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Strikeforce books Caros Fodor vs Thomas Diagne for 'Challengers' on July 23 in Everett

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EVERETT, Wash. (July 14, 2010) -The students of two icons will collide when submission specialist and Matt Hume protégé Caros "The Future" Fodor (5-2) takes on Cung Le student Thomas Diagne (1-1) in a lightweight (155 pounds) contest on the STRIKEFORCE Challengers Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card at Comcast Arena at Everett, on SHOWTIME, on Friday, July 23.

The 26-year-old Fodor, an ambitious go-getter, fulfilled a lifelong dream by enlisting in the U.S. Army just six days after his high school graduation while he was still a minor at age 17, eventually making him the youngest Marine in his platoon. At the age of 12, the Shoreline, Wash. Native had joined an auxiliary military group to get a taste of what life like might be as a serviceman.

After invading Iraq and, later Kuwait in 2003 to support the U.S. war on terror, Fodor experienced a change of heart and eventually decided to re-focus his aggressive energy towards combat in the cage.

During a visit to AMC Kickboxing and Pankration in Kirkland, Wash., Fodor met former submission wrestling champion and MMA expert Hume as well as Hume's top coach, Trevor Jackson, an introduction that quickly inspired Fodor to commit his life to the sport.

One of four children adopted by a single mother, Fodor has persevered through a number of hardships during his life, including a hostile rivalry with adopted brother and, now, fellow professional fighter Ben Fodor.

It was their common bond in MMA that eventually helped Caros and Ben settle their differences. Suddenly, the two young men who had not been able to peacefully co-exist in a room together were supporting each other during their respective bouts.

Fodor is looking to return to the win column after suffering a second round defeat via submission (armbar) at the hands of Nate Hannah on Feb. 10, 2010. Prior to the loss, Fodor had been victorious in five consecutive fights, all in the first round by way of submission.

Diagne, a 26 year old native of Paris, France, is a longtime practitioner of San Shou, the Chinese form of kickboxing that embraces throwing techniques in addition to striking. Since 1996, the once obscure martial art has been brought to the forefront of the fight world by Le, its pioneer who amassed a perfect 16-0 career record in the sport before bringing his San Shou skills to the cage where he eventually was crowned STRIKEFORCE World Middleweight (185 pounds) Champion after defeating MMA legend Frank Shamrock at San Jose, Calif.'s HP Pavilion on March 29, 2008.

In 2008, Diagne parted ways with his homeland in order to train with Le at the superstar's Universal Strength Headquarters (USH) gym in Milpitas, Calif. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Diagne added Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training under Paul Schreiner to his game in order to prepare for a career in MMA.

A six-time San Shou titlist, the 6-foot-1 Diagne made history as well as his MMA debut on May 15, 2009 when he competed in the first STRIKEFORCE Challengers event in history, earning a unanimous decision over Kaleo Kwan at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.

Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event are on sale and can be purchased at the Comcast Arena box office (866-332-8499) as well as online at ComcastArenaEverett.com and STRIKEFORCE's official website (www.strikeforce.com).

In the main event, undefeated heavyweight prospect Shane Del Rosario (9-0) will attempt to extend his unblemished streak when he faces fellow heavy hitter Lolohea Mahe (4-1-1).

Unbeaten STRIKEFORCE Women's World Welterweight (135 pounds) Champion and former ballet dancer Sarah Kaufman (11-0) will put her perfect record as well as her crown on the line against international star Roxanne Modafferi (15-5).

In other featured action, Abongo Humphrey (7-1) will take on MMA bad boy Mike "Mak" Kyle (16-7-1) at light heavyweight (205 pounds).

Twenty-five year old Cory "The One" Devela (9-4) of Bonney Lake, Wash. will attempt to re-ignite his career in his first bout in 12 months when he faces hard-hitting Bobby Voelker (21-8) at welterweight (170 pounds).

The first STRIKEFORCE Challengers preliminary card bout will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the first main card bout will begin at 8 p.m.

The live SHOWTIME telecast will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

STRIKEFORCE Challengers, where tomorrow's champions are born, is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. The series is designed to provide today's top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.

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