NEW YORK (March 22, 2010) – An impressive winner in his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut, two-time United States Olympic Games wrestling team member and former NCAA Division I national championship runner up Daniel Cormier will attempt to make it two in a row this Friday, March 26, at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., when he faces John Devine in one of the featured, non-televised fights at STRIKEFORCE Challengers.
“I am looking forward again to fighting and getting back into the cage and showing what I can do,’’ said Cormier (1-0), 31, who won his initial MMA and STRIKEFORCE start with a second-round TKO (punches) over Gary Frazier last Sept. 25 in Tulsa, Okla. “This will be a tough fight, but I’ve been working very hard.’’
A heavyweight prospect who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., Cormier placed fourth in the 2004 Olympics in freestyle wrestling. He was named captain of the U.S. squad for the 2008 Olympics, but was unable to compete due to injury.
Devine (5-1), who fights out of Pacifica, Calif., is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt. The Cage Combat Fighting heavyweight champion, Devine has won five-in-a-row, including a third-round TKO (punches) over Buddy Roberts in his last outing on July 18, 2009.
“My opponent has more experience than me, but I figure almost everybody I fight from now on will have more fights than me,’’ Cormier said. “I am confident in my ability but I need fights like this to show me where I’m at. I’m still learning and have a ways to go, but every fight is important.
“Wrestling taught me to be strong physically and mentally and it molds you and makes you take responsibility for your actions. If you don’t train hard, it’s going to be you out there getting embarrassed.”
Tickets for the event, priced from $30, may be purchased at the Save Mart Center box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets, all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
Save Mart Center doors will open at 6 p.m. PT. The first non-televised, preliminary bout will begin at 6:45 p.m.
In the main event on SHOWTIME®, the amazing Lavar Johnson (13-3) of Madera, Calif., will make his first start since nearly getting shot to death during the last July 4 holiday weekend when he meets Hawaii’s Lolohea Mahe (4-0-1) of Wailua, Maui, in a heavyweight scrap.
Other televised fights: “Abongo” Humphrey (5-1), Atlanta, Ga., vs. George Bush III (5-1), Columbus, Ohio, at light heavyweight (205 pounds); Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Luke Stewart (6-2), San Francisco, Calif. vs. Andre Galvao (3-1), Brazil, at welterweight (170 pounds); Zoila Frausto (5-0), Fresno. vs. Miesha “Takedown” Tate (8-2), Olympia, Wash., in an excellent women’s matchup at 135 pounds; and American Kickboxing Academy bred wrestling stud Justin “The Silverback” Wilcox (8-3), San Jose, Calif., vs. Shamar Bailey (10-1) of Chicago, Ill., at a catch weight of 160 pounds.
The live SHOWTIME telecast of the STRIKEFORCE Challengers main card will begin at 11:45 p.m. ET/ PT (delayed on the west coast).
STRIKEFORCE Challengers, where tomorrow’s champions are born, is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. The series is designed to provide today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.
In March 2009, STRIKEFORCE signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on the
premium cable television network. The promotion made its live, primetime debut on CBS with the “Fedor vs. Rogers” mega-fight that it co-promoted with M-1 Global on Saturday, Nov. 7, and generated 5.46 million viewers for the main event between the world’s No. 1 heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, and superstar Brett “The Grim” Rogers.