Shinya Aoki-Lyle Beerbohm Fight Added

To Strikeforce World Championship Doubleheader

At Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, Calif.,

Saturday, April 9, Live On Showtime®

 

Nick Diaz Defends Welterweight Title Against Paul “Semtex’’ Daley,

Gilbert Melendez Risks Lightweight Belt Versus Tatsuya Kawajiri;

Former World Light Heavy Champ Gegard Mousasi Returns Against Mike Kyle

 

Tickets Go On Sale This Saturday, March 12,

 Pre-Sale Tomorrow/Thursday, March 10, via “STRIKEFORCE Insider”

 

April 9, 2011

Valley View Casino Center

San Diego, California

 

 

NEW YORK (March 9, 2010) – If Lyle “Fancy Pants’’ Beerbohm (15-1) was looking to rebound quickly

after suffering the only loss of his career on Feb. 18, he will get the opportunity in a major way when he

faces DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki  (26-5) on Saturday, April 9, in a featured fight live on

SHOWTIME®  (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Valley View Casino Center in San

Diego, Calif.

 

The non-title lightweight bout between Beerbohm, of Spokane, and Aoki, of Tokyo, rounds out a telecast

highlighted by a STRIKEFORCE World Championship Doubleheader.

 

In a potential candidate for Fight of the Year in the main event, sizzling STRIKEFORCE Welterweight (170

pounds) World Champion Nick Diaz (24-7, 1 NC), of Stockton, Calif., will seek his 10th consecutive victory

when he defends against the hard-hitting, notorious British striker, Paul “Semtex” Daley (26-9-2), of

Nottingham, England.

 

Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez (18-2), of San Francisco, by way of Santa Ana, Calif., will make the second

defense of his STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight (155-pounds) Title against top-ranked Japanese superstar

Tatsuya “Crusher’’ Kawajiri (27-6-2), who unanimously outpointed former STRIKEFORCE lightweight

belt-holder Josh Thomson in his last start on Dec. 31, 2010.

 

A fourth fight on SHOWTIME will feature the return of former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight titlist Gegard

“The Dreamcatcher’’ Mousasi (30-3-1) of Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Mousasi will be opposed by

powerhouse Mike “Mak’’ Kyle’’ (18-8-1), of San Jose, Calif.

 

An exclusive, special two-day pre-sale ticket purchase opportunity for STRIKEFORCE: Diaz vs. Daley will

take place for “STRIKEFORCE Insider” e-newsletter subscribers (www.strikeforce.com/signup.asp)

beginning at 10 a:m. PT tomorrow/Thursday, March 10, and ending at 10 p.m. PT on Friday, March 11. 

STRIKEFORCE Insiders will receive a special e-newsletter Wednesday night with the pre-sale code. 

 

Tickets, starting at $25, go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. PT this Saturday, March 12, at Valley

View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena), 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 starts at 4:30 p.m. PT.

 

Aoki, a winner of three straight fights and six of seven, is a flamboyant submission artist who’ll be making

his first start in America since dropping a decision to Melendez on April 17, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn., on

SHOWTIME.

 

A perennial top-10 contender at 155 pounds, the 5-foot-11, 27-year-old registered a 1:00, first-round

submission (keylock) over Yokthai Sithoar in his last outing on Oct. 24, 2010  Aoki, nicknamed “Tobikan

Judan,’’ has not lost an MMA bout since retaining his DREAM strap with an impressive first-round

submission over Kawajiri on July 7, 2019.

 

Aoki, who holds a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo, has forced opponents to tap out in 16 of his

25 wins.

 

Beerbohm suffered his first MMA defeat – amateur or pro – on a close, unanimous decision (29-28 three

times) to veteran Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy in the main event of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event on

SHOWTIME at Cedar Park, Texas. on Feb. 18.

 

This will be the fifth start for STRIKEFORCE for the 5-foot-10, 32-year-old Beerbohm, who has won 13 of his

fights by stoppage, and his first on a televised Saturday card.

 

“Losing that last fight was disappointing, but this is a golden opportunity for me to get right back in the thick

of things,’’ said Beerbohm, who holds notable triumphs over four-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion

Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro, Duane “Bang’’ Ludwig and Rafaello Oliveira.

 

Beerbohm literally began his pro career after serving 366 days at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla

Walla as a result of felony convictions, all related to a crystal meth addiction. The day he was freed from

prison, he visited a Jiu-Jitsu gym. He had his first amateur fight eight days later. “I traded one addiction for

the other,’’ he says. “I traded meth for MMA.”

 

The championship fight between the no-nonsense, brutally honest, outspoken Diaz, whose proclivity for

engaging has made him more popular and appreciated than ever, and the brazen, fast-talking, heavy-handed

Daley will be a non-stop action slugfest.

 

It will be the third title defense for Diaz, a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt who was superlative en route to

turning back a determined bid by challenger Evangelista Cyborg and scoring an impressive second-round

submission (armbar) in his last outing on Jan. 29 in San Jose, Calif., on SHOWTIME.

 

“Daley has great stand-up but he likes to talk a lot of (expletive) and I’m not really impressed with him as a

mixed martial artist,” said Diaz, a 6-foot-1, 27-year-old southpaw. “We’ll see how it goes and see how he

does on April 9. Let’s see if he can walk the walk. I seriously doubt it.”

 

One of the most recognizable, intriguing and skilled personalities in MMA, the superbly conditioned Diaz is

14-1 with 1 NC dating to May 2006 and hasn’t lost in more than three years.

 

Daley’s style is a mix of striking, striking and more striking. He’s won four consecutive fights and eight of

nine. In a spectacular STRIKEFORCE debut, the 5-foot-9, 27-year-old demolished Scott “Hands Of Steel’’

Smith, knocking him out with a single, perfectly placed, ferocious counter  left hook at 2:09 of the opening

round on Dec. 4, 2010, in St. Louis, on SHOWTIME.

 

The brash Brit toyed with and outclassed Yuya Shirai en route to a 1:46, first-round knockout (punches) this

past Feb. 26 in Japan to secure the title shot.

 

“I am a striker – there is no secret about that,’’ Daley said. “I like to knock people out quickly and

aggressively. No one in MMA hits like me. I’m faster and more explosive than Diaz. Diaz doesn’t have good

wrestling. There is no way he’Il stand with me. I’ll smash him within three rounds. I will knock him out.’’

 

The confrontation between Melendez, a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist who re-upped with

STRIKEFORCE in February, and Kawajiri, a former Shooto welterweight champion, will be a rematch of a

fight that Melendez won on a close, unanimous decision on Dec. 31, 2006.

 

The 5-foot-9 Melendez will be making his first start since scoring a lopsided five-round decision over Aoki on

April 17, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn., on SHOWTIME. Melendez has been triumphant in his last four starts,

including a unanimous decision over Thomson in a rematch to regain the title on Dec. 19, 2009.

 

“My hand is healed and I’m 100 percent ready,’’ said Melendez, a highly decorated wrestler and Pride

Bushido star who turns 29 on April 12. “I want to prove I’m the No. 1 fighter at 155 in the world. Kawajiri is

one of the best anywhere. This is going to be a hard, excellent fight and I am looking forward to it. I don’t

want to leave any doubt this time around. I’m ready to rip.’’

 

Kawajiri is 8-2 since the controversial defeat to Melendez. Nicknamed "Crusher" for his devastating power

and ground and pound fighting style, the Japanese destroyer holds notable wins over Thomson,  Yves

Edwards, Luiz Azeredo, Gesias “JZ’’ Cavalcante and Ribeiro from whom he captured the Shooto belt.

 

The 5-foot-7, 32-year-old Kawajiri’s Bushido Tournament match with Takanori Gomi was voted PRIDE

Fighting Championship's Fight of the Year in 2005. Kawajiri’s only losses came against superstar Eddie

Alvarez and Aoki.

 

A winner of his last two fights (both by first-round submission) and 17 of his last 18, Mousasi will be making

his first appearance for STRIKEFORCE since getting dethroned by “King Mo’’ Lawal on a five-round

decision on April 17, 2010, in Nashville on SHOWTIME.

 

Still one of the most talented fighters in the 205-pound weight class, the 6-foot-1, 26-year-old Iranian-born

Armenian had won 15 in a row dating to August 2006 before losing to King Mo. Mousasi captured the

STRIKEFORCE belt with an impressive 3:43, first-round TKO (punches) over Renato “Babalu’’ Sobral on

Aug. 15, 2009.

 

Kyle’s last effort ended in a better than looked, confidence-building second-round TKO loss on Dec. 4, 2010,

to Antonio “Big Foot’’ Silva, who went on to defeat Fedor Emelianenko two months later. Despite

taking the fight on short notice, the 6-foot-3, 31-year-old Kyle was competitive throughout and scored a

knockdown in the first.

 

Overall, the well-rounded Kyle has gone 5-1 with one No Contest since losing to Fabricio Werdum on Aug.

15, 2009. Since April 2008, Kyle is 8-2 with one NC.

 

About  STRIKEFORCE

STRIKEFORCE (www.STRIKEFORCE.com) 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, sanctioned by ISKA, 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 (MMA)

series with "Shamrock vs. Gracie."  In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of

STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000

to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.  In March

2009, STRIKEFORCE signed a multi-year agreement with SHOWTIME® to stage live events on the

premium cable television network.  The promotion has since also produced two live, primetime events on

the CBS Television Network.

 

Contact:

- Strikeforce

  Mike Afromowitz: mafromowitz@strikeforce.com

 

- Brener Zwikel & Associates, Inc.

  John Beyrooty: Johnnybey@aol.com

  Steve Pratt: Stevep@bzapr.com

 

 

- Press Release from Strikeforce

 

 

 

Subject to change

 

 

 

 

(3/9/11)