Southworth Battles Irvin At Strikeforce

May 7, 2006; New York, NY….Light heavyweights (205 lb. limit) Bobby Southworth and James Irvin will square off with one another in the cage during Strikeforce’s second mixed martial arts fight card that will take place at San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion on Friday, June 9th.

No stranger to the limelight, the 36-year-old Southworth introduced himself to the masses two years ago after he became one of 16 fighters selected to compete on the premiere season of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” Southworth finished as runner-up amongst seven other light heavyweights on the 12 week reality series that sent one of its original 16 contestants home each week and awarded its winner in each of two weight classes a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

“I know Bobby’s a solid ground fighter. I saw him on The Ultimate Fighter just like everyone else. But, he hasn’t fought in a year so I’m going to try to use that and my age to my advantage,” said the 27-year-old Irvin, a three-time veteran of the UFC. Irvin’s best showing in the octagon came on August 20th of last year when he scored a thrilling second round knockout on fellow contender, Terry Martin, with a flying knee strike. “My best is still yet to come. I’m progressing and evolving as a fighter every day.”

A resident of Cirus Heights, California, Irvin has demonstrated in competition a superior level of versatility, an attribute that he credits to his training with both the Capital City Fighting Alliance squad that specializes in submission wrestling and Fairtex Combat Sports Camp where he has honed his striking skills under Muay Thai master trainer, “Dr. Knee” Ganyao Phicheat Arunleung. “I enjoy standing and kicking and punching. I can use my athleticism a little more than I can on the ground,” said Irvin. “Lets face it – it’s hard to catch up to people who have wrestled their whole lives. So, that’s my window of opportunity – to stand and knock people out.”

Irvin is coming off a hard-fought victory over William Hill that he earned during the International Fighting Championship (IFC) in Sacramento, California on April 1st. After taking an unintentional blow to the groin in the first round of action, Irvin rebounded and gained the upper hand with a ground and pound strategy. His gutsy effort convinced all three judges to award him the victory after three rounds.

“At the beginning of my career, I had a couple of ground and pound wins, but no one liked it and no one seemed to want to see me fight. So I started standing and knocking people out,” explained Irvin. “That was the first time I’ve taken someone down in a

long time and I actually had a good time in doing it. I still like fighting on the ground so I think I may do it a little more often.”

Tickets for the Strikeforce mixed martial arts cage fighting event, which will be comprised of 12 bouts, are officially on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) outlets and Ticketmaster online (

On Friday, March 10th, Strikeforce made history twice over 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 the HP Pavilion, played host to 18,265 fans, the largest-ever attendance at a mixed martial arts fight card held in North America.

The Strikeforce mixed martial arts event is being promoted and produced by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment (SVS&E,, a leading producer of major sporting and entertainment events and the exclusive producer of such events for San Jose, California’s largest entertainment venue, HP Pavilion. SVS&E’s many properties include “Fight Night at the Tank” professional boxing; the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks; and the annual ATP men’s professional tennis “SAP Open” event.

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Michael Afromowitz