Texas-California Matchups Highlight Friday’s STRIKEFORCE Event On SHOWTIME

Texas-California Matchups Highlight Friday’s STRIKEFORCE Event On SHOWTIME

Matchups Pit California Fighters Bryan Travers, Erik Apple, Tarzan Douglas,

Against Texas’ Carlo Prater, Ryan Larson, Nick Gonzalez, Respectively

NEW YORK  – Bryan Travers (14-2), of Bakersfield, Calif., takes on Carlo “Neo’’ Prater (25-10-1), of Bryan, Texas, at a catch weight of 160 pounds, Erik “Bad’’ Apple (10-2), of Laguna Niguel, Calif., will be opposed by local favorite Ryan Larson (5-2), of Austin, Texas, in a welterweight (170 pounds) skirmish and David “Tarzan’’ Douglas (5-2) of Antioch, Calif., takes on Austin fan favorite Nick “The Ghost’’ Gonzalez (16-8, 1 NC) at 150 pounds in featured bouts of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers fight card presented by Rockstar Energy Drink at Cedar Park Center in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, Texas, this Friday, Feb. 18, live on SHOWTIME® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

In the main event, unbeaten rising star Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (15-0) of Spokane, Wash., takes on dangerous veteran Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy (25-17) of St. Louis. Unbeaten lightweights Ryan Couture (1-0), of Las Vegas, the son of MMA legend Randy Couture, and Houston’s Lee Higgins (2-0) will clash in another televised fight.

Tickets for STRIKEFORCE’s third event in 21 days and second in the Lone Star State are on sale at Cedar Park Center ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).

The first non-televised, undercard fight will begin at 8 p.m. CT. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m.

The Californians, Travers, Apple and Douglas will be making their second starts on a STRIKEFORCE Challengers card while the Texans, Prater and Larson will be making their debuts for the San Jose, Calif.-based MMA promotion. Gonzalez will be fighting for STRIKEFORCE for a second time.

A winner in seven of his last eight, the 5-foot-10, 27-year-old Travers is a terrific wrestler who unanimously outpointed Rocky Johnson on Aug. 27, 2010. Travers’ six-fight winning streak was snapped in his outing before last by “Bam Bam’’ Healy, who won a decision during a Challengers event May 21, 2010, in Portland, Ore., on SHOWTIME. Travers’ most noteworthy triumph was a unanimous decision over former UFC and IFL vet John Gunderson in May ‘09.

Prater is an eight-year pro and former WEC title challenger. The 6-foot, 29-year-old, who’ll be looking to regain his winning ways in this one, was victorious in his initial 10 starts after turning pro in November ‘02. Last Sept. 10, Prater fought three times during a single-night tournament.

Apple is a skilled wrestler who is gigantic for the division. This will be the 6-footer’s first assignment since a second-round TKO loss (punches) to Bobby Voelker on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on Nov. 20, 2009, on SHOWTIME. In his outing before last, Apple submitted then-highly touted Matt Makowski on Sept. 26, 2008.

Larson, a product of Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin, has won by first-round submission in all but one of his victories. A pro since Feb. 10, 2006, he split his two outings in 2010, winning by first-round submission (rear-naked choke) over Anthony Macias on Feb. 27, and losing by an identical result to Derrick Hantz in his last fight on Aug. 20.

Douglas, a member of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, is a 5-foot-11 non-stop action fighter who has won five out of six, including a second-round TKO (punches) over Dominic Clark in a non-televised match on a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event last Oct. 22 in Fresno, Calif.

Douglas’ most memorable win came against Mongkhon Wiwasuk, aka Malaipet, a Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai champ in Thailand and an extremely dangerous striker, on Sept. 26, 2008, at Santa Ynez, Calif. He rallied to triumph by third-round TKO (punches) in a brawl that featured numerous changes in momentum, exceeded all expectations and, for sheer excitement, was as good as it gets.

Gonzalez is vastly more experienced than Douglas and has fought, among others, former STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson (June 26, 2007, on the undercard of Shamrock-Baroni in San Jose) and Yves Edwards on July 26, 2008.

A winner by unanimous decision over Tim Snyder in his last start on Aug. 20, 2010, the 5-foot-6 Gonzalez is 2-0 with one No-Contest dating to August 2009.

The non-televised bouts will feature three promising fighters from Austin: Aaron Lan Franco

(1-0), of Austin, meets Thomas Diagne (1-2), of San Jose, at 155 pounds and in an all-Austin affair of unbeatens, Drew Pendleton (2-0) will go up against Dennis Dombrow (2-0) at 145.

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