If you’re a mixed martial arts fan and don’t already subscribe to Showtime, now’s the time to do it.

In fact, today is the day, because if you wait until tomorrow (Friday, July 23rd) you stand the chance of missing some of the action.

Over the next 30 days, Strikeforce, the main competitor to UFC, has three nights of action lined up that look to be entertaining for MMA fans.

July 23rd

The Showtime subscribers will get a card featuring five different weight-classes to include a Women’s Bantamweight Championship fight (with the Middleweight division left out) of the televised action.

For the Heavyweights, undefeated Shane Del Rosario takes on Lolohea Mahe in what should be a great main event.  Not only is Shane Del Rosario undefeated, but none of his 9 fights thus far have gone to decision – with only one of them going to the second round.  If you’re worried about him being just another one of those big-guy strikers who isn’t very well rounded, don’t be.  Although he’s got a background in Muay Thai (think “boxing + elbows + knees + kicks”), he has also finished two of his fights by submission, including his most recent fight back in November where he submitted Brandon Cash by Omoplata (shoulderlock submission).

Lolohea Mahe has a record of 4 wins, 1 loss and a draw, and having lost in his last fight to Lavar Johnson in the main event of the March 26th card by second round knockout, Mahe is sure to want to get back on track.

Fans will certainly want to pay attention to this fight, as one of these individuals could quickly find themselves in line to face a high profile Heavyweight opponent like Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, or Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem.

At Light Heavyweight, Abongo Humphrey (record of 7-1) steps up against 9-year veteran Mike Kyle.  Humphrey stumbled in his Strikeforce debut, losing by TKO in the second round against Brett Rogers (who followed up that fight by taking Fedor Emelianenko through a rough first round).  After that, Abongo moved down to Light Heavyweight and defeated a man named George Bush III by submission on Showtime’s late March event.  Mike Kyle has a more severe redemption story, as he has been working to get his life back on track after serving a suspension for an illegal attack on Brian Olsen back in May 2006.  Since returning, Kyle has 7 wins and 2 losses, including a victory over Rafael Cavalcante, the top challenger for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight belt (which I’ll talk about later in this article).

Also on the televised card is a Welterweight fight, a Lightweight bout and a title fight for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship, featuring Roxanne Modafferi challenging current title holder Sarah Kaufman.  Modafferi is no stranger to championship belts, having one three different women’s championships in the past five years in other organizations (IFC, Fatal Femmes and K-GRACE).  This will be Kaufman’s first title defense attempt, having recently defeated Takayo Hashi in February to win the title.  To this point in her career Kaufman has won all 11 of her professional fights.

Fans in attendance in Everett, Washington will apparently get 7 additional fights comprised of guys I’ve never heard of.

August 13

The first Showtime event in August got a big boost with an announcement made today by Strikeforce.  Previously the only fight on the card was a catchweight fight (at 182 pounds) between Joe Riggs and Louis Taylor.  Now you can add three more fights to the card as Strikeforce is presenting a four-woman tournament.  If you’ve never seen a one-night mixed martial arts tournament, you’re in for a treat, I can assure you.

“We are going to fast-track these four talented prospects in a quest to determine the best in this deep women’s division,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “Having all four women square off on one night with the chance to separate themselves from the pack is what STRIKEFORCE Challengers is all about.”

The fact that the women involved are attractive?  An added bonus.  The list of competitors in the tournament are as follows:

Miesha Tate

Miesha Tate brings not only the fact that she’s one of the sexiest female competitors in the world of MMA, but she also has a record of 9 wins and only 2 losses.  In fact, her only loss in the past 2 years was to Sarah Kaufman by decision.

Hitomi Akano

A six-year veteran, Hitomi Akano is coming off of a loss to Hiroko Yamanaka (who she previously defeated in April of 2008).  The only other loss on Hitomi Akano’s record in the past 30 months was in April of 2009, when she lost by TKO to Cristiane Santos in a fight where Santos didn’t make weight.  You might know Cristiane Santos better by her nickname, “Cyborg”, the same woman who defeated Gina Carano.

Maiju Kujala

Maiju Kujala has won her past three fights, bringing her record to 4 wins to only 1 loss.  Her last two fights occurred on March 27th where she won a one-night tournament, so she may hold an edge this August in her Strikeforce debut.

Carina Damm

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Carina Damm was the next Gina Carano.  She hasn’t lost in over 40 months, with none of her fights in the past two years going to decision, and she’s VERY easy on the eyes, having already appeared in the Japanese version of Playboy (albeit in a clothed pictorial).

Carina Damm

Carina Damm

Tying it all together, the winner of the August 13th tournament will find herself in line for a welterweight division Championship fight.  The winner of the July 23rd Kaufman / Modafferi fight will face Marloes Coenen next. The tournament winner will face the winner of Coenen’s title fight.

August 21

Almost a month from now, Strikeforce presents the biggest of the three cards, with two championship matches on the event and a former WWE Champion competing that night.

Mo v FiejaoThe late August event in Houston features a main event with the Light Heavyweight Championship on the line, as “King Mo” Muhammad Lawal attempts to defend the championship against “Feijão” Rafael Cavalcante (a student of both Anderson Silva and Minotauro Nogueira).

Muhammad Lawal provided a shock for many when he soundly defeated Gegard Mousasi for the Light Heavyweight Championship back in April on a stacked card – Mousasi’s only loss dating back to 2006. With wins in 5 of his last 6 fights, Rafael Cavalcante will put up an interesting challenge for King Mo, as Rafael’s Muay Thai offense has been described as much more explosive than the fighting style of Mousasi.

The Middleweight Championship, currently vacant due to Strikeforce parting ways with reigning champion Jake Shields, will be around the waist of either Ronaldo Souza or Tim Kenney by the time Strikeforce’s Houston event is over.  Souza, a blackbelt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, may be considered the favorite,  holding a professional record of 12 wins and 2 losses, with a forgivable loss in his MMA debut back in 2003, and another forgivable loss in September 2008 to Gegard Mousasi.  Tim Kennedy is also 12 – 2 with a loss in his debut, however his other loss was to the flamboyant Jason Miller (whom Souza fought to a draw).

Former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (5-0) continues his foray into Mixed Martial Arts, taking on Chad Griggs (8-1).   Both fighters have a history of ending the majority of their fights in the first round, so this heavyweight fight could be explosive.  Lashley will be looking to show that he’s just as much of a legit fighter as fellow former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, the current top Heavyweight fighter in the world.