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Trio to defend Strikeforce titles

Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will be one of three Strikeforce titleholders putting their belts on the line Jan. 12 in Oklahoma City, the promotion announced Thursday night.

"We've built an absolutely stacked card for Oklahoma City and the Showtime viewers," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. "We have three awesome title fights featuring some of the best fighters to ever grace the Strikeforce cage."

The announcement, however, comes amid rumblings that Strikeforce is on the verge of going out of business and that its bantamweight women's champion, Ronda Rousey, has joined UFC as its first female fighter.

Along with Melendez, middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and welterweight titleholder Nate Marquardt will appear in title bouts Jan. 12.

Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier makes his final appearance under the Strikeforce banner on the Jan. 12 main card.

Melendez faces Pat Healy. The two were slated to meet Sept. 29, in Sacramento, Calif., but that bout was scrapped when Melendez separated his right shoulder during a training session.

Rockhold will take on Larenz Larkin. They were on tap to meet Nov. 3, in Oklahoma City, but Rockhold was force to withdraw after injuring his left wrist.

Marquardt makes the first defense of his Strikeforce title against Tarec Saffiedine. He claimed the vacant 170-pound belt July 14 with a fourth-round knockout of Tyron Woodley.

Cormier, who meets Dion Staring, was slated to headline the Nov. 3 card against former two-time UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir. But the bout was called off after Mir was injured.

After his fight, Cormier will begin competing in UFC. He is currently ranked fourth among heavyweights by ESPN.com.