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CBS Saturday Night Fights Returns In April With Fedor & Hendo (Update)

Fedor Emelianenko

It’s official, Strikeforce will return to CBS next April with Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson. Fanhouse’s Ariel Helwani broke the story earlier today.

A CBS spokesperson informed FanHouse on Tuesday that the network will broadcast its fifth MMA event next year, and that it will most likely air during the month of the April.

While no specific date or venue has been made official, Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson have agreed to compete on the card. Their opponents have yet to be signed.

The card will air in its usual Saturday night 9 p.m. ET slot, and will air via tape delay on the West Coast.

CBS’ Kelly Kahl confirmed the news with MMA Weekly. He added that they’re currently considering several dates and venues for the big event.

While Fedor’s and Hendo’s opponents are up in the air at this point, Strikeforce and Scott Coker have all but confirmed in recent announcements and interviews that Fedor will either fight Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum and Hendo will face Gegard Mousasi or Jake Shields for one of Strikeforce’s titles. I’d prefer to see Fedor-Overeem and Hendo-Mousasi, however according to Sherdog, Jake Shields is currently the front runner to face Hendo. Fedor-Overeem appears to be the more likely match-up though based on comments Fabricio Werdum made yesterday about a rematch with Andrei Arlovski.

Image via Esther Lin for Showtime

Update: Not the most promising news for Fedor-Overeem on CBS: Dave Meltzer hints at Strikeforce saving it for pay-per-view.

…Strikeforce is looking at building television fights and if and when the right big fight falls into place (like a potential Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem fight) then going to pay-per-view.

“CBS makes kings,” he said. “They made Kimbo. They made Gina. They made Cyborg. Do you think Spike would have gotten the ratings with Kimbo that they got without him first being promoted on CBS?”

Through his CBS exposure leading up to the Nov. 7 show, Emelianenko now fits into both categories, but Emelianenko has his own issues, including a history of hand injuries in recent years. He’s currently on the shelf waiting to get a pin taken out of his thumb from an operation after his Nov. 7 knockout win over Brett Rogers.

If everything goes perfectly, and in MMA, that’s a crap shoot, the idea would be to first get Overeem, a 6-5, 258-pounder who looks like he stepped off the pages of a bodybuilding magazine, onto CBS before putting him in the company’s ultimate heavyweight match on pay-per-view.

Damn that Dave Meltzer for raining on the parade. Just kidding…sort of.

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Fight Cards

Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis

Event Date: November 4, 2016
Broadcast: Spike

UFC Fight Night 98: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

Event Date: November 5, 2016
Broadcast: TBD

Bellator 164: Koreshkov vs. Lima

Event Date: November 11, 2016
Broadcast: Spike Sports

UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor

Event Date: November 12, 2016
Broadcast: Pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

Bellator 165: Chandler Vs. Henderson

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: Spike TV

UFC Fight Night 99: Mousasi vs. Hall 2

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: TBD