Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi and Gary Goodridge will meet in a heavyweight MMA-rules bout at K-1 “Dynamite Power of Courage 2009” this Thursday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The last-minute matchup will be Mousasi’s return engagement to Japan, where the 24-year-old Armenian-Dutch striker breezed past jiu-jitsu ace Ronald “Jacare” Souza and striker Melvin Manhoef to win Dream’s middleweight title in 2008. In 2009, the rising talent relinquished the title to move up a weight division and trampled former Strikeforce champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral in one minute last August to take the U.S. promotion’s crown. Mousasi earned a second-round technical knockout against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in a non-title affair for Strikeforce on Nov. 7. The bout was televised to nearly five million homes live on CBS.

Noted for a calmness and poise reminiscent of his sometimes-training partner Fedor Emelianenko, Mousasi hasn’t lost since August 2006, when he was submitted by Akihiro Gono with a second-round armbar in Pride Bushido’s welterweight tournament quarterfinals.

The grizzled 43-year-old Goodridge has led a storied career in the sport dating back to UFC 8 in 1996. The former Canadian world arm wrestling champion-turned-brawler has fought 45 MMA bouts as well as 35 kickboxing bouts, mostly in Japan. On December 2008, Goodridge was defeated by Cătălin Moroşanu in a kickboxing match at Lokal Kombat 32 in Romania. Goodridge dropped all five of his MMA bouts in 2008, which included losses against current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and Paul Buentello. He has not fought yet in 2009.

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