WORLD KICKBOXING CHAMP SET FOR MMA DEBUT AT STRIKEFORCE
October 29, 2007; San Jose, CA….Undefeated 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 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’m really loving training right now, which is good, because, at the end of my (kickboxing) career, I was a little burnt out and wasn’t training like I should. Since I’ve been back, though, I just got that fire again,” said the 33-year-old Schwartz, who originally closed the book on his fight career after stopping New York’s Michael Corleone in the fifth round of their kickboxing matchup in San Jose on October 21, 2005.
According to the 6 foot 3 inch Foster City, California native, it was watching a number of young mixed martial arts contenders at work in Schwartz’s new Undisputed Boxing Gym that inspired him to take on a new challenge in the world’s fastest growing sport. “I’m training hard in the gym and my road work has been really good,” he said. “Everything it should be like when you train is happening for me right now.”
After taking up Tae Kwon Do at the age of five, Schwartz went on to join the professional Sport Karate circuit and, later, became one of the most dominant superstars in full-contact rules kickboxing, a hybrid sport combining Karate and western boxing. With the help of former world boxing and kickboxing champion, Eddie Croft, Schwartz finally realized his longtime dream on November 12, 2004 when he captured the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Super Middleweight Full-Contact Kickboxing Championship by earning a 12 round unanimous judges’ decision over four-time kickboxing champion, Tom “The Bee” Bottone, at San Jose’s Civic Auditorium.
The greatest challenge that comes with any stand-up fighter’s transition to mixed martial arts, of course, is the ability to adapt to the grappling element of the sport. With this in mind, Team Schwartz has been working with the likes of UFC veteran, Tim Lajcik. “It’s very different from what I’m used to,” admitted Schwartz, “but we spend a lot of time on takedown defense and, if you get taken down, how to stand back up.”
Schwartz’s first mixed martial arts opponent, Davis, also boasts a rich background in striking, a factor that led to his recruitment two years ago with Chuck Norris’s World Combat League (WCL). Still a competitor in the organization, the 30-year-old three-time kickboxing champion, who hails from Greenville, North Carolina, has seen action in four WCL events to date.
At 5 feet 8 inches tall, Davis will be at a significant height disadvantage in the matchup with Schwartz. His experience in mixed martial arts where he has 12 bouts under his belt, however, makes Davis a clear-cut threat to his opponent if the fight goes to the mat. “When he tries to throw something long, I’ll try to scoop him and take him down to the ground,” said Davis.
Schwartz will become the second world champion from Strikeforce’s kickboxing roster to cross over to the sport of mixed martial arts. On March 10th of last year, World Light Heavyweight San Shou Champion, Cung Le, made his long-awaited debut in the cage and stopped rival Mike Altman during a featured contest on the Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Gracie” affair, the first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts event in the state of California.
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.
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.