May 12, 2006; New York, NY….Undefeated prospect, Tyson Griffin (6-0), will face his greatest test to date when he meets K-1 and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (13-4), during a featured fight on the 10-bout Strikeforce “Revenge” mixed martial arts mega-card, which will take place at San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion on Friday, June 9th.
“It’s a chance to put my skills out there against a well-known name and, basically, a big stepping stone in my career,” said Griffin, whose half-dozen professional mixed martial arts appearances have revealed a great deal of promise in the explosive 22-year-old native of Albany, California. To date, none of Griffin’s opponents have been able to take him the distance of a fight and only one has survived a full round of battle with him. “I’m definitely a ground and pound fighter. I like to hit guys and, usually, fights end up on the ground, so I’ll keep hitting them on the ground.”
A member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance squad, Griffin was introduced to the sport of mixed martial arts approximately three years ago after he befriended UFC competitor, Dave Terrell, who invited Griffin to one of his training sessions. “I was basically in the right place at the right time,” he explained.
Griffin’s grappling days began in high school where he was an all-star wrestler as well as a standout baseball and football player. His athletic achievements earned him recognition from Contra Costa Times, a local daily newspaper, which named Griffin one of Contra Costa County’s top 100 high school athletes in 2002. After graduation, Griffin went on to wrestle for Santa Rosa Junior College.
On paper, Ludwig’s greatest advantage in the Strikeforce matchup lies in his experience as well as the 27-year-old’s fearsome striking capabilities, which he has honed since taking up Muay Thai at the age of 15. On January 10, 2004, Ludwig captured the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Junior Middleweight (154 pound limit) Muay Thai championship by defeating Thai superstar, Malaipet Sitprapom, in Ludwig’s hometown of Denver, Colorado.
Since becoming a dominant force in the world of stand-up fighting, Ludwig has put his skills to work in the cage. Three and a half years ago, he made his first big mark in mixed martial arts by knocking out former UFC 155 pound limit champion, Jens Pulver.
On January 16th of this year, Ludwig returned to the UFC and scored a knockout on Jonathan Goulet only 11 seconds into their matchup by countering a left hand with a straight right punch to the chin that put Goulet on the mat.
Griffin contends that Ludwig’s kicks and punches will not be as much a factor in the fight as insiders may think. He noted his own ability to engage in toe-to-toe battle, something he attributes to his training with boxing coach, Rosendo Sanchez, as well as his kickboxing mentor, Billy Olson.
“No one’s seen my stand-up in my fights because I usually end up fighting on the ground,” said Griffin. “I’ve trained with world class boxers and world class kickboxers. I have a lot of skills that, hopefully, I’ll get to show in this fight.”
The Strikeforce “Revenge” bill will be headlined by a rematch between former UFC light heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort, and Pride Fighting Championship superstar, Alistair Overeem. During their first encounter at Pride’s “Total Elimination 2005” event a year ago, the two battled for nine and a half minutes (Note: Pride Fighting Championship schedules the first round of its bouts for 10 minutes) before Overeem secured a guillotine choke on Belfort and forced the Brazilian fighter to tap out.
The event will also be highlighted by a matchup between light heavyweights Bobby Southworth and James Irvin. Southworth introduced himself to the masses during Spike TV’s premiere season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series two years ago.
World San Shou kickboxing champion and four-time K-1 Superfight winner, Cung Le, will make the second start of his career in the cage and former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar, Daniel Puder, will make his third career mixed martial arts appearance during the event.
Strikeforce Lightweight 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.
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.
On Friday, March 10th, Strikeforce made history twice over 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.