Joe Riggs. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In his first fight since undergoing surgery to yet again repair his oft-injured back, former UFC welterweight title challenger Joe Riggs will replace longtime veteran Shonie Carter in a featured bout against rising prospect Luke Stewart at Strikeforce’s “Melendez vs. Thomson” show on June 27th.
Strikeforce VP Mike Afromowitz confirmed the change to the card with Sherdog.com.
Carter will be unable to participate after shattering a knuckle in his hand during a recent training session, likely putting his ability to pass a required physical examination under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission in doubt.
Riggs’ return to action will come four months after he suffered a scary back injury against Cory Devela at “Strikeforce at the Dome” in February. Riggs underwent successful surgery to repair nerves that were pinched by a bulging disc just days after the event. He will meet Stewart at a catch-weight of 178 lbs.
After winning five straight fights under the Strikeforce banner to start his professional career, Stewart suffered his first loss at the EliteXC and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le show in March, losing an unanimous decision to Tiki Ghosn.
The main event will feature reigning Strikeforce lightweight title holder Gilbert Melendez, who has yet to lose inside the promotion, defend his title against American Kickboxing Academy product Josh Thomson, who has won six straight fights, five of them with the organization.
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