Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maximo Blanco Signing Complements Budding Strikeforce Lightweight Roster

This signing just boosted Strikeforce's lightweight stable.

Sherdog.com reported earlier today that Sengoku/Pancrase veteran Maximo Blanco has signed with Strikeforce. The former Lightweight King of Pancrase, agreed to a four-fight deal with the promotion. No details on debut dates or prospective opponents have been reported.

Blanco first expressed his desire to fight in the U.S. following his departure from Pancrase last month. It was rumored that he was involved in talks with Bellator. While these talks were never confirmed, it remained obvious that Blanco's goal was to fight for an American promotion.

Maximo is a 2007 Pan American Games Freestyle Wrestling Bronze Medalist. He converted to MMA full time in 2008, competing with Pancrase. He won the Lightweight King of Pancrase Championship in August of 2009 upon defeating Katsuya Inoue via TKO in August of 2009. After securing the Pancrase lightweight strap, Maximo shipped his talents to WVR's Sengoku where he followed up with a five-fight win streak. Sengoku ceased operations in March following the discontinuation of funding from its primary sponsor retail company Don Quijote. In March, Blanco formally left Pancrase, relinquishing the Lightweight King of Pancrase title in the process.

Maximo Blanco will be a great addition to Strikeforce's lightweight roster. Signing with the UFC might have created fantasy match-ups against some of the UFC's lower ladder fighters like Michael Johnson and Evan Dunham, but the UFC's 155 lb. stockhold is currently bulging at the seams. Strikeforce, on the other hand, could use a young lightweight like Blanco to complement the previous year's signings. Strikeforce is slowly building a strong stable of lightweights to feed solid veterans like current 155 lb. champion Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson. Over the past year, Strikeforce has added highly competitive fighters like Vitor Ribeiro, Caros Fodor, Lyle Beerbohm, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcate, and now Maximo Blanco to create a now burgeoning Strikeforce lighweight division.

Maximo Blanco is a strong, fierce fighter with sharp agility and excellent overall athleticism. Look for Blanco to mix it up with Strikeforce's best. I expect to see Blanco hit the Strikeforce arena sometime mid-summer.

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