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.

PRESS RELEASE: Three more EXCITING FIGHTS added to STRIKEFORCE Challengers Texas

PRESS RELEASE: NEW YORK (Feb. 14, 2011)

THREE MORE EXCITING FIGHTS ROUND OUT
STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS EVENT
AT CEDAR PARK CENTER IN CEDAR PARK, TEXAS,
THIS FRIDAY, FEB. 18, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

Matchups Pit California Fighters Bryan Travers, Erik Apple, Tarzan Douglas,
Against Texas’ Carlo Prater, Ryan Larson, Nick Gonzalez, Respectively

NEW YORK (Feb. 14, 2011) – 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 ended 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 be opposed by Dennis Dombrow (2-0) at 145.

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, 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.

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!

Interview with Ryan Larson “…Fighting’s a crazy game”

I was fortunate to catch up with Ryan Larson (6-2) who has been getting ready @ Jacksons MMA in Albuquerque, NM to make his STRIKEFORCE Challengers Debut. I actually had to pull over to continue with this, so hang on, sit down and read on!!!

Erik Apple: left; Ryan Larson: right

sPidA: Ryan, how are you bro? Hope not to take too much of your time… I do appreciate this.

Ryan Larson: Not at all, I really do appreciate you interviewing me,thank you for that.

sPidA: Are you training at Rodrigo Pinheiro’s gym with Pete Spratt?

Ryan Larson: I live in San Aantonio and I train out of Pineiro’s Gym, just wanted to concentrate on nothing but MMA with no distractions. Just eat, sleep and train you know. So I’m in Jacksons Camp right now.

sPidA: Thats awesome, any names you can throw at us, maybe some of the guys you’ve been training with since you’ve been there?

Ryan Larson: Awe man, lets see, I was training with George St Pierre this moring but also Carlos Condit, Melvin Guillard, Diego Sanchez. Also Cowboy and Jon Jones who both fought at UFC 129 (they both won).

sPidA: Wow! Nice bro, I know they’re all in Jacksons Camp but didnt think people could actually get to train with all of them.

Ryan Larson: Me neither man, its been awesome having them all in the camp. There’s also some local guys that are just tough dudes. Everybody’s careful training hard but smart.

sPidA: Thats great man! So let me ask you, how did you go about getting on the card? Did they contact you or did they contact your manager?

Ryan Larson: Funny how it all came about but I was actually on my way home from training here at Jacksons Camp when I got to El Paso, I got a call from my old coach, Phil Cardella. He told me Strikeforce was looking for an opponent to fight Eric Apple at 170 and he had thrown my name in the box. Later the match maker calls me and its a go from there.

sPidA: Thats awesome that you have great guys looking out for you. Phil’s an awesome spokeperson and definetly represents his camp and Texas very well. Do you keep in touch with your past opponents, I mean is there a commoraridity after the fight?

Ryan Larson: Yea bro, I mean, we need to fight somebody and after my fights win/lose or draw I usually offer them a beer an sometimes even train with that person. I have tons of respect for all of my opponents.

sPidA: I’ve seen you fight twice and I’ve seen you use both your stand up an ground game. Would you say you have a preferance when you do battle?

Ryan Larson: You know, I have great wrestling and Jiu-jitsu but I’ve also had pro boxing experience. Been learning a lot the past few years with Aaron Rosa and Pete Spratt. Lately, my striking has gotten much better man. I usually have a strategy for every occasion but sometimes, like my last fight, I jumped into a guilitine late into the round and just went off my game plan. Wanted to keep the fight on my feet.

sPidA: You’ve done your time in the grappling circuits and in the cage fights here in Texas Promotions. Looking back would you have guessed this would be happening, getting to fight not only for STRIKEFORCE but also have you fight aired on live TV?

Ryan Larson: Man, I would have never guessed it would have happend this quickly. I mean, it’s what we all want but fighting’s a crazy game. With injuries and what not but I am blessed and I’m very pleased to be able to showcase my skills on STRIKEFORCE.

sPidA: So will you be there in Jacksons Camp till the day of your fight or are you planning on coming back to San Antonio?

Ryan Larson: Well, STRIKEFORCE is planning on bringing me out a day before the weigh ins so I”ll be here till then. Afer my fight I’ll be back in Texas for sure.

sPidA: That’s great man! We will be there with the rest of Texas supporting you and the other Texas guys. I do appreciate this bro. Any last words, people you’d like to thank to end this interview?

