Mixed martial arts (MMA) sensation Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (16-6) will face off with Hawaiian star Falaniko “Niko” Vitale (26-8) and knockout artist Duane “Bang” Ludwig (16-8) will attempt to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” season three veteran, Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-10), when Strikeforce ventures to Denver, Colorado’s Broomfield Events Center on Friday, October 3rd.
Also back in action at Strikeforce “Payback” will be “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni (12-10) and “The Ultimate Fighter” season four veteran, “The Secret Weapon” Pete Spratt (18-14).
Tickets for Strikeforce “Payback,” priced from $30, go on sale Monday, August 18th at Ticketmaster (303-830-TIXS) and Ticketmaster.com.
Of late, the 36-year-old Trigg, a two-time UFC world welterweight (170 lb. limit) championship challenger and former star with the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championship organization, has been making noise in the world’s fastest growing sport. His valiant, come-from-behind stoppage of Jason “Mayhem” Miller in the second round of a highly-anticipated meeting on December 1, 2006, earned Trigg a shot at Pride champion, Kazuo Misaki, whom Trigg overpowered and outwrestled to earn a unanimous decision win on February 24, 2007.
In his latest effort, which came on December 15, 2007, Trigg quickly submitted Edwin Dewees at the 1:40 mark of round 1 at Dallas, Texas’ American Airlines Center.
Trigg emerged on the MMA scene in 1997, shortly after graduating from University of Oklahoma, and was victorious in his first eight starts, including his Pride debut on November 21, 1999, in which he stopped Brazil’s Fabiano Iha in the first round of action with a series of strikes.
Spirited and outspoken, Trigg has been around the block in the world of Hollywood, having made appearances in an episode of hit sit-com series, “The King Of Queens;” the recent Sony Pictures Classics silver screen release, “Red Belt;” and as a contestant on VH1 reality program, “Kept.” He also serves as an analyst and plays an on-screen role in TNA Wrestling.
Vitale, the pride of Honolulu, Hawaii, is looking to notch his third consecutive victory following his conquest of a four-man elimination event in his hometown on January 26th.
To date, Vitale’s greatest stand remains his triumph over 2000 Olympics Greco-Roman Wrestling Silver Medalist, Matt “The Law” Lindland, still widely considered the top middleweight in the sport of mixed martial arts. Vitale stopped Lindland in the first round of action with a slam at UFC 43 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His pair of judges’ decision wins over former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne and Japan’s Yushin Okami are amongst the other notable impressions Vitale has made in world-class MMA.
During Strikeforce’s inaugural fight card at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on September 29, 2007, Vitale performed like a star as he hammered Ron Fields into submission in the opening round of their bout.
One of America’s true fan favorites, Ludwig, a native of Denver, will revisit history and attempt to produce a radically different result from his first dance with Morgan three years ago that ended abruptly 52 seconds into the opening round after Ludwig hit the canvas from a barrage of punches.
Ironically, Ludwig, in his next start, shattered the all-time record for quickest UFC knockout when he flattened Jonathan Goulet with a right hand at the 11 second mark of their live Spike TV battle on January 16, 2006.
Ludwig, who celebrated his 30th birthday last week, has shaped his mixed martial arts game around his foundation in Muay Thai kickboxing, which he took up at the age of 15. His achievements in the sport of professional kickboxing include victory of the ISKA world Muay Thai junior middleweight crown and the first-ever K-1 Max (159 lb. limit) qualifying tournament in North America.
Morgan, 26, is looking to rebound from two straight defeats, the first of which came at the hands of recently-crowned Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion, Cung Le. The fight with Le marked a jump in weight classes for Morgan, who had spent the rest of his career fighting in the 170 lb. class.
Morgan’s unique nickname, “The Squeeze,” stems from his thoughts on handling psychological pressure in a competitive situation. The meaning is similar that of the more common phrases “sink or swim” and “fight or flight.”
The Strikeforce “Payback” preliminary card will begin at 6 PM MST. The main card will commence at 7:30 PM MST.
Prior to this Strikeforce card, Frank Trigg will face Makoto Takimoto at Sengoku 4 on August 24 in Japan.