CHICAGO (Nov. 7, 2009) – The stakes will be high when STRIKEFORCE closes out a spectacular 2009 with the return of one of the most prolific and exciting fighters in Mixed Martial Arts – unbeaten former STRIKEFORCE world middleweight champion Cung Le, who will headline a star-studded lineup at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, Dec. 19, on SHOWTIME.
Joining the legendary Le (6-0) will be five other outstanding and widely recognized 185-pound stalwarts, Scott “Hands Of Steel” Smith (16-6), “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (16-5), Matt “The Law” Lindland (21-6) and highly regarded STRIKEFORCE newcomers Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (10-2) and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (5-0), who will be making their respective highly anticipated debuts for the organization. Souza will face Lindland. Opponents for Lawler and “King Mo” will be announced soon.
A special pre-sale ticket purchase opportunity will take place for “STRIKEFORCE Insider” e-newsletter subscribers (www.strikeforce.com) beginning at 10:00 AM, PT Tuesday, Nov. 10, and ending at 10 PM, PT on Thursday, Nov. 12. “STRIKEFORCE Insiders” will receive a special e-newsletter today with the pre-sale code.
Tickets, priced from $30, go on sale to the general public at 10:00 AM, PT on Friday, Nov. 13 at the HP Pavilion ticket office as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’S official website (www.strikeforce.com).
A cross-over star who also has made a name for himself in Hollywood, the popular Le has never lost a fight in his decorated career as a professional. He`s perfect in MMA, kickboxing (22-0) and Sanshou (17-0).
Le, who recently relinquished his STRIKEFORCE belt to concentrate on a movie career — his latest flick, Pandorum, was released recently and another movie, Tekken, is due out soon — will be making his first start since dismantling the renowned Frank Shamrock on March 29, 2008, at HP Pavilion.
In an impressive performance, Le kicked the daylights out of Shamrock, breaking Shamrock’s arm in the process of winning by third-round TKO. Shamrock could not come out for the fourth round.
The 5-foot-10, 37-year-old Le was born in Saigon, South Vietnam, and moved to San Jose when he was 10. In 1994, he had his first amateur fight and turned pro in 1998. His main concentrations were in Sanshou and kickboxing until 2005. His MMA debut came in March 2006. Smith, of Sacramento, Calif., has won two of three and registered 13 knockouts in his 16 victories.
A game, exciting Muay Thai specialist and one of the most dangerous strikers in the business, Smith is a KO artist who comes out throwing bombs with an abandon.
A fighter who detests fights that go that distance, Smith has fought the likes of Nick Diaz and Lawler twice but will forever be remembered most for his dramatic, comeback, highlight-reel victory over Pete “Drago” Sell in one of the most unexpected, shocking endings to a fight in MMA
Souza, a 2008 Dream Middleweight Grand Prix runner-up, is a submission wizard who signed with STRIKEFORCE earlier this year. “Jacare,” which is Portuguese for the species of alligator that inhabit Manaus, the town in Brazil where he was born, took up Jiu Jitsu at the age of 17.
The talented, six-foot-tall, 29-year-old Souza held MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture to a draw in a grappling contest in 2006 and, shortly thereafter, began training at Xtreme Couture. He has long since returned to training in his homeland.
Souza established his position as a top tier 185-pounder after placing second in the 2008 Dream single elimination tournament in Japan. Souza, who won a decision over “Mayhem” Miller earlier in the Dream Grand Prix, is coming off a no-contest with “Mayhem” in his most recent start on May 26, 2009. Souza had won eight in a row before losing to world-class, top-five middleweight, Gegard Mousasi, in his outing before last in the finals of the Dream tourney on Sept. 23, 2008.
Lindland is the 2000 Olympic Games silver medalist who holds wins against Pat Miletich, former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton and Jeremy Horn. The comebacking Lindland is one of only two men to submit Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Travis Lutter.
Lawler, who fights out of Granite City, Ill., is known for utterly destroying opponents with an aggressive, unbashful, swing-for-the-fences, almost, at times, reckless style of fighting. A southpaw who has never turned down a fight, Lawler possesses enormous punching power, usually aimed at an opponent’s head.
A fan favorite who matches the strength behind his punches with unexpected flying knee kicks, the 5-foot-11, 27-year-old has long been regarded as one of the world’s top middleweights. Since October 2006, EliteXC’s last middleweight belt-holder and former two-time ICON Sport middleweight titlist is 5-1 with one no-contest.
The charismatic, outspoken “King Mo” will be making his United States debut after fighting five times in Japan where the 5-foot-11, 28-year-old of Temecula, Calif., by way of Mufiesboro, Tenn., became an instant fan favorite and is extremely popular.
A former three-time U.S. Senior National and NCAA wrestling champion, “King Mo” turned pro on Sept. 28, 2008.
“King Mo,” whose public feud with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been well-documented, has won four of his five pro fights by knockout (punches), three in the first round. In his last outing, a member of “Team Thirsty” and “Team GDP” required all of 25 seconds to dispatch of Mark Kerr.
Doors at HP Pavilion will open at 5 p.m. PT for the STRIKEFORCE: “Evolution” event presented by Rockstar Energy Drink and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6:00 PM, PT.
The live SHOWTIME telecast, which will include as many as five bouts, will begin at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).