SHOWTIME Sports announced its new mixed martial arts series, MORNING KOMBAT STRIKEFORCE CLASSICS, which features hosts Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell reliving some of the most memorable STRIKEFORCE on SHOWTIME fights, along with all-new interviews and analysis from legendary combat sports analyst Mauro Ranallo and Bellator MMA President and STRIKEFORCE founder Scott Coker.
The new series will premiere on SHOWTIME EXTREME Thursday, May 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will also be available via the SHOWTIME streaming service and SHOWTIME ANYTIME.
The MORNING KOMBAT STRIKEFORCE CLASSICS series will feature some of MMA’s biggest names over the coming months, including all-time greats Frank Shamrock, Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier.
Fighting fans are excited to see these names back at the octagon. Though the results of these fights are known, some of the series participants still haven’t ended their careers. Every following result would be hard to predict, so both bettors and spectators appreciate the tips from professionals at bookmaker ratings.
“I am extremely proud of what we accomplished with STRIKEFORCE and our partners at SHOWTIME,” Coker said. “We helped build some of the sport’s biggest stars and promoted some of the most incredible events that mixed martial arts had ever seen. The fact that these moments are still being discussed to this day shows what type of impact STRIKEFORCE had on the industry. I am excited that SHOWTIME is providing fans the opportunity to relive these classic matchups that helped make the organization what it was.”
This Thursday’s MORNING KOMBAT STRIKEFORCE CLASSICS episode will feature Frank “The Legend” Shamrock and the three final fights of his legendary career. In 2007, Shamrock won the first STRIKEFORCE Middleweight world title belt against Phil Baroni in the first STRIKEFORCE co-produced mixed martial arts event on SHOWTIME PPV.
In 2008, he suffered a loss to Cung Le in which Le broke Shamrock’s arm. Also in the spotlight will be Shamrock’s final career fight against Nick Diaz in 2009, which kicked off a run of nine STRIKEFORCE events on SHOWTIME that year.
The Melendez-Josh Thomson trilogy will be featured on Thursday, May 21, and three of Daniel Cormier’s STRIKEFORCE HEAVYWEIGHT GRAND PRIX wins will air on Thursday, May 28.
Founded in 2006 by Coker, STRIKEFORCE MMA traces its roots back to 1985 starting as a regional kickboxing promotion. STRIKEFORCE was a launchpad for future champions such as Cormier, Robbie Lawler, Gina Carano, Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Luke Rockhold and Tyron Woodley.
The MORNING KOMBAT STRIKEFORCE CLASSICS on SHOWTIME EXTREME schedule for the month of May is below with more episodes to follow in June:
Thursday, May 14, 10 p.m. ET/PT
* Shamrock vs. Baroni (June 22, 2007) – Baroni wastes little time from the start but is eventually worn down by a relentless Shamrock ground attack. The finish comes by way of technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:00 of round two, crowning Shamrock the inaugural STRIKEFORCE Middleweight Champion.
* Shamrock vs. Cung Le – (March 29, 2008) – In the 2008 “Fight of the Year,” Le controls the fight early with Shamrock making a commendable run late in the third round. A brutal kick from Le’s left leg breaks Shamrock’s arm, ending the bout after three five-minute championship rounds and earning Le the STRIKEFORCE Middleweight World Title.
* Shamrock vs. Diaz – (April 11, 2009) – Diaz dominates the veteran Shamrock, earning a TKO (punches) at 3:57 of the second round. The victory is one of 11 that Diaz earned over the course of a four-year undefeated stint in which he would later secure and defend the STRIKEFORCE Welterweight World Title.
Thursday, May 21, 10 p.m. ET/PT
* Melendez vs. Thomson I – (June 27, 2008) – After claiming the STRIKEFORCE Lightweight Championship nearly two years earlier, Melendez is dethroned for the first time in his young career. Thomson is able to keep Melendez guessing all night, using tactical jabs and an elite ground game to control the former 155-pound world titleholder.
* Melendez vs. Thomson II – (December 19, 2009) – Melendez avenges his first loss to Thomson with a unanimous decision victory. He dominates all five rounds using a combination of his elite ground game and knockout power to win and unify the STRIKEFORCE Lightweight World Title. Earning the 2009 Sports Illustrated “Round of the Year,” the fifth and final round of the contest will forever be remembered as one of the all-time greatest slugfests in MMA history.
* Melendez vs. Thomson III – (May 19, 2012) – Melendez survives a flurry of punches and a late takedown by Thomson at the end of the fourth, sending the rubber match to a decisive final round. In the end, it is Melendez who defends his crown, as he holds off Thomson via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47), ending the epic trilogy with 25 minutes of war.
Thursday, May 28, 10 p.m. ET/PT
* Cormier vs. Jeff Monson (June 18, 2011) – In a STRIKEFORCE Heavyweight Grand Prix reserve bout, the eventual tournament champion and MMA newcomer Cormier captures a unanimous decision (30-27) against the former world champion wrestler Monson.
* Cormier vs. Antonio Silva (September 10, 2011) – The undefeated Cormier gives up over 10 inches in reach, seven inches in height, and about 40 pounds in weight to Brazilian heavyweight “Bigfoot” Silva, but that doesn’t stop him from dropping the larger man to the canvas just 45 seconds into the fight with an overhand right. A few minutes later, Cormier delivers a massive right uppercut, knocking Silva out at 3:56 into the opening round and advancing to the final of the STRIKEFORCE Heavyweight Grand Prix.
* Cormier vs. Josh Barnett (May 19, 2012) – Cormier emerges the STRIKEFORCE Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament victorious with his 10th consecutive professional victory. A jaw-dropping slam takedown by Cormier sets the stage for his early dominance. In the end, Barnett lasts all five championship rounds only to witness Cormier celebrate his new 265-pound world title.
For a limited time, new customers who sign up on SHOWTIME.com and the SHOWTIME app can take advantage of a 30-day free trial for the SHOWTIME streaming service, available on SHOWTIME.com and the SHOWTIME app on all supported devices.