Friday, March 28, 2008

Shamrock set to face Le

By John McMullen

(The Phanatic Magazine) - Bay Area rivals Frank Shamrock and undefeated Cung Le finally face off Saturday when Shamrock (23-8-1) defends his Strikeforce world middleweight championship against the undefeated Le (21-0) in the main event of an EliteXC-Strikeforce co-promoted mixed martial arts event from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

The event airs on SHOWTIME at 9:00 p.m. (et).

"I have been training hard to beat up Cung Le," Shamrock said during the pre-fight press conference. "This is a dream come true to fight a guy like this in my hometown.

"I was doing MMA when there were no weight classes, no rounds, no athletic commission, no TV and no money. In my 11 years I have never been knocked out, submitted, choked out and never lost a championship match. That is what I am all about. "If Cung Le can achieve what others like Phil Baroni and Tito Ortiz failed to do, then he is truly the man to beat. I am going to come out ready to brawl and explode on Saturday night."

Le was more humble in his approach.

"I feel blessed and honored to be part of this big event," the kickboxing specialist said. "I want to thank Frank for giving me a shot at the title. I am really looking forward to it. This is a huge opportunity to fight a guy like Frank, and I am ready to rock and roll."

The card also features another Strikeforce world title fight, defending lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (9-1) of San Francisco will risk his 170-pound belt against Gabe Lemley (11-6) of New London, Iowa.

Three more bouts are scheduled for SHOWTIME. In an EliteXC welterweight elimination fight, Drew Fickett (31-5) of Tucson, Arizona meets Korea’s Jae Suk Lim (9-3), Mike Kyle (9-5-1) of San Jose clashes with Wayne Cole (10-6) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma., in a super heavyweight battle and EliteXC standout Joey Villasenor (24-6) of Albuquerque, New Mexico will battle Ryan Jensen (11-3) of Omaha, Nebraska in a middleweight scrap.

Non-televised bout for the live crown feature a group of local fighters: Jesse Jones (1-0) of Redwood City, California vs. Jesse Gillespie (1-0) of San Jose at 170 pounds; Darren Uyenoyama (3-1) of San Francisco vs. Anthony Figueroa (4-1) of Gilroy, California, at 135 pounds; and Tiki Ghosn (9-7) of Huntington Beach vs. Luke Stewart (5-0) of San Francisco at 170 pounds.

The cards comes on the heels of Strikeforce announcing a deal with NBC for a weekly MMA show at 2 a.m. (et) on Saturday nights. The 30 minute show will be called "Strikeforce on NBC," and begins on April 12.

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