Bailey Replaces Travers at March 26 'Challengers'

By Brian Knapp Feb 20, 2010
The once-beaten Shamar Bailey will replace an injured Bryan Travers in a catchweight bout with Justin Wilcox at Strikeforce “Challengers 7” on March 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The promotion announced the change on Friday.

Bailey made his promotional debut in November, when he outpointed “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 semi-finalist John Kolosci by unanimous decision at Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Rogers.” The 27-year old will carry a four-fight winning streak into his showdown with Wilcox.

“I think this is a fantastic matchup for me,” Bailey said in a release, “and I am excited about the opportunity to be able to showcase my skills. I am really looking forward to showing off more striking skills than I did in my last fight.”

Bailey, a successful amateur wrestler, was a national qualifier under 1972 Olympic gold medalist Ben Peterson at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis. Spawned by the same Integrated Fighting Academy as UFC veterans Chris Lytle and Jake O’Brien, Bailey still works full-time as a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Wilcox, meanwhile, has rattled off three consecutive victories since his submission defeat to Mitsuhiro Ishida in September 2008. He last appeared in December, when he earned a unanimous decision against Pride Fighting Championships veteran Daisuke Nakamura at Strikeforce “Evolution.”

“I have a lot of respect for Justin,” Bailey said. “I know he’s been winning, and I think we’re both well-rounded fighters with a lot to prove. But I believe that when you have two fighters of equal ability going at it, the bigger guy holds the edge, and he is a natural 155-pounder and I fight at 170.”
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