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Gina Carano & Cris Cyborg press conference photos & quotes

NEW YORK (July 14, 2009) — Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg, who will headline a STRIKEFORCE world championship quadruple-header on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., live on SHOWTIME, participated in a press conference, fan meet and greet session and open workout Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

On Aug. 15, the wildly popular and unbeaten Carano (7-0) and her No. 1 rival, Brazilian powerhouse Cyborg (7-1), will make history in the most anticipated fight in the history of women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) and the first women’s fight to headline a major fight card also featuring men.

At stake in the eagerly awaited showdown will be the newly created STRIKEFORCE Women’s 145-Pound World Title.

The STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg” mega-event, which will air live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, tape delayed on the west coast), will feature three additional world championship bouts.

Joe “Diesel” Riggs (30-10) and Nick Diaz (20-7) will revisit their bitter rivalry that began three years ago in the UFC when they face off in the first welterweight (170 pounds) STRIKEFORCE championship fight in history.

World Heavyweight Champion Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (29-11) will put his coveted title on the line and, at the same time, attempt to avenge a previous defeat when he squares off with old nemesis and two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (11-4-1).

World Lightweight (155 pounds) Champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) will defend his STRIKEFORCE crown against Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (15-2), the man whom Thomson dethroned by way of unanimous decision at HP Pavilion on June 27, 2008.

Tickets for STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg,” priced from $30, are available at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070), Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and at www.Strikeforce.com.

HP Pavilion doors will open Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. PT. The first preliminary bout will begin at 5:30 p.m.

After co-promoting two events on SHOWTIME in 2007 and 2008, STRIKEFORCE in March ‘09 signed a multi-year agreement to stage MMA events on the premium cable television network.

What the fighters said Tuesday:

GINO CARANO

“I am not into public speaking, but I am so humbled and blessed by this unbelievable turnout of media and fans. It feels so great the support that you have given Cyborg and I. (But) It is not just us. There are four title fights on this great card.

“I have the ultimate, utmost respect for Cyborg. This is the toughest fight of my life.

“I want to thank the media and the fans for keeping it (MMA) alive. It has given me a career. I have a passion for my job and I hope we reach other people to get the sport even stronger.

“Cyborg is very strong. That is why I have reached out to Randy Couture to support me. He has been a mentor to me. I need somebody like him to get me mentally and physically ready for the biggest fight of my career. He is a great backboard for me.

“Randy is training me to get ready for the toughest fight of my career. He is my head trainer and he will be in my corner.

“I have to thank all my trainers. All of Las Vegas has come to my support. This has been an amazing journey. I am blessed and humbled at the same time. I want to thank STRIKEFORCE and SHOWTIME. It takes a lot of (guts) to put this on.’’

CRIS CYBORG
“Like Gina, I am not into public speaking. I prefer to fight. I want to thank the media, STRIKEFORCE, SHOWTIME and my fans. This is a great opportunity and this will be a very good fight for the fans and media.

“I almost forgot to thank my husband and my trainers in Huntington Beach (Calif.) for supporting me.

(The ultimate winner) “I think the one who makes the fewer mistakes will win this fight. I am expecting a war. I have been training a lot since my last fight. I am ready and very excited.’’

All Photos: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

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