NEW YORK (Feb. 19, 2010) – A winner of four in a row, Shamar Bailey (10-1), of Chicago, will face Justin “The Silverback’’ Wilcox (8-3), of San Jose, Calif., on a stacked STRIKEFORCE Challengers mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., on Friday, March 26.
Bailey is a replacement for Bryan Travers, who withdrew from the fight with a shoulder injury. The three-rounder between the promising prospects will be one of five fights featured on STRIKEFORCE Challengers live on SHOWTIME® (11:45 p.m. ET/ PT, delayed on the West Coast) and will be contested at a catch weight of 160 pounds.
Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event, priced from $30, are on sale at the Save Mart Center box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets, all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
“I think this is a fantastic matchup for me and I am excited about the opportunity to be able to showcase my skills,’’ said Bailey, who won his STRIKEFORCE debut with a unanimous three-round decision over John Kolosci on the undercard of STRIKEFORCE and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Rogers at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. on Nov. 7, 2009.
“I have a lot of respect for Justin. I know he’s been winning (Wilcox has won three straight and seven out of eight) and I think we’re both well-rounded fighters with a lot to prove. But I believe that when you have two fighters of equal ability going at it, the bigger guy holds the edge and he is a natural 155-pounder and I fight at 170.
“I am really looking forward to showing off more striking skills than I did in my last fight.’’
In the main event, heavyweight Lavar “Big” Johnson (13-3), of Madera, Calif., takes on unbeaten Lolohea Mahe (4-0-1) of Wailua, Maui, Hawaii. Johnson’s start will be his first since he was nearly shot to death at a family barbeque during the last July 4 holiday.
Other televised fights: “Abongo” Humphrey (5-1), Atlanta, Ga., vs. George Bush III (5-1), Columbus, Ohio, at light heavyweight (205 pounds); Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Luke Stewart (6-2), San Francisco, Calif., vs. Andre Galvao (3-1), Brazil, at welterweight (170 pounds); and undefeated Zoila Frausto (2-0), Fresno, vs. Miesha “Takedown” Tate (7-2), Olympia, Wash., in a women’s scrap at 135 pounds.
Save Mart Center doors will open for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event at 6 p.m. PT. The first live, non-televised, preliminary bout will begin at 6:45 p.m.
STRIKEFORCE Challengers is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. The series is designed to provide today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.
STRIKEFORCE in March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on premium cable television network SHOWTIME. The promotion made its live, primetime debut on CBS with the “Fedor vs. Rogers” mega-fight that it co-promoted with M-1 Global on
Saturday, November 7 and generated 5.46 million viewers for the main event between the world’s number one heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, and superstar Brett “The Grim” Rogers.