Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante defends title against Dan Henderson

STRIKEFORCE IN COLUMBUS, OHIO,  SATURDAY, MARCH 5, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

Tickets Pre-Sale Begins Tomorrow/Tuesday

For World Championship Doubleheader at Nationwide Arena

Marloes Coenen Defends Against Miesha Tate,

Tim Kennedy Faces Luke Rockhold,

Unbeaten Billy Evangelista Meets Jorge Masvidal;

Event to be Held in Conjunction With Arnold Sports Festival

NEW YORK (Jan. 31, 2011) – Dan Henderson is one of the most recognizable and popular fighters in the world. He is the only fighter in the history of Mixed Martial Arts to simultaneously hold two world titles in two different weight classes with a major MMA promotion.

In an illustrious career, the legendary 40-year-old Henderson has won a total of four MMA world championships and fought and defeated a host of all-time greats, including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. Before turning pro, Henderson was a two-time United States Olympic Games wrestler. There isn’t a lot that he hasn’t accomplished.

On Saturday, March 5, Henderson (26-8), of Temecula, Calif., will attempt to add another belt to his wardrobe when he challenges defending champion Rafael “Feijao’’ Cavalcante  (10-2) of Brazil for the STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Championship at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

In the opening half of a STRIKEFORCE World Championship doubleheader, Marloes “Rumina’’ Coenen (18-4) of the Netherlands will risk her welterweight title for a first time against No. 1 135-pound contender, Miesha “Takedown’’ Tate (11-2), of Tacoma, Wash.

American military hero Tim Kennedy (12-3) of Fort Bragg, N.C., will be opposed by Luke Rockhold (7-1) at middleweight (185 pounds) and undefeated Billy Evangelista (11-0) of Fresno, Calif., will take on Jorge Masvidal (20-6) of Miami, Fla., at lightweight (155 pounds) in other televised bouts on SHOWTIME.

The event, STRIKEFORCE’s first in the state of Ohio, will take place in conjunction with The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest health and fitness exposition founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A special ticket pre-sale for “STRIKEFORCE Insiders,” begins tomorrow/Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. CT and ends Thursday at 10 p.m.  Fans can sign up to become an “Insider” at STRIKEFORCE.com

Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 4 at the Nationwide Arena ticket office, online at Ticketmaster.com and Strikeforce.com and Ticketmaster by phone at (800) 745-3000.

It will be the hard-hitting 6-foot-1 Henderson’s third start for STRIKEFORCE since he left the UFC on a three-fight winning streak to sign with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion in December 2009.

Henderson secured the title shot in devastating fashion, destroying Brazilian Renato “Babalu” Sobral by 1:53, first-round knockout (punches) last Dec. 4 in St. Louis. It was the STRIKEFORCE 205-pound debut for Henderson, a former two-division PRIDE Fighting Championships belt-holder who will become the only fighter to compete for titles in STRIKEFORCE, PRIDE and UFC.

For Rafael Feijao, a powerful 6-foot, 30-year-old Brazilian referred  to simply as “Feijao,” it will be his first defense of the 205-pound crown he captured with a third-round upset TKO  (elbows) over previously undefeated “King Mo’’ Lawal last Aug. 21 in Houston.

The talented Feijao will enter the scheduled five-round match at the peak of his game. He has won three in a row and six out of his last seven.  Feijao has never gone the distance as a pro and the furthest one of his bouts has gone came against King Mo.

Feijao has never been in with anybody who hits like Henderson, but the Brazilian fighter has been highly-touted as one of the next great superstars of the sport.  With his fearsome submission capabilities and vastly improved kicking and punching, Feijao could indeed be something special — especially if he passes the class test against Hendo.

“Everybody knows about Dan Henderson and what he can do and how hard he hits,’’ said Feijao, a native of Ilha Solteira in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who trains out of the famed Black House camp with, among others, the aforementioned Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Antonio Nogueira.

“This is going to be a very exciting fight. I worked very hard to get back to where I could fight for the title. Now that I have won it, I’ve been working even harder to keep it.’’

While fighting for PRIDE, Henderson was both the welterweight (185 pounds) and light heavyweight (205 pounds) champion. In his debut for STRIKEFORCE, at 185 pounds, the aggressive-minded veteran nearly knocked out Jake Shields during a dominant first round on April 17, 2010, in Nashville, before losing a close decision.

“I want to thank STRIKEFORCE for this opportunity to fight for the title,’’ said Henderson, a winner in four of his last five. “That last fight got me back on track. I’ll be ready for anything, but mostly I’m expecting a flat-our war.’’

Coenen, a product of Holland’s Golden Glory team, captured the STRIKEFORCE crown with an impressive third-round submission (armbar) over defending belt-holder Sarah Kaufman on Oct. 9, 2010. A strikingly attractive submission whiz, the talented, 5-foot-9, 29-year-old ousted Kaufman one fight after giving STRIKEFORCE 145-pound champ, the naturally bigger Cris Cyborg one of her toughest fights.

Tate, a winner of five in a row and 10 out of 11, earned her first five-round fight by winning twice during a single-night elimination tournament on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on Aug. 13, 2010, in Phoenix, Ariz., The 5-foot-6, 24-year-old outpointed Maiju Kujala and then Hitomi Akano to take the tourney and ascend to the top spot. It will be Tate’s fifth bout on SHOWTIME and her sixth start for STRIKEFORCE.

Kennedy is an American military hero who’s toured the Middle East multiple times, and earned the Army’s Bronze Medal Star medal for valor under fire. This will be the 5-foot-11, 31-year olds fifth start for STRIKEFORCE and his first since losing a close, hard-fought decision to “Jacare” Souza in a fight for the then-vacant STRIKEFORCE middleweight title last Aug. 21 on SHOWTIME. The disputed defeat ended a four-fight winning streak for Kennedy, who has split two fights against Jason “Mayhem’’ Miller.

The up-and-coming Rockhold is taking a step up in class, but the 6-foot-3, 26-year-old has won six in a row, all in the first round, including three straight on STRIKEFORCE Challengers.  In his last start, he registered a 2:24 TKO over Paul Bradley on Feb. 26, 2010. A rising star in STRIKEFORCE’S talent-laden 185-pound division, Rockhold was scheduled to fight last Oct. 9, but withdrew after injuring a shoulder in training.

Like Tate and Rockhold, Evangelista is a veteran of the STRIKEFORCE Challengers series who is making his Saturday debut for STRIKEFORCE on SHOWTIME. In his last outing and first fight in nearly a year, the 5-foot-8, 29-year-old May Thai specialist won a unanimous decision over hard-trying Walachia Spiritwolf in an extremely spirited affair last Oct. 22. That fight was contested at a catch weight of 165 pounds; Evangelista will be competing at his natural weight of 155 for this one.

Masvidal is an experienced seven-year pro who has been matched with some good ones across his career. In his last outing, he went the distance with world-ranked Paul “Semtex” Daley before losing a decision on Sept. 10, 2010. The 5-foot-10, 26-year-old member of America Top Team is unbeaten in his two fights for STRIKEFORCE.

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