Superpowers will go head to head when K-1 and UFC veteran and Strikeforce fan favorite, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, faces EliteXC’s British Cage Rage champion, Paul “Semtex” Daley, in a 170-pound limit matchup during “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” live on June 22, at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The mega-MMA fight card, being co-produced by EliteXC and Strikeforce, will be headlined by the long-awaited showdown between former UFC middleweight king, Frank Shamrock, and UFC and Pride veteran, “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni, plus five other explosive bouts airing live on pay-per-view.
At stake during the fight between EliteXC’s Shamrock (strikeforceusa.net, frankshamrock.proelite.com) and Baroni (strikeforceusa.net, philbaroni.proelite.com) will be the vacant Strikeforce world middleweight (185-pound limit) championship.
The matchup between Ludwig (strikeforceusa.net, duaneludwig.proelite.com) and Daley (pauldaley.proelite.com) will be shown to viewers should there be a sufficient amount of time on the telecast following completion of three of the six scheduled Pay-Per-View card fights.
“It will be a tough fight for sure,” said the 28-year-old Ludwig of Denver, Colorado, also the reigning International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Junior Middleweight (154 lb. limit) Muay Thai Champion. “Both of us bring an action-packed fighting style to the cage so we match up in the crowd’s favor. It will probably be the fight of the night.”
During Strikeforce’s last card at the HP Pavilion on December 8th, Ludwig delivered a near flawless performance as he hammered away relentlessly with his hands and feet at Tony “The Freak” Fryklund (strikeforceusa.net, tonyfryklund.proelite.com). A former member of Team Pat Miletich, Fryklund was impressively resilient until he was sent to the mat for the third time in the fight by a Ludwig right hand, which prompted the referee to stop the bout at the 3:37 mark of the third round.
On January 16th of last year, Ludwig broke the all-time record for the quickest stoppage in mixed martial arts history when he finished Canada’s Jonathan Goulet (jonathangoulet.proelite.com) with a hard right hand at the 11-second mark of their meeting at UFC “Ultimate Fight Night 3″ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Five years ago, Bang was taken under the wing of mixed martial arts legend, Bas Rutten (basrutten.proelite.com), who observed the young prodigy’s talent and fiery spirit during a grassroots event in which Ludwig was competing. A year after the two bonded, Ludwig made his first major breakthrough in mixed martial arts by knocking out former UFC lightweight champion, Jens “Little Evil” Pulver (jenspulver.proelite.com).
Equally impressive as his mixed martial arts resume has been Ludwig’s ability to remain a force in the world of stand-up combat. After capturing the first ever, 159-pound limit K-1 tournament championship in North America by defeating two opponents in one evening, Ludwig proceeded to establish himself in K-1 competition in Japan and in 2004 secured the ISKA championship.
Ludwig’s kicking and punching skills will be put to the test by the 24-year-old Daley, also a superior striker who has never been knocked out over the course of 22 mixed martial arts fights and 15 Muay Thai-style bouts.
“I have a great chin. I’ve been pressed in fights to the point where other guys would’ve been knocked out, but I’ve been able to keep my composure and recover,” explained EliteXC’s Daley. “Duane has fast hands and he has knockout power, but I don’t think he’s displayed a good chin in some of his fights where he’s been hit and taken out – both in kickboxing and MMA. So, I think I have that up on him.”
While competing as a teen, Daley was given the nickname “Semtex,” after an explosive material that British armed forces use to demolish large structures. Daley’s followers likened the fighter’s unique ability to chop down much larger opponents to the destructive weapon.
Before earning his Cage Rage title last July with a decision victory over Ross Mason (rossmason.proelite.com), Daley scored a technical knockout on Peter Angerer (peterangerer.proelite.com) inside of one round to become the 170-pound champion of FX3, another prominent promotion in the United Kingdom.
Scheduled to hold a portion of his training camp in Holland, the No. 1 producer of K-1 heavyweight champions and the home of some of the world’s finest Muay Thai fighters, Daley will have the benefit of training alongside the likes of Muay Thai and mixed martial arts stars Melvin Manhoef (melvinmanhoef.proelite.com) and Badr Hari (badrhari.proelite.com), amongst others.
“Duane’s a great fighter with great skills and I admire him a lot,” said Daley. “I think I have the skills to beat him and I sure am going to beat him, but he has my respect.”
The live pay-per-view event will be distributed by SHOWTIME® PPV beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a suggested retail price of $34.95. For more information and to order “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” viewers should contact their pay-per-view provider. For more information on the free online broadcast of the four-fight undercard, visit www.ProElite.com or www.strikeforceusa.net.
Ticket prices for “Shamrock vs. Baroni” start at $30 and are on sale at Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) as well as at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070).
The mega-card will also feature the return of undefeated world San Shou kickboxing champion and middleweight mixed martial arts contender, Cung Le (strikeforceusa.net, cungle.proelite.com), who will face his greatest test to date in Tony “The Freak” Fryklund.
Strikeforce’s latest recruit, 2003 K-1 North America tournament champion, Carter Williams (strikeforceusa.net, carterwilliams.proelite.com), will meet hard-hitting Paul Buentello (strikeforceusa.net, paulbuentello.proelite.com) in a heavyweight matchup. In another top-notch bout, EliteXC’s Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett (krazyhorse.proelite.com), who is coming off a stunning, upset knockout victory over EliteXC’s KJ Noons (kjnoons.proelite.com), will take on Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (joeboxer.proelite.com).
EliteXC fighters, Joey Villasenor (joeyvillasenor.proelite.com) and former Pride star, Murilo “Ninja” Rua (murilorua.proelite.com), will lock horns for the vacant EliteXC middleweight title. On February 10th, Villasenor pulled off a shocking upset by outmaneuvering and, eventually earning a unanimous decision over EliteXC’s David “The Crow” Loiseau (thecrow.proelite.com). Villasenor’s career is highlighted by a 15 fight-winning streak put together between December 2002 and April 2006. A member of the famed Chute Boxe fight squad in Brazil, Rua was last seen in action on September 30th when he submitted British kickboxer Mark Weir (markweir.proelite.com), with an arm triangle choke in the second round of their meeting.
“Shamrock vs. Baroni” is co-produced by ProElite, Inc., the parent company of EliteXC, and Strikeforce.