NEW YORK (August 7, 2009)-American military hero and rising mixed martial arts (MMA) star Tim Kennedy (10-2) will return to the cage to battle power-punching Brazilian and middleweight (185 pounds) rival Evangelista Cyborg (16-13) in the main event of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers card from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s SpiritBank Event Center on Friday, September 25, live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets for the event, priced from $25, go on sale Monday, August 10, at 10 a.m. CT and will be available for purchase at the SpiritBank Event Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
“I think we’re both pretty explosive fighters and we both show up to fight. We both like to throw some big bombs so it’s a good matchup,” said the 29-year-old Kennedy, who recently accepted an offer to serve in the Texas National Guard after spending six years in The United States Army, the last three as a sniper in the Seventh Special Forces Group.
In his last start, on June 19 at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, on STRIKEFORCE Challengers, Kennedy dominated Nick “The Goat” Thompson, stopping him on the ground with an onslaught of punches in the second round (2:37).
“I don’t think anybody can really plan to see what I’m coming in to do this time,” said Kennedy. “I’m working with the best boxing coaches and training with Mark DeLaGrotte, one of the best MMA striking coaches in the world, so I think that people are going to see a new Tim that they’ve never seen before.
“Strikeforce has a whole bunch of guys in my weight class who I match up very well with. They pretty much have control of the whole 185-pound division barring two exceptions. I want to fight all of these guys and put on a good show for SHOWTIME and STRIKEFORCE.”
A graduate of Columbia College in Missouri, Kennedy launched his professional MMA career shortly before enlisting in the military near the end of 2001.
“After 9/11 happened, I wanted to do something for my country,” he explained. Kennedy’s new job will allow him to remain in the armed services while maintaining enough flexibility to take his MMA career to the next level.
“The military is my life,” said Kennedy. “I am going to serve as long as they’ll let me. I’d love to retire in uniform.”
The 31-year-old Cyborg is looking to turn his fortunes around after suffering two straight defeats, the last to the hands of Joey Villasenor in an exciting, hard-fought main event of the June 19 STRIKEFORCE Challengers event.
“I was just a little bit out of rhythm and was coming off an injury so my training was not 100 percent,” explained Cyborg of his showing against Villasenor, which marked Cyborg’s first start in nearly nine months. “This is not an excuse. It’s just something natural that all athletes go through when they stop fighting for a long period of time.
“I believe I will be able to do the opposite this time from the Villasenor fight where we stood up and punched each other. I think I will finally be able to show my Jiu-Jitsu game and surprise a lot of people.”
Cyborg is a member of the famed Chute Boxe fight squad that has produced a number of MMA’s finest champions including Anderson Silva, Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva, and brothers Mauricio “Shogun” and Murilo “Ninja” Rua. Cyborg’s wife and training partner, Cris Cyborg, is preparing for the biggest fight of her life — a long-awaited, STRIKEFORCE women’s 145 pound championship showdown with top rival Gina “Conviction” Carano — on Saturday, August 15, on SHOWTIME.
World championship MMA promotion STRIKEFORCE will produce the event at SpiritBank Event Center along with eXtreme Fighting promoter and five-time world kickboxing champion Dale “Apollo” Cook.
SpiritBank Event Center doors will open at 7:15 p.m. CT for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event and the first preliminary bout will begin at 8:00 p.m.
The live SHOWTIME telecast of STRIKEFORCE Challengers will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Strikeforce Challengers is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. The series is designed to provide today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.
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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.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of Strikeforce, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.