SAN JOSE, Calif. – A broken toe will sideline Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson from his scheduled title defense against Yves Edwards (34-14-1) in the main event of Strikeforce “Destruction” at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 21st. World Muay Thai champion and mixed martial arts (MMA) knockout artist, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (17-8), will step up to face Edwards in the cage at a catch weight of 164 lbs.
Thomson sustained torn ligaments in one of his toes during a routine training session last week. He is expected to be out of action for several months.
The 30-year-old Ludwig is coming off a sensational first round stoppage of Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan, a veteran of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter,” on Friday, October 3rd. He has since remained in top physical form while preparing other competitors for battle.
Ludwig is no stranger to imposing victories. The Denver, Colorado native shattered the all-time record for quickest finish in MMA history when he delivered a crushing right hand that leveled Jonathan Goulet only 11 seconds into their Spike TV live, televised matchup on January 16, 2006. To date, the record still stands.
A former professional kickboxer who crossed over to the hybrid combat sport that is MMA, Ludwig reached the pinnacle of his professional kickboxing career when he captured the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Junior Middleweight Muay Thai championship in Denver in January 2004. The victory was by no means simple as he was forced to contend with Thailand native Malaipet Sitprapom in a five-round, toe-to-toe war before earning a unanimous decision from the judges.
Ludwig displayed tremendous potential by winning 8 of his first 10 mixed martial arts contests, but it was his 11th start on January 25, 2003 in which he made his first big mark in the sport.
Matched with former UFC 155 pound champion, Jens “Little Evil” Pulver, in the main event of a star-studded card at Montreal, Canada’s Pierre Charbonneau Centre, Ludwig shocked those looking on when he caught Pulver with a punishing right hand that prompted the referee to call a stoppage to the bout at the 1:13 mark of the bout’s first round.
Like Ludwig, Edwards has triumphed over a number of other notable rivals, including Rich Clementi, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, James Edson Berto, and Hermes Franca, whom Edwards defeated twice.
Edwards, a native of The Bahamas, took up Karate at age nine and, soon after, began studying Kung-Fu. After relocating to Houston, Texas at the age of 15, he fell in love with mixed martial arts (MMA) and gradually immersed himself in various components of the sport, most notably Muay Thai, western boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Edwards later dubbed his hybrid style of combat “Thug Jitsu.”
It is his passion for combat that recently lured Edwards to Coconut Creek, Florida, where the 11-year veteran of professional MMA has become a full fledged member of star-filled fight squad, American Top Team.
Tickets for Strikeforce “Destruction,” priced from $30, are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and on Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Champion, Bobby Southworth (9-5), will put his title on the line against top-ranked superstar, Renato “Babalu” Sobral (30-7).
Kim Couture (0-1), wife of mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Randy “The Natural” Couture, will make her Strikeforce debut against Lina Kvokov (0-1) in a 130 lb. limit contest.
Joe “Diesel” Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight (170 lb. limit) division in a featured contest with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Luke Stewart (6-1).
K-1 Dream veteran, Darren Uyenoyama (4-2), will return to action before his hometown fans when he meets Brad Royster (1-1).
HP Pavilion doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for Strikeforce “Destruction” and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. The main card will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The live HDNet telecast of Strikeforce “Destruction” will begin at 10 p.m. EST (7 p.m. PST).
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007. On April 12th of this year, Strikeforce launched the first-ever 52 week MMA series on one of the four major television networks in The U.S. — NBC.