NEW YORK - In what is shaping up to be a star-studded affair, knockout artist Duane “Bang” Ludwig will attempt to rebound from his recent defeat when he squares off with fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, Tony “The Freak” Fryklund, during Strikeforce’s “Triple Threat” world championship mixed martial arts fight card that will be presented by BodogFIGHT at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California on Friday, December 8th.
The matchup, which will be contested at 170 pounds, marks a step up in weight for Ludwig, who has spent his seven-year professional career fighting in mixed martial arts’ 155 pound lightweight division as well as K-1’s 159 pound limit “Max,” or middleweight, class.
“I’ve always walked around at about 180 and making 155 has always been a really tough cut for me. I feel good now,” said the 28-year-old Ludwig regarding the transition. “I’m eating what I want and I’m lifting and stuff and doing calisthenics like cross-training, and I’m holding 185 solid. Sometimes, I go to bed at 190. It’s taken the stress off of me and put the fun back in fighting.”
Ludwig is looking to steer his career back on track after being choked into submission by rival star, Josh “The Punk” Thomson, on Friday, October 7th during Strikeforce’s first-ever fight card at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
On January 16th of this year, Ludwig broke the all-time record for the quickest stoppage in mixed martial arts history when he finished Canada’s Jonathan Goulet with a hard right hand at the 11 second mark of their meeting at UFC “Ultimate Fight Night 3” in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Four and a half years ago, Bang was taken under the wing of mixed martial arts legend, Bas Rutten, who observed the young fighter’s talent and fighting spirit during a grappling event in which Ludwig was competing. A year after the two bonded, Ludwig made his first big mark in mixed martial arts by knocking out former UFC 155 pound limit champion, Jens “Little Evil” Pulver.
The 35-year-old Fryklund is a former member of Team Miletich, the Pat Miletich-headed elite squad of fighters that includes reigning UFC kings, Matt Hughes and Tim Sylvia.
Tony Fryklund, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, Fryklund dove head-first into the world of mixed martial arts at UFC 14 on July 27, 1997. In his first effort during the single-elimination tournament format event, Fryklund came up big, choking out Donnie Chappell in a minute and a half. The following tournament round, Fryklund was dealt the same fate he had dished out one fight earlier when former 1992 Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist, Kevin Jackson, submitted him.
The loss to Jackson proved to be a valuable lesson, however, as Fryklund reeled off victories in his next seven starts, including a technical knockout over Rodrigo Ruas at UFC 37.5 on June 22, 2002.
Fryklund has been successful in three of his four 2006 appearances, stopping each of three consecutive opponents in a single round of action. His only loss of the year came at the hands of Brazil’s Anderson Silva, who has since been crowned UFC middleweight champion.
“I think he’s more of a stiff striker - not as fluid as I am. I should be able to catch him,” said Ludwig of his opponent. “On the ground, I don’t think he’s a super Jiu-Jitsu stud, so I should be ok there as well.”