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After shift in opponents, Riggs set to take on Baroni in June


A welterweight contest between Joe Riggs and Phil Baroni is in the books for the second Showtime-televised Strikeforce on June 6 in St. Louis.

Riggs confirmed the fight during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio, and Baroni followed on Tuesday. An announcement from Strikeforce is expected in the coming days.

The bout was a popular "what-if" fight amongst hard-core fans in the heyday of their UFC careers.

Baroni faces his stiffest challenge yet since dropping to the welterweight division in 2008 on the heels of three consecutive losses. The "New York Bad Ass" has racked up three wins as a welterweight, most recently a decision win over OlafAlfonso at Palace Fighting Championships 10. He carries an overall professional record of 13-10.

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The hard-hitting fighter hopes a fourth win will put him at the top of Strikeforce's recently expanded division.

"Riggs is a test, and it's an important fight for me," said Baroni. "I've got to be prepared."

To put it mildly, Riggs was none too happy about a shift in opponents that took him from a proposed matchup with Jake Shields on Strikeforce's April 11 card, but thought Baroni was a good change.

"This is a fight that everyone has wanted to see for a while," he told "I'm very excited."

Since his move to Strikeforce, Riggs has alternated between wins and losses in five appearances. Most recently, he stopped jiu-jitsu specialist Luke Stewart with strikes at "Destruction" in November, though he broke his left hand on the first punch of the fight, later requiring several metal pins to hold it together. He carries a 29-10 professional record.

Riggs' former opponent, Shields, who jumps a weight class to face RobbieLawler, headlines the Midwest card. Strikeforce has yet to reveal the event's venue.