Rhadi Ferguson get’s new opponent for Strikeforce debut

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Undefeated light heavyweight and four-time U.S. National Judo Champ and 2004 U.S. Judo Olympian, Dr. Rhadi Ferguson (2-0), will face John Richard (3-1) of Camden, S.C., in a featured match on the Strikeforce Challengers show this Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. The 6-foot-1, 28-year-old Richard (pronounced “ruh-shard”) is a replacement for his original opponent Ion Cherdivara, who withdrew from the card late Tuesday due to visa problems.

Richard, a talented, explosive wrestler, has made short work of his opposition in his three victories, winning all in the first round. In his last outing on Oct. 23, he submitted (choke) Steven Banks at 1:19. In his outing before last on Aug. 28, he got Ryan Bedini to tap out via rear-naked choke at 3:38. Richard, who wrestled at Limestone College in South Carolina, trains at two gyms in South Carolina — the Revolution and Linic.

Since turning pro on April 24, 2010, Richard has mostly campaigned as a 230-pound heavyweight. This will be his long-awaited return to 205 pounds. “In my last couple fights I was outweighed by 30-40 pounds, so getting back down to 205 is a big deal for me,’’ Richard said in a press release from Strikeforce. “I’m really looking forward to fighting at this weight and excited to get the opportunity to step up and showcase my skills… You’ll see. At 205, I’m one of the biggest and strongest at this weight around.’’

Also on the Strikeforce Challengers card this Friday is Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine, Daniel Cormier vs. Devin Cole and Ovince St. Preux vs. Ron Humphrey. The event will be available on Showtime at 11 PM EST.

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