The Road to Strikeforce Houston: Kickoff Press Conference

Strikeforce_kickoff_presser

HOUSTON (July 13, 2010) – After weeks of speculation, Strikeforce formally announced that they are indeed coming to Houston.  They will be having a World Championship Doubleheader at the Toyota Center on Saturday, Aug. 21, that will also be aired live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

King Mo

King Mo

STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Champion “King Mo” Lawal (7-0) will make the first defense of his belt against devastating striker Rafael “Feijao’’ Cavalcante (9-2) in the main event. The semi-main will match Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (12-2-1) and Tim Kennedy (12-2) in a clash for the vacant STRIKEFORCE Middleweight (185 pounds) crown.

“Feijao likes to bang so this is going to be an exciting fight.  I’m going to show you all some new things I’ve been working on.” Lawal said of his opponent and strategy.

When asked if he was going to change up his normal routine for his first challenge defense, King Mo responded “The approach doesn’t change.  Going into every fight, I feel like both a champion and a challenger because I challenge myself in training, but I’m always champion in my mind.   So nothing is going to change for this fight.”

Kennedy said he’s a proud Texan having recently moved to Austin, and he’s glad to be fighting here in the lone star state.

“I’m proud to say that I’m a Texan now.  I live in Austin.  I hope that all of Texas will come out to support me as I fight to win the belt.”

Tim Kennedy

Tim Kennedy

When asked how his military experience has prepared him mentally and physically for MMA fights, the former Army special forces sniper said, “This is just fighting.  (In the cage), there’s a guy in a black shirt wearing latex gloves who’s going to protect me.  It’s much different than battling a guy who’s hiding behind a rock with a cell phone, waiting to blow me up.  So, this is fun.  I love fighting.  It’s a huge sport and I’m a huge fan of it.  It’s totally different.”

Undefeated heavyweight and form WWE star Bobby Lashley (5-0), will return to the cage against an opponent to be announced.  However, Jeremy Botter of Heavy.com reported on his Twitter that Lashley could be facing either Lavar Johnson or Chad Griggs.

Lashley spoke of his progression after moving from WWE to MMA.

“I think I’ve progressed well.  The Bobby Lashley who fought my first fight is completely different from Bobby Lashley now.   I’m anxious to get back out there.   I had a little setback and when I finally got cleared. I called (STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott) Coker and begged him to be on this card.”

Bobby Lashley

Bobby Lashley

At one point, King Mo put on his press credentials and asked Lashley if he would take a fight with form WWE Alum Batista.

Lashley replied, “lets make it happen. But then I have bigger fish to fry.”

Also on the televised portion of the card is former world champion and Clements High School graduate (class of 2001) KJ Noons (11-2).  Noons will be facing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt Jorge Gurgel (13-6) in a lightweight (155 pounds) match up.

Noons reminisced about his high school days here in Houston.

KJ Noons

KJ Noons

“I’m very excited to come back to Texas.  I finished high school here.  My mom and my dad are here.  The fans are awesome here.  I did open-hand Pancrase down the street from here eight years ago before MMA was even big, so I know how it was back then so I’m super excited to be back here.”

He added that he didn’t want to take full credit for getting Strikeforce to come to Houston, but he defiantly planted the bug in Strikeforce CEO Scott Cokers ear.

Game plan wise, it seems to be business as usual for the exciting Noons.

“I think I’m going to keep the fight standing and keep it exciting.  Whether you want to call it a war or whatever, it’s going to be like all my other fights.  I’m going to pick him apart and take him out.”

The undercard is stacked with local Houston fighters.  Matchups singed thus far (but still pending TDLR approval) are:

Chad “Robo” Robichaux (8-0) vs Humberto Deleon (5-3)

Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_20

Kierre Gooch (2-5) vs Adam Schindler (7-1)

Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_22

Artenas Young (2-1) vs Chad Cook (8-8)

Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_18

and famed BJJ instructor Draculino vs Houston MMA legend Rocky Long.  There is also a rumored (but as of now unconfirmed) fight between Rey Trujillo and Jose Santibanez.  This could be a very interesting fight if it happensbecause Trujillo is set to square of against Santibanez’s brother Daniel Pindeda at Legacy FC on July 31.

A special pre-sale ticket purchase opportunity for the event is available for “STRIKEFORCE Insider” e-newsletter subscribers (http://STRIKEFORCE.com/insider.html) until 10 p.m. CT this Thursday, July 15.  STRIKEFORCE Insiders receive a special e-newsletter with the pre-sale code.

Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, July 16, at 10 a.m. CT at www.ToyotaCenterTix.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX, at select Houston area Randalls locations, and at www.strikeforce.com. Tickets will be available at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 19, at Toyota Center Box Office.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS

PICTURES

(Click to enlarge)

Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_01 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_02 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_03 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_04 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_05 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_06 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_07 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_08 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_09 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_10 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_11 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_12 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_13 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_14 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_15 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_16 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_17 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_01 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_02 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_03 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_04 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_05 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_06 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_07 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_08 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_09 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_10 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_11 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_12 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_13 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_14 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_15 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_16 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_17 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_18 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_19 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_20 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_21 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_22 Strikeforce_kickoff_presser_H_23

TWEETS

Here is some of the stuff we tweeted from the press conference, that we didn’t mention in the write up.  You can follow us at http://twitter.com/TheCageDoor:

  • Strikeforce says the are partnering with EA sports to produce a new MMA vid game.
  • KJ Noons says he’s working on his “spandex guard”
  • King Mo says he’d “wear out” Rampage Jackson
  • Tickets for the card start at $35
  • Tim Kennedy’s suits are money
  • Noons, “if you don’t respect the sport, it won’t respect you”
  • Noons says he will fight Diaz again…and take his belt.


Tags: