February 12, 2006; New York, NY….Twenty-seven year-old prodigy, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (10-1), will square off with fellow 154 pound contender, Clayton Guida (19-2), for the inaugural Strikeforce mixed martial arts lightweight championship during “Shamrock vs. Gracie,” California’s historic, first mixed martial arts fight card that will take place at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, March 10th.
“People are gonna see a fast-paced fight from me. I’m gonna be very explosive,” said Thomson, a resident of San Jose and a former wrestling standout at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I powerhouse, Stanford University. “I throw a lot of funky, weird stuff that not a lot of fans have seen before.”
Thomson, whose last mixed martial arts rules start came on July 17, 2005 when he submitted Daisuke Sugie with a kneebar during the Pride Fighting Championship’s “Bushido 8” event in Japan, recently dove into the fiercely competitive waters of Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) fighting in order to test his stand-up combat skills that he has honed since his college days. During a kickboxing card at the Pavilion on June 4th of last year, he unloaded an onslaught of leg kicks on Toshiyuki Nakagawa and stopped his opponent in a mere 54 seconds. After the meeting with Sugie, Thomson put forth another Muay Thai effort and earned a second round stoppage of Kyle Breezy.
The 24-year-old Guida is in the midst of a phenomenal 16-fight winning streak that dates back to October 23, 2004 when he submitted Bill Guardiola with an ankle lock in the opening round of their matchup.
A member of the 2001 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I championship wrestling team at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, Guida has also invested a substantial amount of time in becoming a proficient striker capable of dealing with adversaries while on his feet.
“I think our styles match up really well and it’s a really good fight for me,” said an enthusiastic and confident Guida, whose start on the “Shamrock vs. Gracie” bill will be the first of his career in California. To date, Guida’s activity has been concentrated in the Midwest region of the country, where the suburban Chicago, Illinois native has emerged a dominant force and earned three championship crowns with two different promotions. “(Josh)’s explosive. I think we have the same type of gas tank where nothing stops us.
February 12, 2006
Guida Named Thomson’s Opponent
We’re gonna bring it all but I think, in the end, its just gonna be me with my hand raised.”
The “Shamrock vs. Gracie” bill will be headlined by a long-awaited showdown between bitter rivals Frank Shamrock (20-7-1) and Cesar Gracie (14-0). World San Shou kickboxing champion and four-time K-1 Superfight winner, Cung Le (16-0), will make his mixed martial arts debut during the event while undefeated prospect, Gilbert Melendez (10-0), will do battle with David Padilla (5-4) and fan favorite, Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson (12-7-1), will make his return to action when he faces Jorge “The Naked Man” Ortiz (7-2). The event will also see former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar and “Tough Enough” reality show winner, Daniel Puder (1-0), make his return to the world of mixed martial arts against an opponent that has yet to be confirmed.
Tickets for “Shamrock vs. Gracie” are officially on sale and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) outlets and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) as well as at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070). Fans can also purchase tickets by logging on to the official “Shamrock vs. Gracie” website, www.shamrockvsgracie.com, and clicking on the “Tickets” link where a ticket order form is located. All completed forms should be returned for processing to Ms. Julie Lin either via fax: 408-863-0153 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket prices start at $30.
Doors to the event will open at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time on March 10th. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6 PM.
The “Shamrock vs. Gracie” bill is being promoted and produced by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment (SVSE, www.svse.net), a leading producer of major sporting and entertainment events and the exclusive producer of such events for San Jose, California’s largest entertainment arena, the HP Pavilion. SVSE’s many properties include “Miller Lite Fight Night,” world championship boxing; the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks; and the annual ATP men’s professional tennis “SAP Open” event.