Unbeatens Puder and Cook Face Off At Strikeforce

November 15, 2006; New York, NY….Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star, Daniel Puder, will put his perfect professional mixed martial arts fight record on the line against another undefeated up and coming heavyweight, Mike Cook, during Strikeforce’s “Triple Threat” world championship fight card being presented by BodogFIGHT at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California on Friday, December 8th.

“I’m gonna come out guns blazing, as usual,” said the 24-year-old Puder, whose record stands at 3-0 since he submitted Tommy Tuggle in a mere 28 seconds with an armbar during Strikeforce “Revenge,” which also took place at the HP Pavilion on June 9th. “I’ve been training hard and I’m in fantastic shape. I could go five rounds easily, but I’m looking for the quick finish.”

The winner of the WWE’s “Tuff Enough” reality television series two years ago, Puder’s triumph earned him a $1 million paycheck as well as a one year contract with the leading professional wrestling organization.

The pinnacle of Puder’s run on the UPN-televised reality show, which aired between October and December 2004, came when he was granted the opportunity to grapple with 1996 Olympic Gold medalist and professional wrestling legend, Kurt Angle. To the amazement of WWE officials and the millions of TV viewers looking on, Puder successfully placed Angle in a “kimura” submission hold, bringing about a tremendous upset victory for the young contender.

Before he became a recognizable TV star and hero, Puder, a former student of mixed martial arts legend Frank Shamrock, made his professional mixed martial arts debut in Japan on September 6, 2003. He earned a three round unanimous judges’ decision over fellow American Jay McCown.

Puder’s big heart holds more than his love for sport combat, which explains why he dedicates a great deal of his leisure time to helping the youth of Northern California. His two non-profit organizations, “Puder Strength Training” and “Tough Enough Kids,” the second of which sends him on hospital visits to lift the spirits of terminally ill children, have had a significant impact on the community. “It’s a big reason why I’m doing professional sports,” he said. “Its nice to go into to a hospital where there’s a dying 12 year-old sad as hell and, when I walk in, he couldn’t be happier.”

On Friday, October 7th, Cook, also 24 years of age, notched the third victory of his professional career when he battered Carlton Jones into submission on the canvas during Strikeforce’s first-ever fight card in Fresno, California. Cook is a member of the Central Valley, California-based mixed martial arts squad, Team Rock Solid.

Tickets for Strikeforce “Triple Threat” 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). Tickets are priced at $200.00, $150.00, $100.00, $75.00, $50.00, and $40.00, and $30.00.

The December 8th card will feature Strikeforce’s first-ever 205 pound light heavyweight championship bout. Bobby Southworth, a veteran of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, will face off with hard-hitting road warrior and K-1 and Pride Fighting Championship veteran, Vernon “Tiger” White, for the vacant crown.

Making his third-career mixed martial arts start, undefeated world San Shou kickboxing champion, Cung Le, will face his toughest test to date in Jason “Live Wire” Von Flue, a contestant on season two of The Ultimate Fighter.

Off the heels of his victory on October 7th, lightweight sensation, Josh “The Punk” Thomson, will be challenged by another dangerous adversary in 23-year-old rising star, Nam Phan.

World Muay Thai champion and UFC and K-1 Max veteran, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, will move up to the 170 pound weight class to meet hard-nosed battler, Tony “The Freak” Fryklund.

Old rivals Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson and Ronald “The Machine Gun” Jhun will collide for the second time in their careers. Jhun is looking for payback eight years after Jackson submitted him with a forearm choke during a contest in Hawaii.

Strikeforce’s 155 pound lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez, will attempt to extend his perfect record to 14-0 when the San Francisco, California native mixes it up with an opponent that has yet to be named. Heavyweight contender, Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello, who stopped UFC legend David “Tank” Abbott on Strikeforce’s October 7th card, will also return to action against a yet to be named opponent.

The Strikeforce mixed martial arts event is being produced by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment (SVS&E, www.svse.net), 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.

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.

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Michael Afromowitz