After months of deliberations and a mounting grudge sparked by repeated taunts from both competitors, one of the most anticipated mixed martial arts fights of all time will finally come to fruition when former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock collides with fellow knockout artist and consummate showman Phil Baroni as Strikeforce returns to HP Pavilion on June 22.
Tickets for one of the most anticipated fights of the year go on sale Saturday, April 21 at 10 a.m. and are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers located in Wherehouse Music stores, Tower Records, Ritmo Latino and select Rite Aid stores throughout the Bay Area, online at ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone at (408) 998-TIXS, (415) 421-TIXS, or (510) 625-TIXS. All Sharks season ticket holders will have a chance to purchase tickets ahead of time. The presale e-mail will be sent out Friday, April 13. Presale then begins Saturday, April 14 at 10 a.m and ends Friday, April 20 at 11:59 p.m. The password to purchase these tickets is POWER.
Arguably the most physically gifted individual to ever step in the cage, the 34-year-old Shamrock, also a former Pride Fighting Championship superstar and King Of Pancrase, has been dubbed by the fight press as the “closest thing mixed martial has to Muhammad Ali” for his combination of versatile skills and quick-witted mind games that he has so often used to gain a sharp advantage over his opposition.
During his illustrious career, Shamrock has taken out the likes of UFC poster boy Tito Ortiz as well as mixed martial arts legend Bas Rutten. His 16-second submission of former Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Kevin Jackson on Dec. 21, 1997 set a new UFC record for stoppage of a fight.
Last March 10, Shamrock ended a near three-year hiatus from action and rekindled the sport’s oldest family rivalry when he faced longtime nemesis, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Cesar Gracie, in the main event of the historic, first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California that took place at the HP Pavilion. Before a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265, Shamrock decimated Gracie, sending him to the canvas with a hard right hand that set up a 21-second technical knockout.
With his brilliant punching power and dynamic energy that triggers his edgy persona, the 29-year-old Baroni has carved out his own, unique place in mixed martial arts history and poses an imminent threat to Shamrock’s legacy.
In 2001, Baroni, a native of Long Island, exploded onto the UFC scene and one year later, established himself as a credible star by pummeling former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne, only 18 seconds into their matchup.
Of late, Baroni has been making noise overseas with Japan’s Pride Fighting Championship. In a two-month span last year, he stopped ring savvy veteran Ikuhisa Minowa and scored a devastating knockout of Yuki Kondo.
During Pride’s first-ever fight card in The United States last Oct. 21, Baroni thrilled a packed house at Las Vegas’ Thomas and Mack Center as well as a pay-per-view audience when he forced famed Japanese boxer Yosuke Nishijima into submission with a kimura hold.
Ironically, Baroni recently joined the world-class fight team at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), the former home of Shamrock. The alliance has thickened the bad blood between the two fighters.
The Strikeforce mixed martial arts fight card is being produced by Strikeforce and Elite XC.