KENT (June 17, 2009) – “Cowboy Karate” founder and submission wrestling expert Dennis “Superman” Hallman (40-12-2) along with his Victory Athletics teammates Cory “The One” Devela (9-2), Brian Caraway (10-3), Len Bentley (3-2), and Steve Hadsel (1-0) entertained the local media and fans at a special open workout session at Vision Quest Sport and Fitness in Auburn, Washington on Wednesday, June 17, two days before their respective bouts on the Strikeforce Challengers mixed martial arts (MMA) event at ShoWare Center.
Hallman, who was originally scheduled to take on Cedric Marks, will face Justin Davis (11-7) on Friday.
The five competitors took their skills to Vision Quest’s mats and demonstrated their superior wrestling skills for which Victory is known.
Here is what the fighters said:
“I’ve had a couple of opponent changes. Justin Davis stepped up at the last moment. He’s a bigger guy so I’m going to go up in weight and fight him. He’s got good knockout power so my gameplan is going to have to be to neutralize his striking, take the fight to the mat where I’m the best in the world, and finish the fight with a submission.”
On his future in MMA: “I want to get the win and, then, things are kind of up in the air. I want to fight some more and build myself into a title contender and see if I can land a title.”
“I want to show everybody I’m better than I was before. Before, I was kind of untrained and slacking in my work ethic. Now, I’ve trained a lot harder and I’m definitely going to show it Friday.”
On Friday’s matchup with Luke Rockhold (4-1): “I’ve worked a lot on my stand up. From what I’ve seen this guy isn’t going to want to stand with me anyway. He’s going to try and shoot in and wrestle with me and that’s my strongest point, especially from having Dennis Hallman as my coach.”
“I’m really excited to fight in Strikeforce. This is my home state so I’m going to have a lot of friends and family out there on Friday. That gave me a lot of motivation to train as hard as possible for this fight.”
“I’m fighting a guy named Alex Zuniga. I’ve watched most of his amateur career. He’s not super technical in any area. I think I’m quite a bit better in every area, but he’s got power and he’s explosive
and he’s got an unorthodox style. If I stay nice and tight, it should be a pretty nice and easy victory for me.”
“I’m in the best shape I’ve been in. The guy I’m fighting — I think I’ve got better ground (skills) and better stand-up skills. I think I’ll probably end it in the first or second — always with a knockout or a TKO.”
On Friday’s matchup with Marques Daniels (1-2): “I know he’s tough. He’s a very athletic opponent. He’s not going to get tired. I’ve seen him fight. He fought one of our teammates (Sterling Ford) before. He’s dynamic, but he’s a small 155 pounder. I feel like my boxing outclasses his. My grappling, for sure, outclasses his. I want to keep the fight standing, give everybody an exciting fight, and knock him out.”
Tickets for the Strikeforce Challengers event, priced from $32, are on sale at the ShoWare Center Box Office (253-856-6999 or 877-840-0457), online at ShoWareCenter.com, and at www.strikeforce.com.
The live SHOWTIME telecast of the event will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast) and will include up to five bouts.
Middleweight (185 pound) powerhouses “Smokin” Joey Villasenor (26-6) and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (16-12) will face off in the card’s main event.
Decorated United States Army Ranger Tim Kennedy (9-2) will square off with seasoned veteran Nick “The Goat” Thompson (38-10-1) in a middleweight contest.
Sarah Kaufman (9-0) will attempt to continue her unbeaten run against submission specialist Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (11-5) in Strikeforce’s historic, first-ever five-round women’s bout, a 135 pound matchup.
Jorge Gurgel (12-5) will battle Conor “Hurricane” Heun (8-2) in a lightweight (155 pound) battle.
Undefeated Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (9-0) will face his toughest test to date when he goes up against seasoned knockout artist Duane “Bang” Ludwig (18-8) in another lightweight matchup.
ShoWare Center doors will open for the Strikeforce Challengers event at 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. PT.
Strikeforce’s affair at the Tacoma Dome on February 28, 2008 marked the largest live gate in the history of any boxing, MMA, or kickboxing event in Washington State.
Strikeforce Challengers is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. It provides today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.