(PRESS RELEASE) New York, NY — World championship mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE will return to its roots when it brings its Challengers fight series to The Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California on Friday, February 26. Topping the card will be a middleweight (185 pounds) contest between wrestling powerhouse Trevor Prangley (22-5) and Karl Amoussou (11-2-1).
Undefeated power puncher Sarah Kaufman (10-0) will challenge Japan’s Takayo Hashi (12-1) in the first STRIKEFORCE women’s world bantamweight (135 pounds) championship matchup in history while Luke Rockhold (6-1), one of MMA’s brightest up and comers, will take on Paul Bradley (12-1) at middleweight.
Tickets for the first STRIKEFORCE Challengers event of 2010, priced from $30, go on sale at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow/Friday, January 22 at The San Jose Civic Auditorium box office, Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) and online at Ticketmaster.com and STRIKEFORCE.com.
Since 1993 when STRIKEFORCE was founded as a kickboxing series, The San Jose Civic Auditorium has played host to numerous events produced by the organization that more recently emerged a leading promoter of MMA contests.
Prangley, a former national wrestling champion for South Africa who ventured to The United States years ago in order to further his wrestling career, will put on the line a five fight win streak that began with his unanimous judges’ decision victory over Anthony Ruiz during STRIKEFORCE’s event at the world famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on September 20, 2008. The 37-year-old also finished as runner up in STRIKEFORCE’s four man tournament, the first sanctioned single elimination MMA event in California state history, on November 16, 2007.
The 24-year-old Amoussou, known for his devastating knockout power and unorthodox fighting style, hails from France and is an expert in Judo as well as Savate. He brings a three fight win streak with him to the STRIKEFORCE cage.
Kaufman is a 24-year-old former professional ballet dancer who stumbled upon MMA after a martial arts school opened underneath her dance studio in Victoria, Canada. Her mellow demeanor outside the cage is a stark contrast to her ferocity inside it, which has helped her knock out 8 of her 10 opponents.
In her last effort, Kaufman earned a unanimous judges’ decision over Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler during the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event at Kent Washington’s ShoWare Center on June 19, 2009.
In other action, James Terry (7-1) of San Jose will square off with Tarec Saffiedine (7-2) of Temecula, California in a welterweight (170 pounds) bout while Raul Castillo (6-0) of Half Moon Bay, California will face fellow unbeaten middleweight Yancy Medeiros (4-0) of Waianae, Hawaii.
San Jose Civic Auditorium doors will open for the STRIKEFORCE event at 5:15 p.m. PT. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the first main card bout will begin at 8.00 p.m.
The live SHOWTIME® telecast of the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event will begin at 11 p.m. E.T./P.T. (delayed on the west coast).
STRIKEFORCE in March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on premium cable television network SHOWTIME. The promotion made its live, primetime debut on CBS with the “Fedor vs. Rogers” mega-fight that it co-promoted with M-1 Global on Saturday, November 7 and generated 5.46 million viewers for the main event between the world’s number one heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, and superstar Brett “The Grim” Rogers.
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.