June 4, 2006; New York, NY….Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort, will distribute autographed, sample copies of his forthcoming autobiography, My Life, to all those on hand for his long-awaited rematch with rival, Alistair “The Demolition” Overeem at San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion on Friday. The matchup will headline the 10-bout Strikeforce “Revenge” card.
According to “The Phenom,” the sample copies contain select pages from the entire work that is intended to give fans insight into “the life of Vitor” both before and after he took up martial arts and to demonstrate the way prize fighting has impacted his life.
“I’m gonna bring 20,000 little books to this event and give to each one of the spectators,” said the 29-year-old Belfort, while taking a break from his training camp in Brazil, one week prior to the showdown in San Jose. “This is the least I can do for my fans after all the support they’ve given me all these years. I’m very glad to see this happen.”
Belfort’s return to the cage comes off the heels of his successful debut in the sport of professional boxing. In a bout contested in Salvador, Brazil, Belfort put his magical hands to work and scored a first round knockout on Josemario Neves.
The initial meeting between Overeem and Belfort took place on April 23rd of last year during Pride’s “Total Elimination 2005” at Osaka, Japan’s Osaka Dome. The bout came to an end 9 minutes and 36 seconds into the first round (Note: Pride Fighting Championship schedules the first round of its bouts for 10 minutes) after Overeem, a kickboxer with strong submission skills, slapped a guillotine choke on Belfort.
“He fought good, man. I don’t like to give excuse, but I wasn’t there,” commented Belfort on the outcome of his first encounter with Overeem. “It was his day. He deserved it. He had his chance. Now, it’s another day, another time, so it’s gonna be different.”
A six-time veteran of the Japan-based Pride Fighting Championship, Belfort burst onto the mixed martial arts scene at age 19 in 1996 and quickly gained distinction for his explosive punching prowess that outshined his superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills.
While Belfort has claimed victories over a host of big names in the sport including Randy Couture, Heath Herring, and Gilbert Yvel, it was his stunning 44 second stoppage of Wanderlei Silva on October 16, 1998 that remains his greatest conquest to date as well as one of the sport’s most memorable moments. A technical knockout was declared after Belfort unloaded an onslaught of punches that forced Silva back from one end of the cage to the other.
Belfort is a former member of Brazilian Top Team, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu squad founded by legendary and recently deceased trainer, Carlson Gracie.
Another rematch on the Strikeforce “Revenge” bill will pit World San Shou kickboxing champion Cung Le opposite “Mr. Unbreakable” Brian Warren. Le, whose start marks his second career appearance under mixed martial arts rules, defeated Warren by way of unanimous decision in a bout contested under San Shou rules in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 30, 2004.
Twenty-two year old Tyson Griffin will put his untarnished record on the line when he takes on K-1 and UFC veteran, Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
Light heavyweights Bobby Southworth and James Irvin will also collide during the event. Southworth introduced himself to the masses during Spike TV’s premiere season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series two years ago.
Strikeforce 155 pound champion, Clay Guida, will set out to defend his crown for the first time since he captured the vacant title by persevering over four-time UFC fight winner and Bay Area favorite, Josh “The Punk” Thomson. Thomson will also return to battle and attempt to steer his career back on track.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar, Daniel Puder, will make his third career mixed martial arts appearance during the event
Tickets for Strikeforce “Revenge” are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) outlets and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com). An arena seating chart can be easily accessed by visiting Strikeforce’s official website, www.strikeforceusa.net, and clicking on the “Tickets” link.
Strikeforce made history twice over on March 10th 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 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.