Villasenor-Cyborg Booked for June 19 ShoMMA

By Brian Knapp May 5, 2009
Former EliteXC middleweight title challenger Joey Villasenor will meet Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos at ShoMMA "Strikeforce Challenger Series 2" on June 19 at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz made aware of the matchup on Tuesday.

Based out of Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M., Villasenor (26-6) has not competed in almost a year. A casualty of EliteXC’s demise, the 33-year-old last appeared at EliteXC “Primetime” in May 2008, when he stopped Phil Baroni on first-round strikes. It took Villasenor a mere 1:11 to put away the UFC veteran. He has rattled off three consecutive victories since his 2007 defeat to Murilo "Ninja" Rua and holds key wins against UFC veteran David Loiseau and Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago. Between Dec. 15, 2002 and April 11, 2006, Villasenor won 15 fights in a row.

Santos (16-12), who put down roots at the famed Chute Boxe Academy, has remained on the sidelines since he suffered a gruesome arm injury in a technical knockout loss to Siyar Bahadurzada at Sengoku “Fifth Battle” in September. The 31-year-old Brazilian has dropped three of his past four bouts but has tested himself against some of the sport’s elite fighters, including Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Gegard Mousasi and Melvin Manhoef.

The event will mark the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion's second appearance in the state of Washington. It follows the February 2008 card at the Tacoma Dome, which saw supersized South African Jan Nortje smash fellow K-1 veteran Bob Sapp in just 55 seconds.

The second edition of ShoMMA will also feature Washington natives Dennis Hallman and Cory Devela, as well as UFC veteran Jorge Gurgel against yet-to-be-named opponents. Afromowitz told that, despite reports of slated bouts pitting Gurgel against Conor Heun and Lyle Beerbohm against Duane Ludwig, only Gurgel has been officially confirmed for the card.

Jordan Breen and Loretta Hunt contributed to this report.
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