PAT “BAM BAM’’ HEALY DEALS LYLE “FANCY PANTS’’ BEERBOHM HIS FIRST LOSS IN STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS

PRESS RELEASE: CEDAR PARK, Texas (Feb. 19, 2011)

Friday, Feb. 18, Live on SHOWTIME® From Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, Texas,
Catch Replay on Tuesday, Feb. 22, on SHO EXTREME at 10 p.m. ET/PT

RYAN COUTURE IMPROVES TO 2-0; PRATER,
LARSON, TARZAN ALSO TRIUMPHANT

CEDAR PARK, Texas (Feb. 19, 2011) – In a hotly contested fight, Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy of Portland, Ore., registered a razor-thin, unanimous three-round decision over previously unbeaten Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm of Spokane, Wash., in the main event Friday on STRIKEFORCE Challengers at Cedar Park Center live on SHOWTIME®.

Photos: Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE

In other results on the televised portion of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event presented by Rockstar Energy Drink: Carlo “Neo’’ Prater (26-10-1), of Houston, Texas, submitted Bryan Travers (14-3), of San Jose, Calif., with an anaconda choke at 38 seconds in the first round in a catchweight bout at 160 pounds, unbeaten lightweight Ryan Couture (2-0), of Las Vegas, the son of MMA legend Randy Couture, submitted (rear-naked choke) Houston’s Lee Higgins (2-1) at 4:41 in the third round; local favorite Ryan Larson (6-2), of Albuquerque, N.M., submitted (triangle choke) Erik Apple (10-3), of Orange County, Calif., at 3:14 of the second round in a welterweight (170 pounds) skirmish and David “Tarzan’’ Douglas (7-2) of Antioch, Calif., submitted (rear-naked choke) Austin fan favorite Nick “The Ghost’’ Gonzalez (16-9, 1 NC) at 1:05 in the first round.

The victorious Healy (25-18) won by the scores of 29-28 on the three judges’ scorecards while Beerbohm dropped to 15-1.

“He talked a lot of trash, but if he wants a rematch, I’ll give him one anytime,’’ said Healy, who pushed former STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson to the brink before losing his last start on June 26, 2010, on SHOWTIME.

“Beerbohm fought a good fight but I think I outworked and outhustled him. I’d like to fight the winner of the March 5 fight between Billy Evangelista and Jorge Masvidal.’’

A member of Team Quest, Healy has won four of his last five fights and seven of nine. In a 10-year career, he’s defeated several big-name, quality opponents including Paul “Semtex’’ Daley, Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy.

Beerbohm, who not only suffered his first pro defeat but first ever in Mixed Martial Arts – he was 8-0 as an amateur — felt he’d done enough to get his hand raised.

“I definitely thought I won,’’ he said. “I thought going into the third we’d each won a round, but I definitely thought I won that last round. I took the fight to him from the start. But that’s what happens when you let it go to the hands of the judges.’’

The quick victory ended a two-fight losing streak for Prater, who’d also dropped four out of five. He used his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to take down Travers, and moments later it was over.

“My record shows I’m not a perfect fighter, but when you’re down you get up,’’ Prater said. “This was a good win, I’ll get better off this fight, but I’ll be right back in the gym soon.’’

Travers had won seven of eight going in. A six-fight winning streak was snapped when he lost a decision to Healy on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on May 21, 2010, in Portland, Ore., on SHOWTIME.

Couture, who turned pro for STRIKEFORCE on Aug. 13, 2010, is one of the most promising prospects in MMA, but he had to work to get the victory against a game Higgins.

“It felt good to be in there,’’ Couture said, “but the guy was tough as nails. I’m real glad I was able to get him there at the end. For the most part I was happy with my standup and getting almost 15 minutes in there was good.’’

In a battle of wrestlers, the well-conditioned Larson controlled the action from the outset against Apple, who was competing for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009.

“I think the key was to come out fast and dictate the pace,’’ said Larson, a member of Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin. “It’s like a dream come true to fight for STRIKEFORCE and to win in my hometown.’’

Tarzan, a member of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, dominated en route to winning his seventh fight inside the distance. The Ghostbuster, Douglas was the aggressor from the outset. He dropped Gonzalez with an overhand right followed by a left hook at about the 0:35 mark. He continued the punishment until the referee stopped matters.

“I wanted to show my Jiu-Jitsu skills,’’ said Douglas after outclassing the more experienced, local fan favorite. “Everyone says they never see my Jiu-Jitsu so I wanted to showcase them to the crowd. I do what they tell me. I’ll fight anybody. I feel most comfortable at 155 pounds. When I’m healthy, no one can beat me.’’

