November 4, 2007; San Jose, CA….Unbeaten world kickboxing champion and mixed martial artist Cung Le (20-0) will make his highly-anticipated return to the cage for a middleweight (185 lb. limit) showdown with The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 star Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-8) during the Strikeforce “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” mixed martial arts mega-card at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 16th.
“I just can’t wait to get back in the cage,” said Le, who, in his last effort, was a winner over Tony “The Freak” Fryklund by way of TKO in a featured bout during “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” the first-ever live SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event, produced by Strikeforce on June 22nd. Le frustrated and hammered Fryklund with quick hands and a combination of reverse spinning back kicks and round kicks to the body before the referee ordered a stoppage 25 seconds into the third round.
By easily handling Fryklund, a 10-year veteran of professional mixed martial arts and a former student of the world-renowned Miletich Fighting Systems, Le began to answer questions about whether his dominance in the world of kickboxing could translate to similar success in competition that allows combat on the ground as well as on the feet.
“I think the fight with Tony definitely proved that I have the ability to be a force in mixed martial arts,” said Le. “Being able to fight on your feet is just as important as being able to fight on the ground in this sport because the fight starts standing up. My ground game is still evolving but, as far as stand up goes, I feel I’m one of the strongest fighters out there.”
Le’s success in martial arts combat sports recently earned him a guest appearance on The History Channel hit documentary series, The Human Weapon. During an episode spotlighting the sport of mixed martial arts, the four-time K-1 Superfight champion and two-time captain of The United States San Shou Kickboxing team showed co-hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff the mechanics of kicking.
Like Le, Morgan conquered his last opponent with ease, finishing Sam Jackson with a rear naked choke in the opening round of their August 2nd meeting. The outing, Morgan’s first in just under a year, helped the Minnesota native reestablish his confidence before his upcoming debut at 185 pounds.
“This is a great fight for me” said the 26-year-old Morgan of the matchup with Le. “He’s a wonderful opponent and I’m gonna come out on top because it’s a bad fight for him. I’m not the same guy that was fighting on The Ultimate Fighter. I’ve changed and my goals have changed. I’m happy and excited about this fight because I know the outcome – me winning.”
A former welterweight (168 lb. limit), Morgan indicated that the recent changes he’s gone through, primarily an improvement of his mental toughness, were the greatest factor behind his decision to leap to the next weight class. “I feel that I’m that person that is up to the challenge and it’s in my grasp to take this fight and come out victorious,” he said. “I feel that right now where I’m at, it’s all or nothing.”
During his career at 168 lbs, Morgan earned a number of notable wins, including a knockout of world Muay Thai champion, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, and a submission of Aaron Riley. “I want to fight all the top name guys in this sport. I’m not scared of any of them. I want to take them all on.”
Presented by BodogFIGHT, Strikeforce “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” will be headlined by the first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts tournament in the state of California. Slated to compete in the four-man middleweight (185 lb. limit) playoff are Trevor Prangley (16-4), Falaniko Vitale (24-7), Yuki Sasaki (21-13-1), and Jorge Santiago (14-7).
Each tournament bout will consist of two, five-minute rounds. Brackets for the single-elimination event have yet to be determined.
In other action, heavyweight superstars Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello (23-9) and Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (25-11) will battle to become the first Strikeforce World Heavyweight Mixed Martial Arts Champion in history.
World Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion Brian “The Mad Stork” Schwartz (18-0) will step in the cage for the first time in his 16-year professional fighting career to face Lemont Davis (8-4) in a 175 lb. limit matchup
Tickets for the Strikeforce extravaganza are on sale at Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) as well as at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070). Ticket prices range from $30 to $200.
HP Pavilion doors will open for Strikeforce “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” at 5:30 PM PST on Friday, November 16th. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6 PM and the first tournament bout will commence at 7:30 PM.
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 produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22nd of this year followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29th.