Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Joe Riggs Pulled from Strikeforce/EliteXC card due to back injury

By Dann Stupp originally posted on mmajunkie on Mar 04, 2008 at 3:52 pm in

- News -

Veteran fighter Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos (15-11), who takes on Makoto Takimoto (4-3) at Wednesday's World Victory Road debut show, will then return to the U.S. for a March 29 Strikeforce/EliteXC fight with Joey Villasenor (24-6).

Strikeforce Vice President Mike Afromowitz today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Santos will fill in for Joe Riggs (27-10), who was scratched from the event due to an injury suffered in last month's Strikeforce show.

"Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Cung Le" takes place March 29 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Strikeforce world middleweight champ Frank Shamrock (23-8-1) meets undefeated Cung Le (5-0) in the night's main event.

Riggs had to pull out of the bout with Villasenor due to a back injury. In a Feb. 23 "Strikeforce at the Dome" fight with Cory Devela, Riggs was thrown to the mat and forced to tap out instantly from the pain. He's since had two procedures to relieve pressure on his sciatic nerve.

"He is really, really disappointed," said Ken Pavia, the fighter's agent. "Joe really wanted this fight with Joey Villasenor, but he'll be back and ready to fight in April... He starts training again next week."

So long as Santos doesn't suffer significant damage in tomorrow's fight, the 30-year-old PRIDE and Cage Rage vet will make his Strikeforce debut against Villasenor, a Team Jackson fighter.

After suffering a second-round TKO to Murilo "Ninja" Rua in a June fight for the EliteXC middleweight title, Villasenor earned a split-decision victory over Riki Fukuda in September. He had been scheduled for a King of the Cage fight but pulled out of the bout when he was offered a slot on the Strikeforce/EliteXC card.

In addition to Shamrock vs. Le, Jake Shields meets former UFC fighter Drew Fickett on the night's main card.



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