Ryan Larson: I’d like to thank all the people from San Antonio and Austin. Rodrigo’s gym, Phil Cardella and everybody that I have fought and trained with. My family who has been supportive of me though my ups and downs in my fight career, couldnt have kept doing this without my fiances and family. Also I would like to thank Unrival, they’ve been my sponsors from the beginning. Awesome people and also Ron Hernandez from King of Kombat who has always been good to me. And of course, you guys. It really means a lot to me!

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.”

LYLE BEERBOHM VS PAT HEALY IN STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS – CEDAR PARK, TEXAS

PRESS RELEASE: January 17, 2011 Cedar Park, Texas


LYLE BEERBOHM WILL FACE
PAT HEALY IN STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS
MAIN EVENT FRIDAY, FEB. 18, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®
AT CEDAR PARK CENTER IN CEDAR PARK, TEX.

The first non-televised, undercard fight will begin at 7:30 p.m. CT. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. .

Both Beerbohm and Healy are highly skilled 155-pounders who are trying to position themselves to contend for a possible shot at STRIKEFORCE World Champion Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez.

The experienced Healy has faced top quality opposition and is no stranger to a big fight. He showed his ability and tremendous determination in his last start, pushing former STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson to the limit before getting submitted (rear-naked choke) at 4:27 of the third and final scheduled round on June 26, 2010, on SHOWTIME.

All Beerbohm has done is win convincingly.

Beerbohm will be making his fourth start for STRIKEFORCE and his main event debut. This will be his initial appearance on SHOWTIME. In his last outing for STRIKEFORCE, Beerbohm won a split-decision over four-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro on May 15, 2010. It was only the second time one of Beerbohm’s fights went the distance.

A 5-foot-10, three-year pro, Beerbohm, who turns 32 on Feb. 5, has since fought twice, both in his home state of Washington. He is coming off a 2:48, first-round submission (guillotine choke) over Talon Hoffman on Dec. 4, 2010.

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 after being released.

Since entering MMA, Beerbohm has found a discipline and determination that was missing in his life. “If I didn’t go to prison, I probably would be dead today,” he said. “Because I wouldn’t get cleaned up. I wouldn’t go to rehab. I wouldn’t get off the drugs. I didn’t want to get off the drugs. (Finally) I traded one addiction for the other. I traded meth for MMA.”

A top wrestler in high school, Beerbohm is a brawler who can switch between southpaw and orthodox stances. He went 12-0 in the amateurs, in spite of the obstacles he had to overcome. Although the vast majority of his fights have ended early and he’s recorded more KO’s than submissions, he still considers himself a grappler.

Beerbohm, whose nickname is derived from the custom-made, multi-colored trunks sewn by his mother, owns wins over former world Muay Thai champion and STRIKEFORCE and UFC veteran Duane “Bang’’ Ludwig as well as UFC vet Rafaello Oliveira. Beerbohm submitted (bulldog choke) Ludwig in the first round of a non-televised fight at a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event on June 19, 2009.

“I want to fight the best, I want to fight for the STRIKEFORCE title,’’ said Beerbohm, the head of Washington’s Fancy Pants Fight Team. “All I can do is continue to work hard and beat who they put in front of me. This is going to be a very difficult fight for both of us, but I’m confident of winning and moving up the ranks.

“I am very anxious to fight on SHOWTIME and show the fans and STRIKEFORCE what I can do. My goal is to fight for the world title. I want to be the champ. I want a five-round fight. That would be something else.’’

A member of Team Quest, Healy has been an active MMA fighter for nearly a decade. He’s ousted big-name, quality opponents all over the world since turning pro in August 2001, including Paul “Semtex’’ Daley, Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy.

The accomplished veteran is 1-1 in STRIKEFORCE. Before the Thomson tussle, Healy scored an impressive unanimous decision over Bryan Travers (13-1 going in) during a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event on May 21, 2010. It was a rare points victory for the well-conditioned, durable wrestling specialist who has won more than half his fights via submission.

Healy has won three of his last four bouts, and six of eight. “I was disappointed I didn’t quite get it done the last time, but I appreciate getting another opportunity against an up-and-coming fighter,’’ Healy said. “This fight is obviously very important to me. I’ll enter the cage with a lot of confidence.’’

Healy got his start in MMA at the age of 15, shortly after he and a brother stood up to a neighborhood bully and Muay Thai practitioner. Following the altercation, Pat wanted to learn more about technical fighting and sought out MMA gyms for formal training.

To supplement his MMA training regimen, he wrestled in high school, gaining All State accolades and eventually went on to wrestle at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Following college, Pat knew that he had the potential to do something great and devoted himself fulltime to an MMA career.

Healy believes that cardio is his strength and that it allows him to pressure and break his opponents mentally.

PHOTO CREDIT: Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE