HOUSTON (July 13, 2010) â€“ After weeks of speculation, Strikeforce formally announced that they are indeed coming to Houston. Â They will be having a World Championship Doubleheader at the Toyota Center on Saturday, Aug. 21, that will also be aired live on SHOWTIMEÂ® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Champion â€œKing Moâ€ Lawal (7-0) will make the first defense of his belt against devastating striker Rafael â€œFeijaoâ€™â€™ 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.
â€œFeijao likes to bang so this is going to be an exciting fight.Â Iâ€™m going to show you all some new things Iâ€™ve been working on.â€ 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 doesnâ€™t change.Â Going into every fight, I feel like both a champion and a challenger because I challenge myself in training, but Iâ€™m always champion in my mind.Â Â 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.
â€œIâ€™m proud to say that Iâ€™m a Texan now.Â I live in Austin.Â I hope that all of Texas will come out to support me as I fight to win the belt.”
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.Â (In the cage), thereâ€™s a guy in a black shirt wearing latex gloves whoâ€™s going to protect me.Â Itâ€™s much different than battling a guy whoâ€™s hiding behind a rock with a cell phone, waiting to blow me up.Â So, this is fun.Â I love fighting.Â Itâ€™s a huge sport and Iâ€™m a huge fan of it.Â Itâ€™s totally different.”
Undefeated heavyweight and form WWE star Bobby Lashley (5-0), will return to the cage against an opponent to be announced. Â 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.
â€œI think Iâ€™ve progressed well.Â The Bobby Lashley who fought my first fight is completely different from Bobby Lashley now.Â Â Iâ€™m anxious to get back out there.Â Â I had a little setback and when I finally got cleared. I called (STRIKEFORCE CEOÂ Scott)Â CokerÂ and begged him to be on this card.â€
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 NoonsÂ (11-2). Â 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.
â€œIâ€™m very excited to come back to Texas.Â I finished high school here.Â My mom and my dad are here.Â The fans are awesome here.Â 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 Iâ€™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 heÂ defiantlyÂ planted the bug in Strikeforce CEO Scott Cokers ear.
Game plan wise, it seems to be business as usual for the exciting Noons.
â€œI think Iâ€™m going to keep the fight standing and keep it exciting.Â Whether you want to call it a war or whatever, itâ€™s going to be like all my other fights.Â Iâ€™m going to pick him apart and take him out.”
The undercard is stacked with local Houston fighters. Â Matchups singed thus far (but still pending TDLR approval) are:
Kierre Gooch (2-5) vs Adam Schindler (7-1)
and famed BJJ instructor Draculino vs Houston MMA legend Rocky Long. Â There is also a rumored (but as of now unconfirmed) fight between Rey Trujillo and Jose Santibanez. Â 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 â€œSTRIKEFORCE Insiderâ€ e-newsletter subscribers (http://STRIKEFORCE.com/insider.html) until 10 p.m. CT this Thursday, July 15.Â 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.
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Here is some of the stuff we tweeted from the press conference, that we didn’t mention in the write up. Â 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.