Hieron to Face Diaz for Strikeforce Belt


Jay Hieron. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.

Former International Fight League welterweight champion Jay Hieron has signed to face Nick Diaz for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight belt at the organization’s “Carano vs. Cyborg” event on August 15 in San Jose, California.

MMA on Tap was able to confirm the bout with Hieron’s agent, Ken Pavia, earlier this evening. MMA Weekly was the first to report the news. Hieron replaces Joe Riggs, who was forced to withdraw from the fight after an undisclosed hospital stay.

Strikeforce is expected to officially announce the bout later this week.

Hieron has remained undefeated since beating Donnie Liles and Delson Heleno in a grand-prix tournament to win the IFL welterweight title before the promotion’s demise more than a year ago. He most recently fought at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” show in January, scoring a first-round knockout of Jason High.

After falling to K.J. Noons in a failed EliteXC lightweight title bid in November 2007, Diaz reeled off three straight wins at 160 lbs before moving up to Strikeforce’s middleweight division, where he turned in consecutive dominating performances against former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith.

Female MMA stars Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos will collide for Strikeforce’s inaugural women’s title belt in the show’s main event. A lightweight title unification rematch between champion Josh Thomson and interim title holder Gilbert Melendez is also slated for the card.

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