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Strikeforce Event to Showcase American Kickboxing Academy

| May 14, 2012 | 3:59 pm | Reply

All eyes in the MMA community will be on Strikeforce this Saturday night as they crown their Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion, when Daniel Cormier squares off with Josh Barnett.  What people will be seeing in three of the four main card bouts, are American Kickboxing Academy fighters trying to win a Grand Prix, a Lightweight Championship and a Number One contender-ship.  It’s a big night in the south bay. 

Daniel Cormier has gone from an elite level amateur wrestler to a complete Mixed Martial Artist.  The transition wasn’t quick and it certainly couldn’t have been easy.  He spent many hours in the American Kickboxing Academy gym putting sweat equity into a career that would pay dividends and now stands at the edge of stardom, one win away from becoming the winner of a tournament that featured names like, Fedor, Werdum, Barnett, Overeem, among others.

When the brackets came out, Daniel was nowhere to be found, but when Alistair Overeem had issues with Strikeforce and left, Daniel was put in his spot, meaning he’d have to face Antonio Silva in the Semifinals.   He put the K in AKA to work when he knocked out Silva in the first round of their fight, sending Daniel into the finals where he’ll meet Josh Barnett in the finale in San Jose, where AKA is located.

Another AKA fighter with a huge opportunity Saturday night is former Strikeforce Lightweight champion, Josh “The Punk” Thomson, who will meet Gilbert Melendez, in their rubber match for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship.  Josh defeated Gilbert back in 2008, and then Gilbert bested Thomson in 2009.  Since that time, Josh has had a string of injuries that have kept the third fight from happening.  Josh has defeated some top level talent in the past two years to earn a title shot, and conventional wisdom would lead you to believe he’s in over his head Saturday night.  While Thomson has struggled with injuries, Gilbert has arguably become the best Lightweight on planet earth.  However, this is like Duke and North Carolina in basketball or USC/Notre Dame in football.  Throw out the records and the odds, because it could go either way.

Since losing to Melendez, Josh Thomson has competed three times under the Strikeforce banner, defeating Pat Healy, JZ Cavalcante and KJ Noons to set up this fight.  In that same time, Melendez has defeated Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Jorge Masvidal to keep his championship belt.  If Melendez defeats Thomson here, he’ll likely get the bump up to the UFC.  For Thomson, a victory would mean the world; he’d be back on top in Strikeforce, back on the UFC radar and in line for some BIG fights.

Mike “Mac” Kyle made the drop to Light Heavyweight and since doing so, has been a force to reckon with in Strikeforce.  Kyle is 5-0 at Light Heavyweight and he’ll be facing former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion, Rafael Cavalcante Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd.  Kyle has had some injury issues, twice pulling out of fights against Gegard Mousasi with injuries.  Kyle has very heavy hands and his work at American Kickboxing Academy has made him a definite force at 205.  He will be looking to keep the fight standing against the submission specialist Cavalcante on Saturday, and if he can, it could result in a highlight reel knockout for Kyle.

With the recent split of Josh Koscheck from AKA, and his quotes after his split, AKA has been in the news lately.   Saturday night they can pronounce their continued dominance in a big, big way.  They can leave Strikeforce Saturday night with a Grand Prix Champion, the Lightweight Champion, and the Light Heavyweight number one contender all under one roof.

There are a lot of teams out there that would die to be in that position.

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Category: Events, Featured, Fighter Profile, MMA, Strikeforce

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