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Sunday, August 16, 2009


Source - Showtime Networks Inc.:

Mousasi, Melendez, Werdum Also Victorious
Saturday Aug. 15, 2009, on SHOWTIME®
From HP Pavilion, San Jose, California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2009) – In the biggest, most important and highly anticipated fight in the history of women’s mixed martial arts, Cris Cyborg registered a brutal 4:59, first-round TKO (punches) over Gina Carano before a raucous 13,524 at HP Pavilion here Saturday on SHOWTIME.

For as long as it lasted, the Cyborg-Carano fight was as exciting as it gets. By winning, Cyborg (8-1), of Curitiba, Brazil, earned the first-ever Strikeforce Female 145-pound Championship. Carano, of Las Vegas, fell to 7-1.

The historic, non-stop action match between the two most talented female fighters in the world was stopped by referee Josh Rosenthal a split second before the horn sounded to end the opening round of a scheduled five-round fight.

When the thrilling proceedings were halted, Cyborg was on top of Carano and had delivered approximately 12 clubbing punches with both hands to Carano’s head.

“I just want to thank the fans for all the support I have always received, and to Gina for giving me this opportunity,’’ said a gracious but ecstatic Cyborg, who is a member of Brazil’s famed Chute Boxe fight squad.

Carano, an underdog in the wagering but clearly a crowd favorite, entered the ring to a deafening roar and the fans’ reaction to her introduction was seemingly as loud as one could possibly be.

The incredibly popular Carano gave as much as she took for the most part, but the aggressive-minded Cyborg proved to be too strong for the popular fighter who was making her first start in eight months.

In other televised fights Saturday on SHOWTIME: Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (29-2-1) of Leiden, Netherlands, was victorious for the 13th consecutive time, winning his United States debut and the Strikeforce light heavyweight title by destroying defending champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral (35-9) of Los Angeles via Brazil, at 1:00 of the first-round (TKO, strikes). Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (16-2) of San Francisco by way of Santa Ana, Calif., avenged one of his two losses and retained the Strikeforce interim lightweight belt with a convincing third-round TKO (punches) over Mitsuhiro “Endless Fighter’’ Ishida (18-6-1) of Japan. Brazil’s Fabricio “Vai Cavallo’’ (12-4-1) Werdum moved closer to a possible world title fight against Fedor Emelianenko with a 1:24, first-round submission (guillotine) over Mike Kyle (12-7-1) of San Jose.

In the second of three Strikeforce world title fights, Mousasi threw a kick but Sobral blocked it and wound up on the ground in a scramble. Mousasi, who was in top position when they hit the ground, quickly unleashed a barrage of punches and that was that, ending Sobral’s five-fight winning streak.

"I am very happy,’’ Mousasi said. “I am willing to fight anybody.’’

Melendez mostly dominated. “The key to this fight was patience and I was patient tonight,’’ he said. “I know what kind of fighter Ishida was, and I knew what I had to do. It’s great to avenge a loss. But I am a different fighter than before.’’

In the opening bout of the telecast, Werdum overcame some early adversity to triumph impressively. “I trained hard and am happy with the result,’’ said Werdum, who resides in Huntington Beach, Calif.

A two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion who owns a victory over current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, Werdum would not be opposed to an immediate crack at Fedor.

Werdum has already defeated one of the Emelianenko brothers. On Nov. 12, 2006, he registered an impressive first round (3:24) submission (arm triangle choke) over two-time Russian National Sambo champion, Aleksander Emelianenko, brother of Fedor

“I would be very happy if Strikeforce wanted to make a fight between Fedor and myself. Fedor is the best in the world and this world be a fantastic opportunity.’’

Saturday’s event will re-air as follows:

Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT


It will be available ON DEMAND beginning Tuesday, Aug. 18 lasting through Monday, Sept. 14.

Versatile play-by-play broadcast veteran Gus Johnson called the action on SHOWTIME with MMA expert Mauro Ranallo and MMA legend Frank Shamrock serving as expert analysts. Jenn Brown was the roving reporter.

Saturday’s non-televised results: Jay “The Thoroughbred’’ Hieron (18-4), Las Vegas, won a unanimous three round decision (30-37 three times) over Jesse Taylor (13-4), San Diego, at 170 pounds; Scott Lighty (5-0), San Luis Obispo, Calif., TKO (punches) over Mike “The Animal’’ Cook (7-5), Fresno, Calif., at 2:05 of the first round (205 pounds); Justin “The Silverback’’ Wilcox (6-3), San Jose, submitted (rear naked choke) David “Tarzan’’ Douglas (4-2) of Antioch, Calif., at 3:16 of the third at 155 pounds; a Cung Le-trained fighter James Terry (7-1), San Jose, made in two straight over Zac Bucia (2-4), San Francisco, winning at 1:23 (TKO) in a rematch at 170 pounds; and Alex Trevino (4-0), of San Jose, submitted (keylock) Isaiah Hill (4-7), of San Jose, at 3:36, of the first round of their 155-pound bout.

Mixed martial arts returns to SHOWTIME on Friday, Sept. 25, when Tim Kennedy headlines Strikeforce Challengers, a series for up-and-comers patterned after SHOWTIME’s popular boxing series ShoBox: The New Generation, at Tulsa, Okla.

For information on Showtime Sports Programming, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and EliteXC mixed martial arts telecasts, please go to www.SHO.com/sports

About Showtime Networks Inc.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

About Strikeforce

Strikeforce 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.” Since then, it has co-produced one of the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007.

Photos: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

Images 1-2: Fabricio Werdum submitted Mike Kyle in the first round at HP Pavilion.

Images 3-4: Gilbert Melendez retained his Strikeforce interim lightweight belt with a third-round TKO over Mitsuhiro Ishida.

Images 5-6: Gegard Mousasi impressively won the Strikeforce light heavyweight title with a first-round TKO over Renato Sobral.

Images 7-10: Cris Cyborg captured the first-ever Strikeforce Female 145-pound Championship with a hard-fought first-round TKO over Gina Carano Saturday on SHOWTIME.