STRIKEFORCE CHAMP SOUTHWORTH CLASHES WITH “THE BUTCHER” AT PLAYBOY MANSION
Former WWE star Puder looks to continue undefeated run against Dalton
Beverly Hills, CA; September 16, 2007…. Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Champion and The Ultimate Fighter reality series semifinalist Bobby Southworth (7-4) will square off with Canadian striker Bill “The Butcher” Mahood (15-5-1) in a non-title bout during the highly-anticipated Strikeforce mixed martial arts event at The Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday, September 29th. Undefeated heavyweight and former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Daniel Puder (5-0), meanwhile, will lock horns with Richard Dalton (3-2) during the star-studded affair.
The 37-year-old Southworth is no stranger to performing on big stages. The Santa Cruz, California native became a familiar face to millions of Spike TV viewers two years ago during his highly entertaining and controversial stint on the original season of The Ultimate Fighter. Southworth’s victory over Lodune Sincaid in the preliminary round of the smash hit reality series’ elimination contest set up a meeting with Stephan Bonnar.
His loss of a questionable, split decision to Bonnar, the eventual runner up on the show, led to an unforgettable, heated exchange of words between Southworth and UFC President Dana White.
Southworth was crowned the first world light heavyweight mixed martial arts champion in Strikeforce history on December 8th after he earned a unanimous judges’ decision over fellow UFC veteran and former K-1 USA contender Vernon “Tiger” White at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
For the majority of the last year, Mahood has shined as a contender in the BodogFIGHT organization, reeling off back to back victories over Khalil Ibrahim and Steve Steinbeiss, respectively. He is also a veteran of both UFC and King Of The Cage.
The son of a former collegiate boxer, Mahood took up Judo at the tender age of eight. As a teenager, he became passionate about Tae Kwon Do and competed in the Korean martial art through his first two years of college. Mahood later took up another Korean discipline, Hapkido.
It was the inaugural UFC in 1993 that inspired Mahood to supplement his traditional martial arts studies with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, which he pursued under acclaimed coaches Marc Laimon and John Lewis. Mahood became a training partner of mixed martial arts superstar Denis Kang after the two Canadians befriended one another in 2003.
The 25-year-old Puder, who recently inked a six-fight deal with Strikeforce, will make his first start since February 18th when he stopped Michael Alden during BodogFIGHT’s visit to Costa Rica.
The winner of the WWE’s “Tuff Enough” reality television series, Puder’s conquest 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.
Since he returned to the world of mixed martial arts where he had begun his professional combat sports career with a victory in Japan’s X-1 organization in 2003, Puder, a former student of Strikeforce World Middleweight (185 lb. limit) Champion Frank Shamrock, has only been forced to fight longer than a single round by one of his four opponents, Mike Cook. Puder submitted Cook with a rear naked choke in round two of their December 8th Strikeforce promoted matchup.
Puder’s opponent, Dalton, also brings to the table an impressive wrestling resume that includes over 13 years experience in the sport. Following a high school career that gained him recognition as one of the top competitors in the state of New Jersey, Dalton achieved similar status as a competitor for Palomar Junior College.
In 1996, Dalton enlisted in The United States Marine Corps and, soon after, joined the Southern Pacific Navy wrestling squad. While stationed in various locations, he enjoyed success in a host of high-profile tournaments, including The Sunkist Open in Arizona and The Dave Schultz International in Colorado.
Thus far, Dalton’s work in the sport of mixed martial arts has been primarily concentrated in the San Diego, California-based Total Combat league where he holds combined record of 3-1-1.
The Strikeforce mixed martial arts fight card at The Playboy Mansion will be headlined by the return of undefeated Strikeforce Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (12-0).
Former UFC middleweight star Joe “Diesel” Riggs (26-9 (1 No Contest) will make his Strikeforce debut against fan favorite Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson (15-7-1). UFC and Pride veteran Josh “The Punk” Thomson (34-2 (1 NC) will square off with former IFL standout and United States marine, Adam Lynn (11-7 (1 NC).
In addition to the stellar mixed martial arts fight card, all “Strikeforce At The Mansion” guests will be treated to an array of amenities including a buffet style, gourmet dinner; top-shelf, open bar; and a wine tasting party featuring the spirits of several gold medal wineries. Various Playboy Playmates will be on hand to partake in all activities.
The event at the Playboy Mansion will be staged three months after the Strikeforce co-produced “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” extravaganza, the first mixed martial arts event to be distributed live on SHOWTIME® PPV. Before a crowd of 10,850 at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, former UFC middleweight champion and mixed martial arts legend, Frank Shamrock, became the first Strikeforce middleweight champion in history by choking out UFC and Pride veteran, “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni, in the second round of the star-studded fight card’s main event on Friday, June 22nd.
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. The rapidly growing organization recently re-launched its website, www.strikeforceusa.net, which boasts a bold new look and all-new features, including video streaming capability. 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.”