In Friday’s non-televised bouts, Aaron Lan Franco (2-0), of Austin, TKO 1 (punches, 4:22) over Thomas Diagne (1-3), of San Jose, at 155 pounds and in an all-Austin affair, Drew Pendleton (3-0) submitted (guillotine choke) Dennis Dombrow (2-1) at 2:38 of the second round at 145 pounds.

Friday’s event will re-air as follows:

DAY CHANNEL
Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME

The telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Monday, Feb. 21, and running through March 6.

Mauro Ranallo called the action on SHOWTIME with The Fight Professor, Stephen Quadros, and MMA legend Pat Miletich serving as expert analysts.

Upcoming STRIKEFORCE Event on SHOWTIME: Saturday, March 5, World Championship Doubleheader – Dan Henderson (26-8) challenges defending champion Rafael “Feijao’’ Cavalcante (10-2) for the STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Championship at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In a second world title fight, Marloes “Rumina’’ Coenen (18-4) risks her STRIKEFORCE lightweight title for a first time against No. 1-ranked 135-pound contender, Miesha “Takedown’’ Tate (11-2), of Tacoma, Wash. Also, American military hero Tim Kennedy (12-3) vs. Melvin “No Mercy’’ Manhoef (24-8-1), middleweights; and undefeated Billy Evangelista (11-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (20-6), lightweights. The event, STRIKEFORCE’s first in the state of Ohio, will take place in conjunction with The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest health and fitness exposition founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and STRIKEFORCE mixed martial arts telecasts, along with access to the SHOWTIME Sports Facebook® and Twitter® pages, please go to Sports.Sho.com.

Pre Strikeforce Challengers interview with Lee Higgins. “…the impossible is possible.”

Got in a few words with Lee Higgins who, with a 2-0 Pro Record, is definetly getting what most dream of, an opportunity to showcase his skills to the World watching Strikeforce Challengers Feb 18th on Showtime. On with the show!!

sPidA: Lee, thanks for making time for me brother! I’ll make this as quick as possible and let you get back to doing your thing. You have a Pro Record of 2-0 and already have a dream fight in the spotlight. You feeling any pressure bro?

Lee Higgins: Well, when I first heard about the fight I was feeling a bit of pressure but now I’m just training for the fight. I mean Randy Couture is Ryans dad and he’s a big name but I’m not fighting Randy, I’m fighting Ryan and we both are going in with something to prove. I’m 2-0 and coming out of this 3-0!

sPidA: I hear that bro, awesome answer! What’s your strategy going into this fight? Your last 2 fights you have won via submission, have you been working anything more than the other?

Lee Higgins: We’ve seen a lot of videos of him and have a pretty decent game plan going into this. The game plan is just that, to go in there and win the fight.

sPidA: What gym are you fighting out of and who’s your coach?

Lee Higgins: Its Urban Jungle and were out of Houston, TX man. Tony Torres Aponte is the owner and head coach there. Its an awesome gym and we have a lot of people that make it great!

sPidA: You guys have some great fighters in that gym. Like Marc Ramirez who will be fighting later this month for the IXFA and you guys had Stephanie Alba making her ammy debut last month as well. Hows the relationship with the people in the gym?

Lee Higgins: Its awesome man. Tony is a great Coach and tells us what we need to go into the fights. He does a great job of breaking everything down for us. I’ll be honest and say I lost my first 3 fights as an ammy but we worked it out and I’ve had 4 straight wins since then. Whether I’m fighting, Marc fighting or Stephanie, the gym really supports us and that’s an awesome feeling.

sPidA: Your last fight you actually fought a friend of mine Gilbert Jimenez, he came in with a win streak and tons of experience. Getting that win, did it help boost your confidence as a fighter?

Lee Higgins: Awe man, he took that fight on a weeks notice. I have a lot of respect for the guy for stepping in like that. My opponent pulled out of the fight and Gilbert stepped in.Tough guy for sure and a win over him was great!

sPidA: Great brother so how’s the support outsie the gym? Is your girlfriend one of your strongest suporters?

Lee Higgins: For sure man. She’s awesome and really helps me out a lot. Just from her helping me and putting up with me being a jerk. I know I’m a jerk and this coming week is going to be terrible (laughs). She’s part of the team and she’s a trooper man.

spidA: You have a daughter, how would you feel if years later she wants to get into the fight game?

