September 5, 2006; New York, NY….Former Spike TV reality fighter, Bobby Southworth, will battle fellow light heavyweight (205 pound limit) contender, Anthony “A Train” Ruiz, during the Strikeforce mixed martial arts mega-card at Fresno, California’s 14,000 crowd capacity Save Mart Center on Saturday, October 7th.
“I feel the best I’ve ever felt in all of my experience in sports,” said the 36-year-old Southworth, a former collegiate basketball player who introduced himself to the masses two years ago after being selected to compete on the premiere season of The Ultimate Fighter. In the running with seven other light heavyweights, Southworth reached the semifinal round of elimination 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). “Every fight I go into, I’m trying to be prepared for everything whether it’s standing or on the ground.”
One of the sport’s more vocal athletes, Southworth became a central focus on the hit show, namely for his ongoing feud with middleweight contestant, Chris Leben. “Even though I didn’t win the show, I was probably the most visible character on it,” noted Southworth. “I was in every single episode. Even after the episode in which I was eliminated, the first 20 minutes of the next show was still devoted to the exchange that (UFC President) Dana White and I had.”
Prior to making his debut on national television, Southworth was instrumental in establishing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program offered at San Jose, California’s American Kickboxing Academy. He also spearheaded the formation of a team of top mixed martial arts competitors at the gym.
Ruiz, a 28 year old resident of Oakhurst, California, brings to Strikeforce a respectable professional record of 14-9. An advocate of the ground and pound method of combat, he is coming off of two straight victories, the second of which he produced on August 17th by unloading an onslaught of strikes on a defenseless Jeremy Freitag.
“There’s pretty much nothing (Southworth) can do to win the fight,” said an exceptionally confident Ruiz. “I think I’m gonna take it pretty easily. My conditioning will be key. He’s not going to be able to keep up.”
Earlier this year, Ruiz found a new home at AAA Academy of Kickboxing, the training center responsible for molding kickboxer Carter Williams into a Las Vegas K-1 tournament champion three years ago. ”I pretty much have got what it takes.
I’ve got the heart and I’m tough as hell so they’re just kinda making me a little bit technical, which is exactly what I need because I’ve lost by stupid mistakes sometimes,” said Ruiz.
Tickets for the October 7th Strikeforce event are on sale at Ticketmaster (559-485-TIXS) and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) as well as at the Save Mart Center box office and at select Save Mart supermarkets. Tickets are priced at $201.75, $151.75, $101.75, $76.75, $51.75, and $31.75.
The card will be comprised of 10 mixed martial arts bouts including a headlining matchup between heavyweight sluggers, David “Tank” Abbott and Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello. Lightweight stars Josh “The Punk” Thomson and Duane “Bang” Ludwig will battle one another while Wesley “Cabbage” Correira will square off with Ruben “Warpath” Villareal in a heavyweight contest. All bouts are subject to approval by the California State Athletic Commission.
The Save Mart Center is home to the Fresno State University men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as minor league hockey squad, The Fresno Falcons.
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion that, on Friday, March 10th, 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 18,265 fans, the largest-ever attendance at a mixed martial arts fight card held in North America.