NEW YORK (September 26, 2009) – United States Army veteran and rising middleweight mixed martial arts (MMA) star Tim Kennedy (11-2) dominated a previously unbeaten Zak Cummings (10-1), submitting Cummings with a north-south choke in the second round (2:43) of their STRIKEFORCE Challengers main event battle live on SHOWTIME from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s SpiritBank Event Center on Friday, September 25.
In his highly-anticipated MMA debut, two-time U.S. Olympic wrestling team member Daniel Cormier (1-0) displayed signs of a bright future in the sport, stopping Gary Frazier (0-1) with a ground and pound offensive in the second round (3:39) of battle.
Kennedy, a 29-year-old former sniper for the Seventh Special Forces who recently accepted a position with The Texas National Guard in order to be able to pursue his MMA career more thoroughly, rocked the 25-year-old Cummings early in the first round after the two engaged on their feet.
Kennedy secured a takedown and began to unload with punches from half guard. Cummings rolled out and mounted Kennedy, but Kennedy quickly escaped and went on the offensive again with non-stop punches and regained the mount.
After surviving the first round, Cummings attempted a takedown early in the second stanza, but was caught with a left hand before escaping an attempted standing guillotine choke.
While trying to flee Kennedy’s clutches, Cummings fell to the canvas into a choke hold. Kennedy transitioned to a north-south choke hold and Cummings tapped out.
The 30-year-old Cormier, the 2001 NCAA national wrestling championship tournament runner-up for Oklahoma State University, stalked Frazier (0-1) from the outset of the card’s first live SHOWTIME televised bout. Frazier, a 21-year-old native of Shawnee , Oklahoma , attempted to run, but Cormier caught up and, in the second round, worked his way to the mount position after slamming Frazier to the canvas.
Cormier hammered Frazier with punches from the mount, prompting Frazier to give up his back. Cormier continued to batter Frazier from top position until the referee stopped the fight due to Frazier’s inability to defend himself any longer.
Another former NCAA Division I wrestling star and one of MMA’s most promising young prospects, 27-year-old Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley (4-0) of St. Louis, Missouri extended his perfect record, submitting Huntington Beach, California’s Zach “The Lisbon Outlaw” Light (6-9) with an arm bar in the second round (3:38) of action.
Woodley asserted himself with his superior athletic ability in the first round, scooping up Light and slamming him to the canvas. Woodley was able to mount Light twice in the round, but Light defended well, not allowing Woodley to create too much space between the fighters.
Woodley scored another slam in the second round and transitioned to an arm bar from which Light tapped out.
Kevin “The Shaman” Jordan (11-8) utilized his MMA experience to take down six-time world kickboxing champion and K-1 legend Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo (2-0) in the first round of a heavyweight bout. Jordan mounted and rained down on Sefo, still a newcomer to MMA, with punches.
In danger, Sefo repeatedly popped his hips up in an effort to throw Jordan from the mount. Although Sefo was unsuccessful at changing position, he survived the round.
Jordan shot for a takedown after the fighters squared off at the beginning of the second round. On the way in, however, he dropped to the canvas in pain and verbally submitted at the 24 second mark of the round. Jordan is being examined for a possible torn quadriceps of the right knee.
Local rivals and world class kickboxers Thomas Longacre (5-0) and Travis “The Dark Knight” Calanoc (4-1) put on a fireworks show full of rapid exchanges of punches and round kicks on their feet.
Longacre dominated the matchup from punching range early in the first round before Calanoc briefly turned the tides with his own boxing skills.
In the second stanza, Longacre took over with repeated flurries. He continued to find his mark in the third round. After the fight went to the mat, Calanoc maneuvered impressively from his back and attempted an arm bar in the third round, but Longacre escaped and brought the fight back to stand up mode.
In the final 10 seconds of the bout, Longacre and Calanoc swung away at each other relentlessly until the bell sounded.
STRIKEFORCE Challengers 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.
Friday’s fights will re-air on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME 2. The telecast will also be available On Demand beginning Monday, Sept. 28, and running through Oct. 25.
STRIKEFORCE Challengers returns Friday, Nov. 6, from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast. Lightweights Billy Evangelista (9-0) and Jorge Gurgel (13-5) will face off in the main event of the evening.
Saturday, Nov. 7 STRIKEFORCE will make its CBS television debut when MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko faces and coming heavyweight star Brett Rogers in the highly anticipated main event (8 p.m. ET/PT).
Danish star and current WBA super middleweight world champion Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler will travel to the Bay Area to face the 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and Oakland native Andre “S.O.G.” Ward in the Super Six World Boxing Classic – Group Stage 1 – on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , Calif. , live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Defending champion Timothy Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) will face Lamont Peterson (27-0, 13 KOs ) Saturday, Dec. 12 on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 9 p.m. ET/PT for his WBO junior welterweight title.
Complete STRIKEFORCE Challengers Results:
Tim Kennedy def. Zak Cummings – Submission (north south choke) – 2nd Round (2:43)
Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo def. Kevin “The Shaman” Jordan – Verbal submission (injury) – 2nd Round (:24)
Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley def. Zach “The Lisbon Outlaw” Light – Submission (arm bar) – 2nd Round (3:38)
Thomas Longacre def. Travis “The Dark Knight” Calanoc – Unanimous Decision (3 Rounds) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel Cormier def. Gary Frazier – TKO (Punches) – 2nd Round (3:39)
Dillon Smith def. Lemont Davis – Submission (rear naked choke) – 1st Round (1:15)
Josh Pulsifer def. Nick Gibbons – Submission (d’arce choke) – 1st Round (1:05)
Kenny Giddens def. Jon Carson – Submission (d’arce choke) – 2nd Round (4:15)
Trey Houston def. Brandon Gaines – Submission (arm triangle choke) – 2nd Round (1:28)
Paul Bradley def. Levi Avera – Unanimous Decision (3 Rounds) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeri Sitzes def. Lacey Schuckman – TKO (Punches) – 3rd Round (2:18)
STRIKEFORCE (www.strikeforce.com) 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. 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.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
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