AN JOSE, Calif. — Kim Couture, wife of mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Randy “The Natural” Couture, will make her Strikeforce MMA cage fighting debut against Lina Kvokov in a 130 lb. limit contest at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 21st.
The 32-year-old Couture recently reaffirmed her commitment to becoming a pioneer of women’s MMA competition by adding none other than K-1 superstar and three-time world kickboxing champion, Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo, to her stable of elite trainers.
According to Couture, the experience with Sefo, a veteran of 74 professional fights and a winner over several other all-time K-1 greats during his stellar 13-year professional fighting career, has, thus far, opened her eyes to a new world that embodies technical excellence while fighting aggressively on foot.
“I like his style,” said Couture, a martial artist of five years. “He’s very explosive and aggressive. He doesn’t wait around and look for openings. He creates them.”
Her upcoming appearance, the second MMA start of her career, will provide Couture with an opportunity to change the opinions of critics who watched her endure a beating at the hands of Kim Rose at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Thomas and Mack Center on June 20, 2008.
“Losing that fight was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Couture who, despite sustaining considerable punishment, went the three round distance with Rose before losing a unanimous judges’ decision. “It’s completely changed me as a fighter. I’ve started doing things a lot different. It made me realize that I have to be the aggressor or I’m going to get hurt.”
As Vice President of Xtreme Couture, her husband’s Las Vegas-based fight facility, Couture maintains a hectic work schedule that includes managing several of the camp’s fight team members. However, she is also religious about training twice daily. Randy serves as her wrestling coach while Gil Martinez provides her with boxing instruction and Robert Drysdale oversees her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
“I plan to show how well-rounded I am in this fight,” said Couture. “I’m going to be more aggressive and more explosive. There’s not anywhere the fight can go that I won’t be prepared because I feel like I’ve got the toughest camp and the best coaches.”
While she may make an effort to be the aggressor in the fight, fans can expect Couture’s opponent to utilize a similar strategy.
“I’m an A-type personality so of course I’m aggressive,” said Kvokov, a 33-year-old native of Portland, Oregon, whose meeting with Couture will also be her second professional start and an opportunity to even her record to 1-1 after being submitted with an arm bar by Tamara Parks in the opening round of their matchup on April 3, 2008.
“I don’t know Kim Couture, but I’ve heard a lot of great things and have a lot of respect for her so I’m really looking forward to going in there and banging it out with her.”
Kvokov’s history confirms that she has a strong competitive nature as well as a high tolerance for risk. After all, it was only 10 months ago that she initially engaged in formal martial arts training, something that she was introduced to by Strikeforce veteran, Matt Horwich.
Shortly after becoming a student, prize fighting seemed like a natural fit, according to Kvokov, a mother of four children. To accommodate the deep commitment that MMA fight training requires of its competitors, she proceeded to make drastic sacrifices, which included dropping out of law school in her second year of studies.
“I just think that it’s such a great thing, being able to beat someone up and get paid for it,” chuckled Kvokov. “I can’t think of a better way to earn a living.”
Tickets for Strikeforce “Destruction,” priced from $30, are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com ), and on Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com ).
In the main event, Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion and San Jose resident, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2), will put his title on the line for the first time and, at the same time, look to even an old score against the only man on the planet who has stopped him in the heat of battle - Yves Edwards (34-14-1). The 32-year-old Edwards, who scored an unforgettable, first round knockout on Thomson with a head kick at UFC 49 on August 21, 2004, remains one of only two competitors who have defeated Thomson.
Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Champion, Bobby Southworth (9-5), will make a highly anticipated title defense against top-ranked superstar, Renato “Babalu” Sobral (30-7).
Joe “Diesel” Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight (170 lb. limit) division in a featured contest with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Luke Stewart (6-1).
HP Pavilion doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for Strikeforce “Destruction” and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. The main card will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The live HDNet telecast of Strikeforce “Destruction” will begin at 10 p.m. EST (7 p.m. PST).
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007. On April 12th of this year, Strikeforce launched the first-ever 52 week MMA series on one of the four major television networks in The U.S. – NBC.