Lee Higgins: Awe man, she’s a beautiful girl and yea, if she were to grow up and want to get into the game, I would definitely support her. She’ll be able to do whatever she wants. I would just make sure she had the right direction you know

sPidA: After your fight, are you looking to maybe show some hospitality and hang out with Ryan and Randy Couture?

Lee Higgins: Awe yea man, I’m hoping to meet his father after the fight, if he’ll let me (laughs). I mean, everybody loves his dad. He’s done a lot for the sport so yea, I’m hoping to meet him afterwards and possibly have him sign something for me. (laughs)

sPidA: After the fight, you will literally have the TV world watching. Have you given much thought as to what to say? It’s not like everyday you get an opportunity like this?

Lee Higgins: Man, everybody’s got a story and I just want to let people know that I didn’t have it easy. An opportunity like this like you said doesn’t come around often so my words to the world will be “the impossible is possible.” If you have a dream, it’s there, you just have to go and get it make it happen!

sPidA: Man, that just gave me goosebumps. Great words, just want to say thank you bro for giving me these few minutes. At Texas Fighting we’re fan based. Myself and Chris Lopez Jr will be there covering the event and we’ll be supporting our Texas locals as well as you. Any last words man?

Lee Higgins: Absolutely, I just want to thank Tony and Michelle from Urban Jungle. They’ve helped me with my fighting as well as just being there for me to talk. Everybody at the gym, great teammates. There really good people man .I also want to thank my girlfriend Cori. I really appreciate her being there. My boy Phillip and you guys for giving me the opportunity to talk to you and helping me get my name out here. Thank you!

RYAN COUTURE ADDED TO STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS

PRESS RELEASE: NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2011)

RYAN COUTURE ADDED TO STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS EVENT AT CEDAR PARK CENTER IN CEDAR PARK, TEXAS, ON FRIDAY, FEB. 18, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

courtesy of Las Vegas Sun

Son of Legendary MMA Superstar, Randy Couture, To Face Fellow Undefeated Lightweight Lee Higgins

One of the most promising prospects in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Ryan Couture, will seek his second consecutive victory when he faces fellow unbeaten Lee Higgins (2-0) of Houston in a featured lightweight (155 pounds) bout of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers fight card presented by Rockstar Energy Drink at Cedar Park Center in the Austin, Texas. suburb of Cedar Park on 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. The winner in the lightweight scrap remains in contention for a possible shot at the STRIKEFORCE title.

Tickets for STRIKEFORCE’s third fight card in 21 days and second in the Lone Star State go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT tomorrow/Friday, Jan. 21, and will be available at the 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 7:30 p.m. CT. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

Ryan, the son of MMA legend, Randy Couture, will be making his second pro start and second for STRIKEFORCE on SHOWTIME. He won his debut last Aug. 13 with a slick, 75-second, first-round submission (triangle choke) over Lucas Stark on STRIKEFORCE Challengers.

The 5-foot-10, 28-year-old Couture was scheduled to fight last Nov. 19 but withdrew due to a staph infection.

“I was down for a few weeks but now I’m ready to fight and looking forward to fighting in Texas on Feb. 18,” said Couture, a member of Las Vegas, Nev.- based Xtreme Couture. “I’m excited and working hard. I expect a tough fight.”

Ryan, who was born in Seattle, wrestled in junior high and high school before taking up Jiu-Jitsu. He graduated in 2004 with a mathematics degree from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., and worked at a local bank before deciding to go into MMA. He began serious training in MMA in 2008.

“I became a fan when my dad began competing but didn’t get involved as a competitor until years later,” said Ryan, who went 5-1 in the amateurs. “I still have a ton to learn and there’ll always be pressure because I’m a ‘Couture,” but I’m pretty used to that now.”’

Higgins, who fights out of Houston and is a product of Tony Aponte’s “Urban Jungle,” won both his fights by rear-naked choke in the first round within a three-week span late last year.

The 5-foot-11, 30-year-old submitted Gilbert Jimenez at 2:36 in his most recent outing on Dec. 4. He forced Kenny Burke to tap at 1:25 the previous Nov. 12. Both fights were in Houston.

“This is a great opportunity and an honor for me to fight the son of a legend,” Higgins said. “I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the fight. To get a chance to show my skills and make a name for myself on television is very exciting and absolutely a huge deal.”

A blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu, Higgins grew up in Massachusetts but has been training in Houston the past two years.

“Lee’s biggest strength is his Jiu-Jitsu but he is also emotionally very strong and works extremely hard,” Aponte said. “He’ll be ready for Feb. 18.”