Matchmaker, matchmaker: Strikeforce and UFC bookings on deck

Maggie Hendricks

The UFC and Strikeforce have been hard at work, putting together bouts to fill cards early in the new year.

-- Strikeforce's has scheduled a Showtime card for the Hard Rock in Las Vegas on January 7. The rumored headliner is Tim Kennedy taking on Luke Rockhold for the middleweight belt.

-- When the UFC cut several Golden Glory fighters over their management practices, Jon Olav Einemo was caught in the crossfire and lost his job. Now he's back in the UFC and is expected to fight Mike Russow at UFC on Fox 2 in Chicago. Russow is a police officer in Chicago, and will likely bring many fans to the United Center on January 28. Though Mark Munoz vs. Chael Sonnen is the rumored main event for that card, nothing has been finalized.

-- UFC 142 in Brazil had two fights added. Paulo Thiago will fight Mike Pyle. Considering how the crowd favored Thiago at UFC 134, expect another loud ovation for the Brazilian special forces officer. Ednaldo Oliveira will make his UFC debut against heavyweight Rob Broughton.

-- Rafael Natal will take on UFC rookie Michael Kuiper at UFC 143 in Las Vegas on Super Bowl weekend. Kuiper is undefeated, having fought most his bouts in Europe. Natal is coming off of a win over Paul Bradley at UFC 133.

-- Saturday's preliminary bouts before "The Ultimate Fighter" finale will be aired on Facebook. Those bouts still haven't been announced, and are expected to be full of cast members from the 14th season and the final TUF season on Spike.

-- MFC champ Ryan Jimmo signed with the UFC and will fight Karlos Vemola at UFC on FX 1 in Nashville.

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