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LI's Gian Villante returns to Strikeforce in June

Gian Villante trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy for

Gian Villante trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy for his Strikeforce mixed martial arts debut. (Feb. 2, 2011) Credit: Mark La Monica

Gian Villante, an All-American wrestler at MacArthur High School, returns to the cage for Strikeforce in a Challengers series bout against Lorenz Larkin this summer, Villante confirmed with Newsday.

The fight has not officially been announced, but the card will take place on Friday, June 24 in Kent, Wash.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to fight Lorenz Larkin," Villante said via text message. "He presents a fun and exciting challenge; looking forward to getting my hand raised."

Villante (7-2) lost in his Strikeforce debut last February in a wildly entertaining but undisciplined slugfest with Chad Griggs. That was a heavyweight bout. Villante will drop to light heavyweight against Larkin, a weight class that suits him better for long-term success.

Villante won both light heavyweight and heavyweight titles in Ring of Combat, a New Jersey based fight promotion, before signing with Strikeforce. He trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy.

New York Sports