Evangelista-Terry among additions to card at HP Pavilion
Strikeforce is filling up the card for its return to its old home base.
The promotion recently added three fights to its May 19 card at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced the fights through his Twitter account. Billy Evangelista will meet James Terry in a lightweight bout; Gian Villante vs. Derrick Mehmen in a light heavyweight fight; and Virgil Zwicker vs. Guto Inocente, also at light heavyweight.
The May 19 card will serve as the promotion's heavyweight grand prix finals with Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier fighting in the main event more than eight months after their semifinal victories in September. In the co-main event, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will defend his title against Josh Thomson in the rubber match of their trilogy.
Evangelista (11-2, 1 NC, 7-2, 1 NC Strikeforce) returns looking to snap a two-fight losing skid. After starting his career 11-0 (with one no contest), Evangelista lost for the first time last March with a unanimous decision setback against Jorge Masvidal. He returned in December, but was outpointed by KJ Noons. The show in San Jose will be a home bout for Evangelista, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy. And he'll have to do it against another San Jose-based fighter in Terry, who trains with Cung Le. Terry (11-4, 6-3 Strikeforce) also will be looking for a return to the win column after a January split decision loss to Nah-Shon Burrell in a welterweight fight. That bout was Terry's fifth for the promotion in less than a year's time.
Villante (9-3, 2-2 Strikeforce) will try to build on his current two-fight winning streak after losing the first two fights of his Strikeforce career. In January, he notched a first-round quick TKO stoppage against Trevor Smith. Last August, Villante outpointed Keith Berry on a Strikeforce Challengers card. He got his start with the promotion in a heavyweight tournament reserve bout, which he lost against Chad Griggs in February 2011 in New Jersey, not far from his New York home. Mehmen (12-4, 1-0 Strikef0rce) won his Strikeforce debut on a Challengers show last year with a unanimous decision victory over Roy Jones. But just last week, he lost a unanimous decision to ex-UFC fighter Rodney Wallace for the upstart WMMA promotion.
Zwicker (10-2, 1-1 Strikeforce) picked up his first Strikeforce win just about a year ago with a first-round TKO of Brett Albee in front of his home fans in San Diego. That took a little of the sting out of his promotional debut, a knockout loss to Lavar Johnson in October 2010. Before Ovince St. Preux lost to Gegard Mousasi in December, Zwicker was the last man to beat OSP, back in September 2009 – his biggest win to date. Inocente (5-0) – Carlos Augusto Inocente Filho – will make his Strikeforce debut. The unbeaten Brazilian will have gone 19 months without a fight, though he has been training with the "Blackzilians" squad at Imperial Athletics in South Florida. His pro debut was a win over current UFC fighter Diego Nunes.