strikeforce challengers santos vs. villasenorThis Friday night will mark the return of the Strikeforce Challengers series (aka ShoMMA) as the popular west coast-based promotion heads north to Kent, Washington where hard hitting fighters “Smokin” Joe Villasenor takes on Chute Boxe product Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos in the main event.

Villasenor recently enjoyed some limelight after scoring several wins in the now defunct Elite XC promotion, yet has had to sit on the sidelines for a year and is itching to continue his win streak.

For Santos, a win would mean regaining momentum after losing his last match to Siyar Bahadurzada in Sengoku. “Cyborg” tends to keep to the feet when inside the cage, but will need to have a keen eye for Joe’s lightning fast hands.

Other notable match-ups include…

Tim Kennedy (9-2) vs. Nick Thompson (38-10): The military man Tim Kennedy returns to action against “The Goat” Thompson. Both men have ground games but don’t mind trading on the feet. Look for this even match-up to bring plenty of excitement to the night’s card.

Jorge Gurgel (12-5) vs. Conor Heun (8-2): Gurgel looks to rebound after being cut from the UFC roster, but he’ll need to present his world class ground game against young opponent Heun if he wishes to score the victory. Conor is riding a three fight win streak and can further his name into the larger Strikeforce events if he capitalizes on this opportunity.

Shayna Baszler (9-5) vs. Sarah Kaufman (9-0): Female MMA is on the rise with stars like Carano and Santos, but the undefeated Sarah Kaufman could catapult herself into the big stage with a “Challengers” victory. Baszler recently lost to the aforementioned Cris Santos by TKO but enjoyed a four fight win streak before the loss and will be hungry for success.

Cory Devela (9-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (4-1): These are two men looking to make the transition from talented newcomers into Strikeforce contenders. Both Devela and Rockhold like to finish fights, so I would not expect this clash to go to decision.

Lyle Beerbohm (9-0) vs. Duane “Bang” Ludwig (18-8): Ludwig is widely respected as one of the best strikers in MMA today and will go up against a tough, undefeated up-and-comer in Beerbohm. Do not miss this bout. will be providing LIVE fight results tomorrow night as Strikeforce Challengers: “Santos vs. Villasenor” takes place, beginning at 11 p.m. EST.