One of the hardest punchers in his weight class, the 5-foot-11 Lawler is a two-time 185-pound world champion who has earned 15 of his 18 career victories via knockout or TKO. Last Jan. 30, Lawler produced a dramatic, come-from-behind, first-round (3:33) knockout over highly regarded, fellow striking machine Melvin Manhoef at Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
After turning pro at age 19 in April 2001, Lawler, who was born in San Diego, Calif., relocated at an early age with his family to Bettendorf, Iowa. He fought for years out of the Miletich Fighting Systems headquarters in nearby Davenport and eventually relocated to Granite City, Ill. Hisbout with Aaron Riley on May 10, 2002, became the first MMA bout to air on network television (FOX Sports Network).
Lawler took on Scott “Hands Of Steel’’ Smith during the first-ever, live primetime network telecast of MMA on May 31, 2008, on The CBS Television Network. After the bout was ruled a no contest due to an accidental thumb to Smith’s eye, Lawler dominated Smith in their live CBS primetime-televised rematch on July 26, 2009, scoring an impressive second-round TKO.
The matchup between Walker and Carson was originally scheduled for Dec. 4, but was postponed after Walker sustained a cut above his eye during a training session.
Healthy, eager and ready to go, the 48-year-old Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time NFL Pro Bowl competitor, is undefeated at 1-0 in his latest athletic endeavor – MMA. A 1999 College Hall of Fame inductee who was also selected to Sports Illustrated’s NCAA All-Century Team that year, the 6-foot-1, 220 pound Walker of Atlanta already holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in the combat disciplines of Muay Thai and Kenpo.
On Jan. 30, Walker made an impressive professional MMA debut, scoring a third round TKO (punches) over 26-year-old Greg Nagy at Sunrise, Fla.’s BankAtlantic Center. Walker has been training in San Jose, Calif. with Team AKA, one of the most prominent MMA fight camps in the world that is also the home of formerworld champions Cung Le and Josh Thomson.
The 6-foot-2-inch Carson, a resident of Gardena, Calif., turned pro in September 1999 and won his initial four starts through June 2001. He is a WEC veteran who scored a first-round submission victory over Bryson Haubrick at the inaugural WEC event on June 30, 2001.
After being sidelined with a back injury and due to several scheduled fights falling out, Carson, a former longtime training partner of MMA legend Chuck Liddell, was finally able to fill his desire to get back in the cage last June 12 in Los Angeles. A member of Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, he got knocked out in the first round by undefeated Lorenz Martin (3-0 going in, 5-0 now).
The 29-year-old, 6-foot-4 Gracie, the winner of the coveted ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, holds a second degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr. He made history by submitting all eight of his opponents during the tournament, a feat that had never previously been achieved.
Not surprisingly, Gracie’s highly advanced submission skills have been his key to success in all three of his MMA starts. Last May 15, he made his STRIKEFORCE debut, submitting former UFC Heavyweight Champion and former NCAA National Wresting Champion Kevin “The Monster” Randleman with a rear naked choke in the second round (4:10) at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
A native of Brazil, Gracie resides in West London, England, where he owns and operates The Roger Gracie Academy.
One of the most feared and dangerous fighters in the light heavyweight division, Prangley has proven he is capable of defeating anyone on any given night. Since his pro debut in January 2001, the 6-foot Prangley has fought some of the world’s toughest opponents, including former STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight Champion “Babalu” Sobral, Jorge Santiago (his last loss) and. Prangley’s most significant victory may have come against Sonnen.
Prangley has competed in five STRIKEFORCE events, including Four Men Enter, One Man Survives, the first sanctioned MMA tournament in the state of California on November 16, 2007. During the second STRIKEFORCE event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2008, Prangley was victorious over Anthony “A Train” Ruiz by way of unanimous decision.
After winning a national wrestling championship in his native South Africa, Prangley left his homeland for The United States in search of the highest caliber wrestling training, and later established himself as a force in the sport of MMA. He is a member of Team AKA in San Jose.