PRO MMA ( has been notified by Strikeforce that two-time NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Kevin “The Monster” Randleman (17-12) will make his return to the MMA cage in a light heavyweight match-up against TUF 2 veteran Mike Whitehead (23-6) during the live Showtime telecast of “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” on Saturday, June 6.

Now 37-years-old, Randleman was last seen in the ring in May 2008 when he fought and defeated Ryu Kawamura (9-4-2) by unanimous decision at “Sengoku: Second Battle” in Tokyo, Japan.  Prior to that bout he had been out of action for over two years due to a severe fungal lung infection that required surgery. 

Kevin Randleman captured back-to-back NCAA national wrestling titles in 1992 and 1993 while competing for Ohio State University. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

In October 1996, Randleman made his professional MMA debut in Brazil where he stopped Luiz Carlos Macial, Geza Kalman, and Dan Bobish all in the same night at “Universal Vale Tudo Fighting 4.”

 Continuing to fight in Brazil, Randleman put together a professional MMA record of 6-2. Then in March 1999 at UFC 19, “The Monster” entered the UFC Octagon for the very first time and pulled off a unanimous decision upset over Maurice Smith who was already a UFC veteran with wins over Mark Coleman and Tank Abbott. 

Randleman fought for the UFC from 1999-2002 and acquired a UFC Heavyweight Title in the process. In 2002 Randleman made the career move to the Pride Fighting Championship in Japan where he fought all the way up until 2006.

Whitehead’s last MMA fight was in October 2008 against Leo Pla (6-2) at “M-1 Challenge 8: USA” in Kansas City, Missouri. Whitehead submitted Pla via guillotine just 1:20 into the bout making it his 13th submission victory.

Like Randleman, the 27-year-old Whitehead was a collegiate wrestling champion, achieving NJCAA All-American honors in 2001 while wrestling for North Idaho Junior College and, later, two-time All-American honors while competing for Southern Oregon University.

Whitehead’s first professional MMA bout was in 2001. He has fought in various organizations over the years; from Hook n’ Shoot, WEC, UFC, Rage in the Cage, and Extreme Challenge. Other than his stint on The Ultimate Fighter season 2, Whitehead is probably most known for his time in the IFL, where he went undefeated at 4-0.

Prior to his fight with Renato “Babalu” Sobral at “Affliction: Banned” in July 2008, Whitehead was on a 13-fight win streak. He is 14-1 since 2006. An Oregon native, Whitehead currently trains at Wanderlei Silva’s gym in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

The live Showtime telecast of “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In the highly anticipated main event, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (16-4) will face off with fellow top-ranked superstar Jake Shields (22-4-1) in a 182-pound catch weight fight.

By:  Jack Bratcher

Leave a Reply