Liz Carmouche to replace Meisha Tate

Updated: February 24, 2011, 12:02 AM ET
By Josh Gross | ESPN.com

Strikeforce women's welterweight champion Marloes Coenen (18-4) will have a new challenger for when she defends the belt March 5 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Meisha Tate, the No. 1 contender at 135 pounds after winning a one-night, four-woman tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., last summer, was forced to withdraw with a knee injury, the promoters announced Wednesday. In her place steps untested 27-year-old Liz Carmouche (5-0) of San Diego.

Carmouche, a former Marine Corps Sergeant and three-tour veteran of the Iraq war, holds a 2-0 record in Strikeforce, including a third-round stoppage of Jan Finney.

Fighting out of The Netherlands, Coenen, 29, captured the title with an armbar submission over previously unbeaten Sarah Kaufman in October.

The five-round title fight serves as the co-main event for Strikeforce's first promotion in Ohio, which coincides with The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation's largest health and fitness expo, founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Showtime-televised card is headlined by Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante, who's making his first defense of the title against Dan Henderson.

Josh Gross covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.