(Fort Worth, Texas – March 28, 2006) What boxing was to Fort Worth in the 1980s and to America in the 20th century, the fast-rising sport of mixed martial arts is to Fort Worth in 2006 and America in the 21st century.
Big-time fights are back in Fort Worth, and they return in an all-new and updated format. The inaugural event of the fight group InternationalFreestyle Fighting (IFF), set to occur on May 6, 2006, at Will Rogers Coliseum, brings exciting mixed martial arts action to town, and features the best fighters from Texas matched against top competition from around the country. The card is headlined by Fort Worth resident Travis Lutter, who is hoping to build on the momentum of his first-round submission win over vale tudo legend Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons last February.
Fort Worth and MMA are a perfect fit. No other city in Texas enjoys the rich fight tradition of Fort Worth. The city has produced six boxing world champions, including such legendary fighters as Paulie Ayala andDonald Curry. For decades, the city has hosted the state Golden Gloves tournament. Some of boxing’s all-time greats have passed through the state Golden Gloves in Fort Worth on their way to fame and fortune.
As Fort Worth embraces this new sport, it retains its reputation as a progressive city while it stays true to its roots and character.
IFF’s show on May 6 brings together a wealth of fighting talent. Lutter (8-3) is set to take on Cedric “Spiderman” Marks (22-13), of Bremerton,Washington. In addition to Marks and Lutter, who is a veteran of the UFC and a black belt in the fighting art Brazilian jiu jitsu, the card brings in fellow UFC veteran Gerald Strebendt, who will face Dallas residentShervin Alavi. Alavi, a kickboxer and Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist who has enjoyed success on a more localized basis, is stepping up to face a significant challenge. Strebendt is a tough and talented MMA fighter, with significant international competitive experience. UFC commentator and grappling innovator Eddie Bravo calls Strebendt his “top student.”
Ricardeau “Long Play” Francois, of Montreal, perhaps best known for his knockout of UFC veteran Wes Sims, will take on Eric Schambari in a battle of light heavyweights. Other fights will feature American Top Team and Team Jorge Gurgel fighters against some of Texas’ best.
Tickets go on sale on Saturday, April 1, and will available online at http://www.centralticketoffice.com/. Prices start at $25