Coker: Sakurai next for Diaz (not Hieron)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

An exhausted Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker asked to sit down before granting an interview in the wee hours of Sunday morning following what he termed a successful Strikeforce Miami show, but he wasn’t looking to take much of a break. Coker is already preparing to promote several big fights in the spring, including:
Shinya Aoki vs. Gilbert Melendez;
Cris Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill;
Bobby Lashley vs. Brett Rogers; and
Nick Diaz vs. Hayoto Sakurai: Most people thought Jay Hieron earned a shot at the welterweight title by defeating Joe Riggs, but Coker said it’s more likely that Sakurai will be the challenger in Diaz’s first title defense. Sakurai fights for Dream, and Coker said Strikeforce’s co-promotional arrangement with Dream ensures that “I could get it done.” Hieron’s win over Riggs was the last fight on his Strikeforce contract, and it’s not clear whether Hieron will return to the promotion.

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