by Duane “Bang” Ludwig (courtesy of Ring of Fire)
Colorado fighter Duane Ludwig finished his 2006 season off with a BANG! (Pun intentional!) It was a busy year, fighting seven times and going 4 – 2 – 1 overall. His final fight of the year was at the December 8th Strikeforce Triple Threat event in San Jose, California. Returning to the welterweight class, Ludwig was matched against UFC veteran Tony THE FREAK Fryklund. No small task as Fryklund has been fighting professionally for 10 years and has 20+ fights under his belt. In what was described as a “highlight reel” from beginning to end, BANG! was able to finish the veteran by TKO in the second round.

Ludwig’s next fight should be at RING OF FIRE 28 in February against an unnamed opponent. But for now Ludwig is home relaxing with his wife and daughter, looking forward to the holidays. He took time out of his very busy schedule of eating candy, waxing his ’68 Camaro and walking his Jack Russell terriers to talk about his fights and opponents of 2006:

01-16-06 vs. Jonathon Goulet at UFN 3 (win by KO 0:11 first round)
“That was a great way to start off the year. Fighting on live TV was cool and getting the knockout was even better. Even though they say it was eleven seconds, everyone knows it was four. I should have the record. We talked to Nevada about it, but they said there was no way to change it. To win like that against one of Canada’s best fighters was reward enough, but I still want the record!”

02-11-06 vs. Toshikazu Harada at ROF 21 (win by KO 1:44 first round)
“I love to fight at home! Fighting on TV or PPV is great, and going to Japan or Vegas is cool, but there are no fans like your hometown fans. I always get so pumped up at home, and Ring of Fire is home to me. It is where I started. I actually get mad at my opponents there. Like they are going to try and beat me in my hometown? It motivates me and I really love to fight for the crowd. Harada was very game and really tried to stay in the fight, even taunting me at one point, probably not a great idea on his part. I had a bad showing my last fight at home and I was taking everything out on Harada. I dropped him pretty good with hands and then finished with the knee on the way down. I just remember his nose being pretty jacked up. He is a tough kid though, he’ll be back.”

05-06-06 vs. Jason Palacious at IFF (win by arm bar at 4:56 first round)
“That was a good fight for me. I didn’t know much about my opponent going in. Just that he was from Guam and was really strong and aggressive. I was able to work on a lot of techniques in that fight. I felt pretty safe the whole time so I just let things fly. When we hit the ground it felt good too. I was able to work my ground game and get the submission. People still think all I do is kick and punch. I have submission skills too. I also got to fight on the same card as my buddy Pete Spratt. We both won that night so it was cool.”

06-09-06 vs. Tyson Griffin at Strikeforce 2 (loss by TKO at 3:57 of first round)
“Well, sometimes things just suck and that night they did. Tyson was a replacement fighter, which messed with me a little bit. I was really flat for that fight and Tyson wasn’t. He was pushing the action for sure, but looking back I still think the ref stopped it too early. I’m not saying I would have won or lost that night, but I think the ref took away that option from me when he stopped it. My camp is one that doesn’t complain too much, but we were all pretty pissed. I remember looking around and all the ringside media was like “what the F&@%”. Oh well, the past is the past. Good things happened for Tyson afterwards, so that is cool I guess.”

08-12-06 vs. Fernando Calleros at K-1 USA (draw third round)
“That was my one and only K-1 rules fight this year. I can be a slow starter and in a 3 round fight it can bite you. Fernando rung my bell early in the first, but that was it. I pretty much hit him with everything after that. I was mad at myself for getting caught by a stupid punch. I thought I did enough in two and half rounds to win, but the judges didn’t. I mean I really think it was 2 and half rounds to a half a round. I grabbed the microphone and asked the crowd if they wanted to see one more round and they were yelling and screaming, but K-1 wouldn’t do it. He was finished. He would’ve gone down in round four guaranteed. In the end I guess we put on a show, and that is part of the game too. If we ever fight again though, he should bring a pillow.”

10-07-06 vs. Josh Thomson at Strikeforce 3 (loss by sub at 4:36 round two)
“Josh fought really smart. He stayed away from me on the feet and was always looking to take it down. He had a good game plan. He would throw one or two things and shoot or lock up, never really wanting to just throw down with me. I thought I was doing pretty good with him on the ground, and even got his back and a rear naked choke in the first. Going into round two I felt really good and wasn’t afraid to stand or hit the ground with him. It was a pretty good scrap. I was actually having fun in there with him. He eventually put me in a bad position against the fence and I couldn’t back out of the choke. It was his night, but he is a guy I would fight again. Josh is a fighter that motivates you to train. I need that. Fighters like that make it fun. I would love to fight him again, but I’m back fighting at 170, so who knows”

12-08-06 vs. Tony Fryklund at Strikeforce 4 (win by TKO at 3:02 round two)
“This fight was a bit of redemption for me. Not against Fryklund or anything, more against the pressure I had put on myself. I went into it knowing that I was at a pivotal point and needed a good solid win. Everything was working. I had a good camp leading up to it. I didn’t have to kill myself cutting weight, but I still had to cut like 7 pounds to make 170! I felt really, really strong and just as fast. I will say this Fryklund is a stud. He took a lot of damage and kept coming. I hit him with things that I have put other fighters to sleep with. He was game and I respect that a lot. But I was just really on, and everything was working. It was like I went up and down all year but finally found my groove. I was really happy to be able to win, but also to win in a way that everyone expects when they see BANG fight. What can I say? Muay Thai ain’t pretty. Ha-ha sorry, that’s an old inside joke in my camp.”

“There were a lot of people that helped me this past year and I can’t thank them enough. My wife for being there and my daughter for just being so damn cute. She is an inspiration. I have to thank Bas [Rutten] as always. My Muay Thai coach Christian Allen, my MMA coach Nate Marquardt, and my boxing coach Trevor Wittman. All the various training partners over the year and that is just too many to list! I had good sponsorship throughout the year, which helped a lot. A lot of them have been with me for a while like Brothers BBQ, GLC 2000, Connected Networks and Profile, so thank you for that. This was my first year with Sinister and TapouT, and they were great. Locally, Mastiff Home Loans and Castle Pines Auto Sport stepped up this year. And nationally my newest sponsor Ultimate VIP Club really helped me between fights. Also Dr. Nelson Vetanze and A New Spirit Spa kept me in good shape this year too. I have to thank my webmaster Lee for building me my new website too. I hope all my fans check it out at www.duanebang.com.”

Ludwig added this final thought: “Well, I start off the year back at Ring Of Fire on a big show at home. I don’t know who I am fighting yet, and I don’t care. Just that it is at home is motivation enough. I’ll start training camp right after the New Year and be ready to put on a show. From there, who knows? I have always wanted to fight in Holland, so maybe we can get that done this year. My manager Boogie (Sven Bean) has kept me real busy and the sport is huge now so we will see what comes our way. I know that this will be my biggest year yet and I am ready for it!”