel (154) vs. Joe Duarte (155)
Danillo Villefort (186) vs. Nate James (185)
Pat Healy (155) vs. Eric Wisely (156)
Ronda Rousey (146) vs. Sarah D’Alelio (146)
Roy Jones (204) vs. Derrick Mehmen (205)
Keith Berry (204) vs. Gian Villante (205)
Lukasz Les (169) vs. Nah-Shon Burrell (172)*
Mike Bronzoulis (169) vs. Chad Leonhardt (171)
Sterling Ford (156) vs. Milton Vieira (155)

Burrell was given two hours to attempt to make the 171-pound limit.

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